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Sobhy Sinks Low

Amanda Sobhy defeated world no. 7 Low Wee Wern of Malaysia in five games to earn a berth in the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions quarterfinals.

“I knew that I had to be mentally prepared to get everything back,” said the 21-year-old Harvard University senior,” because Wee Wern is a great mover and super consistent.” Sobhy started strong, winning the first game, 11-7, but dropped the next two by the identical score, 5-11, 5-11.

Down 4-7 in the fourth, the Long Island native was undaunted, reeling off seven straight points to win the game 11-8.  “I have been working on my fitness, and I got a second wind,” Sobhy remarked,” and I usually play better when I am behind.” That come-from- behind courage was called upon in the fifth game as Low led took a 7-5 lead, but Sobhy once again hunkered down and ran off six straight points to earn a return trip to the iconic ToC glass court. “I am so happy to have won in front of the home crowd cheering me on,” said the US no. 1, grinning broadly, who played her match in front of a capacity crowd. .

Sobhy’s quarterfinal opponent will be world no. two Raneem El Welily who eliminated her countrywoman Omneya Abdel Kawy in four games.

There will be at least one Egyptian player reaching the semifinals as two countrywomen – Nour El Tayeb and Nour El Sherbini – face each other in the quarterfinals. Both are university students as well as top 10 squash players. El Tayeb, who at age 21 is one of the three most senior Egyptian women on the WSA tour, was the veteran in her match against Englishwoman Victoria Lust. Moving well and moving the ball well, El Tayeb controlled the contest from start to finish. “Last year I couldn’t even get into the qualifying draw and now I am in the quarterfinals,” she said after the match. ” During the past year, I have been working on my movement, position to the ball and fitness. The biggest difference is that a year ago I could beat a top 10 player but then lose to a much lower ranked player in the next match. Now I am more consistent.”

El Tayeb will need that consistency against Nour El Sherbini, who last year rocketed from no. 27 to no. 4 in the rankings. The 18-year-old, who is juggling her first year of college studies with playing professional squash, had to take her exams a week early to be able to play in the ToC.  The academic course load does not seem to have affected El Sherbini’s game; she dismissed Hong Kong’s Annie Au in just 21 minutes. “The start of the match was very good for me, and gave me confidence” said Sherbini, ‘and that was really important.”

Camille Serme had her hands full with 20-year-old Kanzy El Defrawy, the acrobatic Egyptian who gives the term playing with abandon new meaning. Fearlessly diving to the floor to return her opponent’s shots, the Trinity junior delighted the crowd with here energetic, never-say-die play. Although DeFrawy took the first game, 11-9, Serme was unflappable, and snagged the next two games in commanding style, Down 2-7 in the fourth, the 25-year-old Frenchwoman .remained calm, patiently chipping away until she won the game 12-10. “Glad, happy and relieved,” was how the world no. 6 described her feelings after the match. “I was a little surprised at how much energy Kanzy had, because she played three tough qualifying matches before today,” Serme said

Serme will face second seed Laura Massaro next. The Englishwoman, whose image is displayed on a larger than life banner hanging in Grand Central Terminal concourse, played with authority as she defeated 18-year-old qualifier Salma Hany Ibrahim, 11-411-4, 11-3. “The last time we played, it went to five, so this first round was a potential banana peel,” Massaro said. “I am glad to get it out of the way.”

 Women’s First Round Results –  – J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions
Grand Central Terminal
Monday, January 19, 2015

Nour El Tayeb (EGY) def. Victoria Lust (ENG) 11-5, 11-6, 11-2 [25 mins]

Nour El Sherbini (EGY) def. Annie Au (HKG)11-3, 11-7, 11-7  [21 mins]

Amanda Sobhy (USA) def. Low Wee Wern (MAS) 11-5, 5-11, 5-11, 11-8, 11-7  [61 mins]

Raneem El Welily (EGY) def. Omneya Abdel Kawy (ENG) 11-7, 15-13, 11-7 [39 mins]

Camille Serme (FRA) def. Kanzy El-Defrawy (EGY)9-11, 11-3, 11-5, 12-10 [59 mins]

Laura Massaro (ENG) def .Salma Hany Ibrahim (EGY)  11-4,11-4, 11-3  [32 mins]