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ToC: Sobhy scrapes past El Sherbini in qualifying marathon

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Amanda Sobhy can't wait to jump on the McWil glass court at Grand central Station
World number 18 Amanda Sobhy can’t wait to jump on the McWILL glass court at Grand Central Station

Sobhy digs deep to stun El Sherbini and make the ToC glass court

By KRISTI MAROC – Squash Mad New York Correspondent

Home favourite Amanda Sobhy fought back from the brink of defeat to oust former world number four Nour El Sherbini of Egypt in five games and advance into the main draw of the WSA J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions in New York.

Sobhy. who beat Cecelia Cortes in the first-qualifying round, trailed the Egyptian 18-year-old by two-games early on and appeared in a precarious position at 7-3 down in the third.

But buoyed by the support of her friends and family in the crowd, Sobhy turned the match on its head and completed a remarkable comeback 6-11, 10-12, 11-8, 11-6, 11-5 to earn a first-round meeting with world number four Alison Waters.

“I was two love down, and five love in the third, and then I thought to myself I promised all my friends I’m going to make it to the glass court, and for all my friends from high school this is the only time they’ll ever see me play there,” said an emotional Sobhy.

“So I thought, I don’t care what happens, you’re still in this, don’t give up. After I won the third I knew I could do it.  The fifth was possibly the longest game ever – I was just thinking ‘oh my god can it be ten yet?’.

“I’m just so happy. I’ve been working really hard, and you have no idea how happy I am to make it to the glass court.”

Meanwhile, Hong Kong’s Annie Au continued her exceptional recent form to conjure an upset in the draw, dismissing top seed Dipika Pallikal from India 11-8, 11-9, 11-5 at the Princeton Club.

Au will need to maintain her drive for her next challenge, when she will take on world number one Nicol David in her first match of the main draw on Tuesday.

Former world number one, Australia’s Rachael Grinham, took down Line Hansen of Denmark in three games, 12-10, 11-7, 11-2, to move through to the glass court for a main round match against world number two Laura Massaro on Monday evening.

And Sarah-Jane Perry will take on fellow Englishwoman Jenny Duncalf in the main draw after defeating Egypt’s Omneya Abdel Kawy 12-10, 2-11, 12-10, 9-11, 11-7 in 67 minutes. 

Qualifying Final Round Results

[5] Annie Au (HKG) 3-0 [1] Dipika Pallikal (IND) 11-8, 11-9, 11-5 (33m)
[7] Amanda Sobhy (USA) 3-2 [4] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) 6-11, 10-12, 11-8, 11-6, 11-5  (57m)
[3] Rachael Grinham 3-0 [8] Line Hansen (DEN) 12-10, 11-7, 11-2 (31m)
[6] Sarah-Jane Perry 3-2 [2] Omneya Abdel Kawy 12-10, 2-11, 12-10, 9-11, 11-7 (67m)

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