Relaxed American now meets Nicol David as Laura Massaro battles through
By HOWARD HARDING – Squash Mad Correspondent
US squash star Amanda Sobhy claimed “one of my best-ever wins” when she upset third seed Camille Serme in today’s quarter-finals of the Women’s Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Open to reach her second successive Women’s Squash Association World Series Gold event semi-final.
The 21-year-old from New York, in her final year at Harvard University, had never beaten Serme before. But, buoyed by a surprise last-four finish in last week’s WSA World Series Malaysian Open, the No8 seed dug deep to overcome the world No5 from France 11-5, 1-11, 11-7, 11-3 in 37 minutes.
“I was just running around and playing too short in the second,” Sobhy (pictured above in action with Serme) admitted later. “I just had to settle down again and I was pleased with how relaxed I was.
“I’m really happy. It’s a good day and I can go back to school happy whatever happens next.
“It’s nice to know I’m getting close to the top ten players while I’m still at school,” added the US number one who currently stands at nine in the WSA world rankings. “It will be great when I’ve finished and can go full time on the tour.”
Sobhy now faces a tough test in Nicol David, the top seed from Malaysia who is bidding for a remarkable tenth successive title. The world No1 put paid to domestic interest in the remainder of the championship by beating surprise opponent Joey Chan, the Hong Kong number two who ousted No7 seed Omneya Abdel Kawy in the previous round
David defeated the 15th seed 11-8, 11-4, 11-3 to take her winning streak in Hong Kong to 48 matches.
Egyptian Nour El Tayeb is also extending a magnificent Malaysian Open run in Hong Kong: The 16th seed from Cairo secured her latest scalp with an 11-4, 9-11, 11-4, 11-8 victory over Alison Waters, the fourth seed from England.
“I can’t believe it,” said the delighted 21-year-old. “It was completely the opposite type of game than against Wee Wern yesterday – Alison hits the ball really hard and I was having to try to contain her.
“I’m so happy to be in the semis here. My coach has been telling me to enjoy the game and I was really enjoying that match!”
El Tayeb now faces a further English opponent after second seed Laura Massaro survived a testing five-game battle against 10th seed Rachael Grinham, saving a match-ball in the decider to beat the 2002 champion 11-8, 7-11, 11-9, 5-11, 12-10 in 58 minutes.
“I was always in control,” joked Massaro, the world No2 (pictured right in action with Grinham). “She’s in great form so I knew it was going to be a tough match, and I think she worked out how to play this court against Annie (Au) yesterday.
“I was down in two of the games I won, I just had to keep sticking in and stay strong like I always do,” added the Lancashire lass.
“I’ve enjoyed my matches on here this year, but it will be good to get on the all-glass court tomorrow.”
RESULTS: Women’s Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Open.
 Nicol David (MAS) bt  Joey Chan (HKG) 11-8, 11-4, 11-3 (27m)
 Amanda Sobhy (USA) bt  Camille Serme (FRA) 11-5, 1-11, 11-7, 11-3 (37m)
 Nour El Tayeb (EGY) bt  Alison Waters (ENG) 11-4, 9-11, 11-4, 11-8 (32m)
 Laura Massaro (ENG) bt  Rachael Grinham (AUS) 11-8, 7-11, 11-9, 5-11, 12-10 (58m)
 Nicol David (MAS) v  Amanda Sobhy (USA)
 Laura Massaro (ENG) v  Nour El Tayeb (EGY)
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Pictures courtesy of WSA