Sunday, May 19, 2024

Emily Whitlock stays ahead to win new WSA title

Sabrina Sobhy takes out Olivia Blatchford but falls to England’s Emily Whitlock in Boar’s Head final
By HOWARD HARDING – Squash Mad WSA Correspondent

Emily Whitlock lines up a backhand volley against Sabrina Sobhy
Emily Whitlock lines up a backhand volley against Sabrina Sobhy

England’s 20-year-old Emily Whitlock became one of the youngest players to notch up a 10th title on the WSA World Tour when she beat local hope Sabrina Sobhy in the final of the Women’s Boar’s Head Sports Club Open in the USA.

The world No28 from Colwyn Bay in Wales (pictured below, right, with Sobhy) reached the final of the WSA Tour 10 squash event at Boar’s Head Sports Club in Charlottesville, Virginia – the 15th of her career – after stopping Egypt’s unseeded Menna Nasser in the semi-finals.

It was a breakthrough all-American clash in the other semi, between the country’s third-ranked Olivia Blatchford and fourth-ranked Sobhy – in which 17-year-old Sobhy clinched her maiden Tour win over her 21-year-old rival, upsetting the No2 seed in four games.

Whitsob“Both payers started nervously going point for point through to six-all, with the majority of the rallies finishing on errors,” said the club’s Director of Squash Mark Allen of the final. “Whitlock settled the better towards the end and closed the first game out well.

“In the second and third Whitlock was dominant, playing a game of good width and length that was containing Sobhy who was clearly feeling the effects of a tougher path to the final.

“There were flashes of the usual brilliance off the racket from Sobhy, but only to snatch a point here and there as Whitlock was in firm control of the centre of the court.

“In the end, a comfortable win for Whitlock, who always looked likely to be the tournament winner from the very outset ,” concluded Allen.

The 11-7, 11-5, 11-3 victory is the latest success in double European Junior Champion Whitlock’s fledgling senior career – her second successive Tour title in the USA and the tenth overall in just 33 months!

“I’m happy to win here in Charlottesville, the facilities are fantastic,” said Whitlock afterwards. “I didn’t actually feel like I played well on Saturday but I’m pleased to have played well against Sabrina.

“She’s a tough opponent and although playing on glass court was tricky, I’m happy to have made improvements during the weekend.”

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WSA Boar’s Head Sports Club Open, Charlottesville, Virginia, USA

1st round:
[1] Emily Whitlock (ENG) bt [Q] Corey Schafer (USA) 11-3, 11-5, 11-4
[Q] Millie Tomlinson (ENG) bt [6] Nikki Todd (CAN) 11-8, 11-5, 11-6
[4] Cecelia Cortes (USA) bt [Q] Nabilla Ariffin (MAS) 8-11, 14-12, 13-15, 11-1, 12-10
Menna Nasser (EGY) bt [7] Ivonne Diaz (MEX) 11-3, 12-10, 11-9
[5] Hollie Naughton (CAN) bt Fernanda Rocha (ARG) 11-8, 8-11, 11-5, 11-2
[3] Sabrina Sobhy (USA) bt Nayelly Hernandez (MEX) 11-6, 11-6, 11-9
[8] Catalina Pelaez (COL) bt Larissa Stephenson (NZL) 11-8, 14-16, 11-8, 11-6
[2] Olivia Blatchford (USA) bt [Q] Colette Sultana (MLT) 11-8, 11-6, 11-5
[1] Emily Whitlock (ENG) bt [Q] Millie Tomlinson (ENG) 11-9, 11-9, 9-11, 14-12
Menna Nasser (EGY) bt [4] Cecelia Cortes (USA) 7-11, 11-4, 11-4, 11-7
[3] Sabrina Sobhy (USA) bt [5] Hollie Naughton (CAN) 11-6, 7-11, 11-5, 10-12, 17-15
[2] Olivia Blatchford (USA) bt [8] Catalina Pelaez (COL) 12-10, 11-7, 11-8
[1] Emily Whitlock (ENG) bt Menna Nasser (EGY) 13-11, 11-5, 11-4
[3] Sabrina Sobhy (USA) bt [2] Olivia Blatchford (USA) 11-6, 11-8, 8-11, 11-7
[1] Emily Whitlock (ENG) bt [3] Sabrina Sobhy (USA) 11-7, 11-5, 11-3

Pictures courtesy of WSA


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