Amanda Sobhy and Olivia Blatchford Clyne made Team USA squash history Saturday, February 29, by becoming the first two Americans to reach the quarterfinals of the same PSA Platinum event together at the Windy City Open presented by the Walter Family at the University Club of Chicago.
Both players pulled out their third round wins in five games against top twenty opponents. Blatchford Clyne, the fifteen seed, became the tournament’s first quarterfinalist after a difficult encounter against Egypt’s world No. 20 Nadine Shahin. The world No. 16 from Connecticut dispatched Shabin 8-11, 11-6, 11-3, 9-11, 11-9 after forty-nine minutes.
The result marks Blatchford Clyne’s first career quarterfinal appearance in a PSA Platinum event. World No. 1 Raneem El Welily awaits Blatchford Clyne in the quarterfinals Monday, March 2, at 12pm noon local time, 1pm ET.
“I just told myself to fight for every point, to hustle, hustle, hustle and fortunately I did that and came out a winner,” Blatchford Clyne said. “It’s such a pleasure to be a part of this new group of U.S. women. I’m really privileged that I get to train with Natalie Grainger who did so much for US squash when she came and played for us. I definitely see that it’s blossoming and I think our biggest goal has to be encouraging girls to come and playing professional squash rather than playing recreational squash after college.”
Sobhy, world No. 8, followed on in the next women’s match against Hong Kong’s world No. 11 Annie Au. Au earned a 2-1 lead, but Sobhy came back to win 7-11, 11-9, 5-11, 11-5, 11-7 after fifty-one minutes. Sobhy now faces Egypt’s world No. 3 Nouran Gohar Monday at 1:45pm local time, 12:45pm ET.
“That was definitely tough, Annie came out firing and I think the ball in the first three games kind of suited her because it was a bit dead and she loves a good lob, drop” Sobhy said. “I think she is possibly the best in the game at the lob, drop game, so I was getting killed a little bit. Thankfully I asked to change the ball, so that helped. Instead of trying to hit the ball hard I had to use the height a bit, so it was almost like I got sucked into playing Annie’s game.”
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For tickets and more tournament coverage visit windycityopen.com.