Team USA’s Amanda Sobhy will compete on one of the sport’s most iconic stages next to the Pyramids of Giza for the first time in five years after defeating U.S. teammate Olivia Blatchford Clyne in a close CIB Egyptian Open third round match Monday in Cairo.
Sobhy, world No 6 and the tournament’s four seed, pulled off a dramatic comeback against Blatchford Clyne after narrowly losing the first two games 11-9, 20-18.
“There was a point in the match where I was thinking maybe this year is not my year! That it would be six years and no Pyramids,” Sobhy said. “She played so well, it’s the best I’ve seen her play against me. And you could tell she was so up for it. She took our match from the British, and build on that, and she was tactically brilliant. And I was a bit flat, so she fully took advantage of it. I really wanted that second game, that second game was like a whole match for me. I just told myself, point by point, you know she is going to give you errors. I could tell, because she never beat me before, so mentally, when 2-0 up, she’s going to have that feeling of ‘oh my god, I’m close, I can do it, I can beat her,’ and she’s going to start forcing. So I [had to] hang in there, point by point.”
Sobhy recovered quickly taking the third and fourth games 11-2 to set up a decisive fifth game. A closer fifth saw Sobhy clinch the match 11-8 after fifty-seven minutes on a stroke call.
“Thankfully, the third and fourth were easy so I could catch my breath a little bit. But then the fifth was neck and neck,” Sobhy said. I got a bit lucky on that last call [a controversial stroke decision], that was one of those where you just don’t look anywhere and you are like ‘Oooooh, I’m going to take it, sorry.’ She played so well, it was such a good match and to end the match like that just sucks. I feel for her and I’m sure we are going to play again, hopefully not too soon as we play so much in Philly! I’m happy I got through, it wasn’t my finest performance, but I’m just glad I just pushed and now I get to go to the Pyramids!”
Sobhy now advances to the quarterfinals where she will face world No. 9 Salma Hany Wednesday, who dispatched Amanda’s sister, Sabrina, in the second round. Watch the match live on SquashTV at 6:15pm local time, 12:15pm EST Wednesday, September 15.
In the men’s draw, world No. 45 Shahjahan Khan celebrated his first career Platinum third round appearance. After going 2-0 down against world No. 7 Fares Dessouky, Khan started a comeback in the third and fourth games. In the fourth, Dessouky was forced to retire due to injury and concede the match. Khan’s run came to an end on Monday with a three-game loss against world No. 15 Zahed Salem.
For more tournament coverage visit www.cibegyptiansquashopen.net.