High-speed Sobhy leads the charge as top four reach Texas semi-finals
By HOWARD HARDING – Squash Mad Correspondent
Amanda Sobhy led the way as the top four seeds secured places in the semi-finals of the Women’s Texas Open – but achieved their quarter-final successes in the WSA International 35 squash event in contrasting styles at Life Time Fitness in Plano, USA.
US hope Sobhy wasted little time ensuring her anticipated semi slot – ending Australian qualifier Donna Urquhart’s brave run in just 20 minutes.
The 21-year-old second seed from New York, just a month away from graduating from Harvard University, despatched fellow left-hander Urquhart 11-9, 11-4, 11-2 and will now face third seed Annie Au, also a ‘leftie’, for a place in the event’s final for the first time.
Au, the 26-year-old No.3 seed from Hong Kong, survived a tough test against Egyptian teenager Nouran Gohar. The 17-year-old from Cairo made an impressive comeback to force a decider after losing the first two games.
But Au dug deep to fend off the youthful attack, closing out the match 11-8, 11-4, 5-11, 3-11, 11-7 after 56 minutes to reach the semis for the first time since 2012.
England’s Emma Beddoes was forced to play twice in the day after sustaining a ‘blood injury’ the previous evening midway through her first round match with Heba El Torky. After beating the Egyptian in four games on resumption, the No.5 seed faced top seed Nour El Tayeb in the quarter-finals.
Beddoes took the opener after a tie-break, but was unable to contain the world No.5 from Egypt as El Tayeb battled on to claim a 10-12, 11-7, 11-6, 12-10 triumph after 57 minutes.
“There are some matches you love playing even when you lose,” Beddoes told her Twitter followers later. “Tonight was 1, went down 3-1 but great match with world #5 @NourElTayeb #TexasOpen”
El Tayeb now takes on Texas Open veteran Rachael Grinham. The fourth seed from Australia, four times a finalist and twice the champion, survived a close battle with career-long Tour rival Jenny Duncalf, beating England’s former world number two 11-9, 12-10, 12-10.
Women’s Texas Open, Plano, Texas, USA
 Emma Beddoes (ENG) bt Heba El Torky (EGY) 7-11, 11-3, 11-0, 11-6 (43m)
 Nour El Tayeb (EGY) bt  Emma Beddoes (ENG) 10-12, 11-7, 11-6, 12-10 (57m)
 Rachael Grinham (AUS) bt  Jenny Duncalf (ENG) 11-9, 12-10, 12-10 (32m)
 Annie Au (HKG) bt  Nouran Gohar (EGY) 11-8, 11-4, 5-11, 3-11, 11-7 (56m)
 Amanda Sobhy (USA) bt [Q] Donna Urquhart (AUS) 11-9, 11-4, 11-2 (20m)
 Nour El Tayeb (EGY) v  Rachael Grinham (AUS)
 Amanda Sobhy (USA) v  Annie Au (HKG)
Picture from Squash Mad archive