‘My team and I looked at every part of my game and I have come back stronger’
By NATHAN DUGAN – Squash Mad Correspondent
Amanda Sobhy may have had a January to forget on the PSA World Tour, but tonight she showed a packed house that 2020 could be a very good year for her in the final of the Gaynor Cup in Cincinatti.
It was an incredibly high level throughout the match with both players saving their best squash of the week for the final. Sarah-Jane Perry had not been in her best form in the early rounds but used her experience to find a way to win.
Tonight though she started the match with accurate hitting and looked to be moving freely as she controlled a relatively one sided first game.
Amanda’s response in the second was intense, as the world number 8 used more holds and moved SJ to all four corners with relentless pressure.
The pace quickened and the execution of each shot was severe as her opponent, ranked one place higher, could merely stay in the rallies and hope for errors that just never came.
The third was more of the same onslaught until Amanda completely missed the ball at 10-4. The distraction and humour created by her visions of grandeur of what was going to be the game winning shot, carried over for the next few rallies, as SJ crept closer and closer to 10-9.
The rally that followed essentially ended the English number one’s challenge, as SJ made a strange shot selection by flicking the ball crosscourt into the tin in maybe a desperate attempt due to the work Amanda had delivered to her tiring legs.
On paper it would be easy to presume that SJ quit in the fourth or didn’t fight to the death, but in reality it was quite the opposite.
In certainly the longest 11-1 game I have ever witnessed, the play was as intense and physically brutal as the rest of the match.
The only difference was that Amanda kept hold of the serve. To think at 8-0 that a bagel was even on the cards seemed very wrong, and to see how hard SJ had to work to earn that single point was incredible.
The fact that Amanda was giving a pumped-up scream at the end of each rally as the game neared its conclusion, also showed how tough the squash was.
It was a high quality match worthy of two players in the world top 10, and the Cincinnati crowd loved every minute.
Sobhy’s is the first American name to be added to the Gaynor Cup trophy and Amanda vowed to be back next year to defend her title.
Afterwards she explained how she and her support team had looked at every aspect of her performance and said: “Thank you for reminding me about those poor results! My team and I looked at every part of my game, on and off court, the training, diet, nutrition, everything, and I have come back stronger.
“When you have come back from a career-threatening injury as I did with my achilles, coming back from a few poor results is nothing.”
Certainly her phenomenal movement, speed around the court and attacking strategy paid off with a wonderful win on home soil. She will hope to take that form with her to Chicago for the Windy City Open, where she and SJ are in opposite halves of the draw for this blockbuster event.
PSA World Tour Bronze $51,250 Women’s Bahl & Gaynor Cincinnati Cup 2020, Cincinnati Country Club, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA..
 Amanda Sobhy (USA) bt  Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) 6-11, 11-5, 11-9, 11-1 (45m)
 Amanda Sobhy (USA) bt  Hania El Hammamy (EGY) 11-7, 4-11, 12-10, 11-7 (48m)
 Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) bt  Olivia Blatchford Clyne (USA) 7-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-4 (51m)
 Amanda Sobhy (USA) bt  Nele Gilis (BEL) 11-5, 11-2, 11-3 (24m)
 Hania El Hammamy (EGY) bt  Rowan Elaraby (EGY) 11-7, 11-5, 11-6 (31m)
 Olivia Blatchford Clyne (USA) bt  Tinne Gilis (BEL) 11-8, 12-10, 11-6 (33m)
 Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) bt  Low Wee Wern (MAS) 9-11, 11-9, 9-11, 11-7, 11-5 (65m)
Full results on www.squashinfo.com
Pictures courtesy of Cincinatti Country Club