Sobhy Succeeds in Gaining Main Draw Berth
Amanda Sobhy came back from the precipice of defeat in the final round of qualifying at the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions at the Princeton Club to defeat Egypt’s Nour El Shebini in five games and advance to the main draw being played on the ToC glass court in Grand Central Terminal.
Sobhy, a junior at Harvard University where she is #1 on the women’s team, had lost the first two games and was down 0-5 in the third. “I thought of all my friends whom I had promised could see me play on the glass court in Grand Central and how I would be letting them down if I didn’t win this match,” Sobhy said. “So I just focused on one point at a time.”
With her Harvard teammates cheering loudly, Sobhy, the 2010 World Junior Champion, started turning the tables on Sherbini, a three-time world junior titleholder. Having felt stiff and tight in the first two games, Sobhy figured out how to relax a bit on the court and gained a foothold in the match by winning the third game 11-8. The American, who is playing college squash and professional squash along with balancing the rigorous Harvard academics, was buoyed by her teammates’ support and took further command of the match, winning the last two games – 11-6,11-5.
Sobhy, who is undefeated in college play, will face fourth seed Alison Waters on the Grand Central glass court in the first afternoon session of play.
Hong Kong’s Annie Au and Australia’s Rachael Grinham also earned trips to the Grand Central glass court with 3-0 victories over India’s Dipika Pallikal and Denmark’s Line Hansen, respectively. Au drew top seed Nicol David whom she will play Tuesday evening at 7:15. Grinham,a former world #1 who joins sister Natalie in the main draw, will take on world #2 Laura Massaro at 6:45 on Monday evening.,
The longest qualifying match was played by Sarah-Jane Perry of England and Egypt’s Omneya Abdel who engaged in a seesaw battle for the last qualifying spot. “It was a hard match and a little contentious,” said Perry, who jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first game but had to fend off a game ball before winning the game 12-10. “We both really like to hold our position in the middle of the court.” The second game was all Kawy who found her rhythm and sprinted to an 11-2 game win.
Perry, who is playing her first tournament since October after being sidelined with a fractured vertebrate, eked out another 12-10 tiebreak in the third. Kawy promptly turned around to win the fourth and even the match. In the fifth, Perry took a 9-5 lead and won the game 11-7.
The 23-year-old Englishwoman’s first round opponent is countrywoman Jenny Duncalf, the seventh seed. Perry, who defeated Duncalf in a league match two weeks ago was delighted with the draw.
Qualifying Final Round Results – J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions, Princeton Club, NY
A Women’s Squash Association (WSA) Gold event
Sunday, January 19, 2014
 Annie Au (HKG) bt.  Dipika Pallikal (IND) 11-8,11-9,11-5 33 minutes
 Amanda Sobhy (USA) bet  Nour El Sherbini (EGY) 6-11, 10-12, 11-8, 11-6, 11-5 57 minutes
 Rachael Grinham bt.  Line Hansen (DEN) 12-10,11-7,11-2 31 minutes
 Sarah-Jane Perry def.  Omneya Abdel Kawy 12-10,2-11,12-10,9-11,11-7 67 minutes
Main Draw Schedule of Play
Monday, January 20, 2014
Grand Central Terminal
12:00 pm  Jenny Duncalf (ENG) v. [Q] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG)
12:45 pm Natalie Grinham (NED) v.  Camille Serme (FRA)
1:30 pm  Alison Waters (ENG) v. [Q] Amanda Sobhy (USA)
2:15 pm Madeline Perry (IRL)  Raneem El Welily (EGY)
3:45 pm Kasey Brown (AUS) v.  Joelle King (NZL)
6:45 pm [Q] Rachael Grinham (AUS) v.  Laura Massaro (ENG)
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Grand Central Terminal
7:15 pm  Nicol David (MAS) vs. [Q] Annie Au (HKG)
5:30 pm  Low Wee Wern (MAS) v. Latasha Khan (USA)