Amanda Sobhy takes Texas title and offers US Squash a vision of future glory
By HOWARD HARDING – Squash Mad Correspondent
New York-born Amanda Sobhy claimed the biggest WSA World Tour title of her career – and became the first home winner of the Women’s Texas Open for seven years – when she upset top-seeded Egyptian Nour El Tayeb in the final of the WSA International 35 squash event at Life Time Fitness in Plano, on the outskirts of Dallas.
The final was the pair’s latest clash in a career rivalry which began as 14-year-olds contesting the British Junior Open Under-15 quarter-finals in 2008. The Egyptian reigned supreme in four successive British Junior Open clashes – but Sobhy proved invincible in the 2010 World Junior Championship final in Germany, where she beat El Tayeb in four games to become the USA’s first ever world squash champion.
But in only their second meeting on the WSA Tour, second seed Sobhy was looking for revenge after losing to the 22-year-old from Cairo – who now boasts a career-high world No.5 ranking – in last year’s Malaysian Open semi-finals.
Spurred on by home crowd support, Sobhy survived a second game comeback by El Tayeb to beat the higher-ranked Egyptian 11-7, 8-11, 11-8, 11-4.
“I am ecstatic right now – this is my biggest tournament tour title to date and I’m so happy to have won it here in Texas,” said the 21-year-old world No.10 who graduates from Harvard University next month.
“The crowd has been amazing all week and Sanjeeb and his team put on a spectacular event and took care of all the players so well. I fully enjoyed my time here and really looking forward to coming back to Dallas!
“Nour is such a talented player and a fighter and I knew I had to be mentally and physically strong in order to beat her today. I want to thank my coaches Thierry Lincou and Shahid Zaman for working with me to get ready for this tournament.
“I also need to thank my family for their continuous support because without them I would be nowhere. I’m bringing this trophy back to Harvard with me where I will finish up my last month of school before I graduate on May 28. Hopefully this is just the start of good things to come for my pro career.”
El Tayeb added: “First of all it has been a great week. Everyone has been super nice and very welcoming – from the people to the organising committee. It’s one of the best organised tournaments I have been to for sure.
“Today Amanda was the better player. She played the right game. Unfortunately, I couldn’t push through today and she just played better than I did, so all credit to her.”
Sobhy’s Texas triumph is the latest milestone in the career of the reigning US national champion – who now boasts a remarkable record of 13 title wins from 14 WSA World Tour final appearances.
Her latest victory gives US Squash the realistic prospect of a player capable of challenging for the game’s highest honours, with younger sister Sabrina also on the horizon.
Amanda told her fans on Facebook: “Today I won my biggest WSA tour title to date, The Texas Open. Beat good friend Nour El Tayeb in the final in a tough 3-1. So happy to win this weekend especially when I’m still at Harvard.
“Thank you to everyone for the support this week. It means a lot and I really appreciate all the comments and messages. Unfortunately I do not have any more WSA tournies for a while, but at least I can enjoy my last month of college!”
WSA Texas Open, Lifetime Fitness, Plano, USA.
(2) Amanda Sobhy (USA) beat (1) Nour El Tayeb (Egypt) 11-7, 8-11, 11-8, 11-4
Pictures by SHRI RAJAN