R3 : Women’s New Giza Matches

Salma Hany is the first winner of the day, despatching Jana Shiha in straight games, Amanda Sobhy comes through an all-American thriller against Olivia Clyne …

[7] Salma Hany (Egy) 3-0 Jana Shiha (Egy)    11-5, 11-5, 11-5 (23m)

[4] Amanda Sobhy (Usa) 3-2 [9/16] Olivia Clyne (Usa)    9-11, 18-20, 11-2, 11-2, 11-8 (57m)

BREAKING ! Amanda Sobhy finally breaks the Curse of the Pyramids, gets her Mummy bandages off, to walk finally toward the Giza GlassCourt.

But OH MY GOD what a match, what a battle, and I seriously feel for Olivia, as the last call – stroke for Amanda – could have/should have been a let…. Funnily enough, that’s the way her last match ended against French Melissa, 12/10 in the 5th on a stroke that looked like a let!!

I never ever saw Olivia play that well. Ever. Ever ever. She was on fire, she was clever, she was building the rallies beautifully, and ending them with exquisite winners, long drop shots or volley dropshots, both being so gutsy and accurate.

Amanda looked a bit Mummy-like, a bit overwhelmed by the avalanche of crispy winners coming from her compatriot racquet. She fought hard though, down 10/7 in the first, the Mummy only lost 11/9 in 10m, but wait for the second!

Liv was on fire, absolutely killing it and Amanda was “KO debout” “dead woman walking”, 6/1, 8/2. Suddenly, there was some life in the mummified body, who clawed in two hands to 10/9 game ball!

But Liv who went a bit passive, stopping doing what got her there in the first place, started attacking again. And despite have 6 game balls, Amanda just couldn’t close it, while it took ‘only’ 4 game balls for the contender to lead 2/0 up, 18m second game.

The next two, all about Amanda, 5m 11/2 twice.

Back to the 5th Olivia was fully back on, and nail tooth clawing her way back into the momentum. 3/3, 4/4, 5/5, 6/6, 7/7, 8/8. Liv, running on fumes was leaving everything she had, trying to get that “hard-ass Bitch” as she calls it back on court. And boy she gave it all. But pressure from Amanda, 2 tins, match ball, 10/8, and then THAT call.

Incredible match. When I see that intensity, I’m thinking that Ong Beng Hee – who just landed the National Coach job in Philly new Squash Center – is going to have a ball training the incredible Gladiators in his American Team… Beware Egypt, the Americans are coming….

Amanda :  There was a point in the match where I was thinking maybe this year is not my year! There’s going to be 6 years, and no Pyramids

But then I was like no, no, if you’ve got to go home, just, one at a time, like, 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, with 2/0 up, she’s going to have that feeling, oh my god, I’m close, I can do it, I can beat her, and she’s going to start forcing. So I was “hang in there, point by point”

Thankfully, the 3rd and 4th were easy so I could catch my breath a little bit. But then the 5th was neck and neck. I got a bit lucky on that last call, that was one of those where you just don’t look anywhere and you are like Oooooh, I’m going to take it, sorry…

So she played so well, such a good match and end the match like that just sucks… so 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!!!

Talking about the arrival of Beng Hee in Philly, we’ve been waiting for him for a year, we can’t wait to start working with him. What is really great is that Olivia C, Olivia F, my sister and I, we are really good friends. On court, we are competitive, but there is no animosity, at all, and off the court, we truly get on very well. We just push each other all the time to the next level. So happy to have Beng Hee based with us, it’s such a great environment, we are so excited…

Salma : Obviously, Jana was a great junior player, one of the best we had in Egypt. She had such a great run in the tournament, beating Nadine in her previous match, such a good win for her. I knew I had to be on my top game today, I focused from the point go cause I know what she is capable of, I didn’t want her to get into the game.

I just focused on my plan, on my game, not to lose my focus, and I wanted to get off court as quickly as possible to be fresh for my quarters on the glass. As I told you the other day, I need to earn one more day here to go to the Pyramids, so I’m very proud of myself and looking forward to my quarter final.