Champions Harrity and Sobhy spearhead exciting new era for US Squash
By Squash Mad Reporter in Charlottesville
Amanda Sobhy, 21, and Todd Harrity, 24, emerged victorious among an experienced field at the S.L. Green & Women’s U.S. Squash Championships today at the McArthur Squash Center.
In the semi-finals, both dispatched veterans who had collected 15 U.S. national titles between them. Today, Harrity earned his first U.S. Squash Championship just after Sobhy collected her second U.S. Squash Championship in her professional debut.
“There is an exciting future for American players competing on the international tours,” said US Squash President & CEO Kevin Klipstein. “Amanda and Todd, joined by Chris Gordon, Chris Hanson, Olivia Blatchford, and Sabrina Sobhy, among others, follow in the footsteps of outstanding role models Natalie Grainger and Julian Illingworth.”
Sobhy, who was the No. 1 seed and who has achieved a world No. 10 professional ranking while playing as an amateur, did not lose a game in the tournament, defeating Olivia Blatchford, 11-7, 11-2, 11-9. Blatchford, who is 21 and holds a world No. 39 ranking, had upended Sobhy’s younger sister, Sabrina, in the semi-finals.
Sobhy will next compete at the $35,000 Texas Open, where she is the No. 2 seed behind world No. 7 Nour El Tayeb, her long-time Egyptian rival from the junior ranks. Following the World Doubles in Chicago, she will turn her attention to final exams and graduation from Harvard.
“I am really looking forward to training for this summer’s Pan American Games,” said Sobhy. “It will be my first time to compete in the Games, and we will have a great team.”
When not traveling to compete on the WSA world tour, the Long Island native will be based in Boston, where she will train with her coach Thierry Lincou, a former world No. 1 player.
For the past 18 months since graduating from Princeton, Harrity has been gaining ground and gaining strength while competing on the PSA world tour.
“I see Todd as having a breakthrough year,” predicted US Squash national coach Paul Assaiante earlier in the week. “He has been getting stronger and very fit competing full-time.”
No. 2 seed Harrity, who has been steadily progressing from a PSA world ranking of No. 174 when he turned professional to a recent career high of No. 68, showed his determination in a hard-fought, five-game win over top seed Chris Gordon, 9-11, 11-4, 11-7, 7-11, 11-6.
“This title is a big confidence booster for me,” said Harrity. “This tournament has been on my mind for the past six months. It is a great accomplishment for me. I play squash six days a week, work with a trainer trying to improve and to be mentally tough in pressure situations.”
Chasing his dream, Harrity, of Wayne, PA, is off to Egypt on March 24 for a tournament in El Gouna followed by events in Canada and South America.
Earlier in the day, 24-year-old Chris Hanson achieved his best S.L. Green finish by defeating Illingworth in the 3/4 playoff, and Grainger defeated Sabrina Sobhy in a three-game women’s 3/4 playoff.
Pictures courtesy of US Squash