Team USA’s Amanda and Sabrina Sobhy–who upset U.S. teammate and world No. 10 Olivia Fiechter–are through to the 2022 PSA World Championships round of sixteen following the first two rounds of play, May 13-16, in Cairo, Egypt.
Nine Americans entered the 2022 World Championships–the culminating event of the 2021-2022 PSA season–with five recording first round wins and the Sobhy sisters advancing as far as the third round.
The biggest result for Team USA was one between two teammates in the second, Sabrina Sobhy and Fiechter. Fiechter, the world No. 10 and ten seed, won a difficult opening match against Hong Kong’s Lee Ka Yi, while Sobhy, world No. 23, advanced to the second round with a decisive three-game win over Egypt’s Jana Shiha. Following a day’s rest, the teammates faced off Monday on the side courts and it was Sobhy who emerged victorious 12-10, 11-5, 11-9 after thirty-five minutes.
“I’m still processing a bit!” Sobhy said afterwards. “I’m very pleased with how I played and stuck to my game plan the entire match, it was very close and tight. I’ve grown up playing her and I know how dangerous she can be and she has that admirable grit where she never gives up. I knew that if I eased up at all it could change in a second. I was pleased to stay strong that entire time. We’ve played each other since we were 13 years old a million times, we know each other’s game. It’s a win-win for both people because you can both have those advantages going into a match. It’s an equal playing field.”
Familiar opponents on both the junior and college circuits, Sobhy now extends her unbeaten record on the PSA tour over Fiechter to 5-0. Sobhy will aim for her first career upset over England’s world No. 6 Sarah-Jane Perry on the glass court Wednesday, May 18, at 8:15pm local time, 2:15pm ET.
“SJ is an unbelievable squash player,” Sobhy added. “We’ve played each other a lot amount of times since I’ve been a pro and she’s someone that can make me feel kind of clueless out there. She’s the higher seed, so I’m just pleased to have made it through to the third round.”
The elder Sobhy sister, Amanda, has been on cruise control through the first two rounds. The world No. 4 and four seed defeated U.S. teammate Haley Mendez in seventeen minutes in the first round, and South Africa’s Alexandra Fuller in a twenty-two minute second round. The twenty-eight-year-old’s first major challenge will be in the form of Belgium’s eleven seed Nele Gilis
“Me and Nele are best friends, we haven’t played each other in a while, I know it’s going to be a fair battle,” Sobhy said. “I think we’re both excited to be at the museum. It’s going to feel like a totally different tournament which is kind of nice to break things up. I know she’s going to come out firing, we know each other’s game pretty well. It’s going to be whoever adapts to the conditions the best. I’m excited!”
Elsewhere in the women’s draw, Olivia Blatchford Clyne fended off England’s world No. 31 Julianne Courtice in the first round. Clyne’s tournament ended in unfortunate fashion as she was forced to retire in her second round match due to a minor injury.
In the men’s draw, Todd Harrity was the only American to progress past the first round with a three-game win over Specter Center training partner Alan Clyne, before falling against the formidable world no. 17 Saurav Ghosal in the second round 11-8, 11-8, 11-7. World No. 30 Shahjahan Khan was forced to retire in his first round match due to minor injury, and Chris Gordon exited in three games against Columbia graduate Ramit Tandon.