Amanda Sobhy (USA) 3-1 Nour El Tayeb (EGY) 11-7, 12-14, 11-9, 11-6 (56m)
Hollie Naughton (CAN) 3-2 Melissa Alves (FRA) 11-7, 7-11, 2-11, 11-9, 11-5 (54m)
Tesni Evans (WAL) 3-1 Rachel Arnold (MAS) 8-11, 11-5, 11-8, 11-4 (41m)
Amanda and Nour redefined the meaning of INTENSITY. Jzzzzz, both those girls just played a semi in Houston, won by Nour 11/6 in the 5th. And as Nour just got her 5WR ranking on Monday, I guess she wanted to prove to herself that she was able to go higher and confirm her victory against the QuickestShooterOfTheWest.
But today, I felt that the key was Amanda simple but so effective game plan: forcing Nour on the left side of the court, hoping for a few not perfect width crosscourt, opening the court for lethal volleying to the front.
And it really, really worked. I never felt at any time in the match that Nour was leading the proceedings. Amanda was in charge, and Nour was always on the backfoot, having to push physically so hard to stay in the rallies.
The turning of the match for me is the second game, when Nour is up 10/6 game ball, but will need 7 games balls to clinch that game and level, 14/12 in 19m. The mental and physical energy the Egyptian used at that point cost her dearly, in particular next game, at 9/9, she just couldn’t push as much as she wanted, and it’s two simple but brilliant winners for Amanda, 11/9 in the third.
The fourth, Nour is broken inside. Not sure many people saw it but the rallies were getting shorter, and her dives – numerous – were getting more and more frequent, sign that she was running out of solutions.
At 6/3, a little relaxation from Amanda, that’s two errors that could have gotten Nour back in the game, but despite two dives in two points, we are 9/5 for the American, and 11/6 on her first attempt. 10m last game. As an extremely disappointed/frustrated Nour, in three strokes on her right leg, broke her racquet.
So I can play my best squash, at noon, on a normal court. Who knew.
Oh man. I had a simple game plan that was working but you have to do it multiple times to win a point.
I think it helped that she just won in Houston, she just beat me narrowly in 5, so the pressure was on her. In Houston, I made some bad errors at crucial times, I was just excited today, who doesn’t love world number 4 against world number 5 at noon on a traditional court in the round of 16?? No pressure on me today.
Because the pressure was more on her, I could go out there and play freely. I took note of what happened in Houston, and then I wanted to apply it and go out there and enjoy it.
We are feisty competitors, but I think we bring out the BEST out of each other, in terms of competitiveness, fair play, good squash. So it was enjoyable, it sucks that somebody had to lose. But I love playing her, and I think she loves/hates playing me. She broke a certain number of racquets against me now over the years.
I’ve said it before, and I’m going to say it again, NOBODY BEATS TWO SOBHIES IN A ROW! NOBODY. I don’t care how good you are. So that fuelled me and I hope we’ll never have to play in the last 16 ever again.
Tomorrow? I have no idea. I looked at this and that’s it, we get through this and reassess…
Tesni Evans battled back to book her maiden quarter-final appearance in the CIB Egyptian Open after overcoming Rachel Arnold. The World No.18 found herself 1-0 down after Arnold, who claimed the scalp of No.7 seed Rowan Elaraby yesterday, won the first game 11-8.
But Evans, who’s in her first quarter-final at a Platinum event since 2019, stormed back to take control – and took the remaining three games 11-5, 11-8 and 11-4 in a commanding performance from the Welshwoman.
“After the first game I played really well I think. I found my targets really well, stayed calm and made it tough for her to hit winners off so I’m really pleased with that.
“She started really well and was firing it in and I was thinking ‘oh not again!’ so I really had to tighten up a lot, hit straight lines and make it hard to win rallies. I’m really happy I managed to turn it around after the first game.
“I never normally do that well here! It’s my first quarter-final in the Egyptian Open, and it’s my first quarter-final (at a Platinum event) for a very long time it feels like. I’m super proud of myself for sticking at it in some hard times and hopefully I’m starting to play some good squash.”
Canada’s Hollie Naughton continued her strong run at the CIB Egyptian Open as she came from behind to beat France’s Melissa Alves to earn a first ever Platinum-level quarter-final at one of the game’s most iconic locations.
World No.20 Naughton looked strong in the first game, finding her rhythm and accuracy quickly as she took the lead with an 11-7 win.
World No.29 Alves, who came from behind to upset No.8 seed Georgina Kennedy yesterday, then surged back in game two, drawing level with an 11-7 win of her own before blowing Naughton away 11-2 in a six-minute third game.
Alves continued to impress in the fourth game, with her combination of power and accuracy causing Naughton numerous problems, leading midgame, before the Canadian battled back to force a fifth with an 11-9 victory.
Naughton was able to carry this momentum into the fifth game, which she won convincingly 11-5 to set up a quarter-final against either World No.1 Nouran Gohar or World No.13 Tinne Gilis.
“It was a hard-fought match. I feel like I started off quite strong, sticking to what I wanted to do, but then started missing my targets and leaving her too many opportunities to put it in short and she’s so deadly when you give her those opportunities. She’s very explosive and counter-attacked so well in the second and third games.
“The fourth was neck and neck and I tried just to make it long. I could hear her breathing a bit heavily, whether that was just her breathing or not, it gave me a little boost to make it tougher and bring the physicality, which I sometimes don’t do so well. I’m fit and usually the mind has a different plan and doesn’t let my physicality come into it. I’m really happy to be into my first quarter-finals.
“I’ve played at the Pyramids once against [Nour] El Sherbini and it was such an unreal experience. That was quite a few years ago and I’m really excited to get out onto that court and hopefully keep playing well and enjoy the moment.”