Olivia Blatchford meets Nicol David in the final
By SEAN REUTHE – Squash Mad Reporter
Top seed Amanda Sobhy’s tournament at the inaugural Ciudad de Floridablanca came to an abrupt end after the United States No.1 tore her achilles while match ball up during her semi-final clash with compatriot Olivia Blatchford at the Parque el Santisimo.
Sobhy had been putting in an imperious display against her Team USA team-mate as she powered two games ahead, taking them 11-1, 11-6 as she controlled the ‘T’ and unleashed some crashing winners to the back of the court.
But, at 10-5 up and on the verge of securing her place in the final, Sobhy’s achilles on her left leg gave way as she set off to chase down a drop, leaving the World No.6 crumpled on the floor, and she was forced to retire from the match and the tournament in what is the latest fitness issue in an injury-hit 2017 after a partially torn fascia impeded her during January’s Tournament of Champions.
“She was outplaying me completely, she was 100 per cent the better squash player,” said an emotional Blatchford, with whom Sobhy is close friends.
“I was five match balls down so I thought I would do some different things, I just sent her the wrong way and, when she moved, she went down. I’m praying for her, all I can do now is be the best team-mate I can for her now and take her strength by doing my best tomorrow.
“I know I don’t deserve to be out there tomorrow, she does, so the best thing I can do is honour her by giving my best on court tomorrow. I need to really show up tomorrow for Amanda.”
Blatchford will appear in her biggest ever PSA W70 final against legendary Malaysian Nicol David, who recovered from a game down to beat England’s Alison Waters, reaching her 101st Tour final in the process.
Waters controlled the early stages of the match after a slow start from David, but the eight-time World Champion soon found her rhythm, and she took the last three games in succession to wrap up an 8-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-2 triumph, sealing a place in her first Tour final since the 2015 Hong Kong Open.
“I was just a bit reactive in some parts of the match and she was free-flowing,” David said.
“I wasn’t fully comfortable hitting my shots or finding my lines. I managed to settle into the game and started hitting my targets well and putting her under pressure. I was really pleased to enforce my game and pull it through to win 3-1.
“I’m glad to get to the finals here, it’s been such a special tournament, I’m just really enjoying it. I’ll give it a good go. When you’re in a final, you’re both there to just go for it and I’ll be doing just that.”
2017 Ciudad de Floridablanca, Semi-Finals:
Olivia Blatchford (USA) bt  Amanda Sobhy (USA) 3-2: 1-11, 6-11, 5-10 ret. (32m)
 Nicol David (MAS) bt  Alison Waters (ENG) 3-1: 8-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-2 (49m)
Final (March 11th):
Olivia Blatchford (USA) v  Nicol David (MAS)
Pictures by Squash Colombia