US Duo Sobhy & Harrity Triumph In US Open Openers
7 Oct 2018
US duo Amanda Sobhy and Todd Harrity made winning starts on day one of the FS Investments US Open Squash Championships after overcoming Hong Kong's Tong Tsz-Wing and Australia's Cameron Pilley, respectively, in round one of the PSA World Tour Platinum event taking place at Drexel University in Philadelphia.
Boston-based Sobhy missed out on an appearance at last year's tournament due to an Achilles injury, but looked eager to make up for lost time in a dominant performance today as she powered to an 11-3, 11-9, 11-1 victory in just 24 minutes. The unseeded 25-year-old will now take on England's Victoria Lust in the next round.
"I missed out last year and that was probably one of the lowest times for me and so just to be back here is huge," said Sobhy afterwards.
"I love this venue. I ended up having to move down to Philly for five weeks during my rehab, so it is like a second home for me now and I know that whenever I'm here I'm in good hands."
Sobhy was the only one of four female US players to prevail in round one, with her compatriot and tournament wildcard Reeham Sedky failing to capitalise on a two-game lead against Egyptian world No.19 Hania El Hammamy.
Sedky, the world No.68 who currently attends the University of Pennsylvania, was on fire in the opening two games as her hard-hitting style enabled her to catch El Hammamy off guard and she looked destined to earn a second round berth at this tournament for the first time after going 2/0 up.
But the 21-year-old eased off slightly in the third and El Hammamy was able to gain a foothold in the match, with the Egyptian taking the next three games without reply to complete the comeback.
"I had to fight and dig in on every point," said El Hammamy, who will play France's Camille Serme next.
"I said I'm not going to give up. I played against her at the end of last season and was 2/0 down and came back to 2/2 but then lost, so I said this time was going to be different and I wasn't going to let it go."
Elsewhere in the women's event, US No.3 Haley Mendez surrendered a one-game advantage against Egypt's Nadine Shahin, while Olivia Fiechter, the other women's wildcard, went down against Australia's Donna Lobban.
A trio of American players competed in the opening round of the men's event, with Harrity, Christopher Gordon and Andrew Douglas all in action. US No.1 Harrity made it a night to remember as he claimed his biggest ever victory on the PSA Tour with a 3/2 upset over world No.23 Pilley.
Harrity, the world No.48 from Wayne, completed a brilliant fightback from two games down to defeat the Australian and will line up against training partner and world No.1 Mohamed Elshorbagy in the next round.
"Obviously he is just coming back from injury so I noticed he wasn't moving well," said Harrity following his win.
"But sometimes that's the hardest thing to cope with because it's something else to think about and distract you from just playing.
"I wasn't really feeling my shots and I was trying too hard to expose his movements, but I'm really proud that I didn't let my nerves get the best of me and ground it out to get the win."
"Credit to him because he is a great player and a fighter and he showed me right up until the last point that the match wasn't over," said 31-year-old Castagnet.
"I had to put a lot of effort in to get the win. I love this tournament, I love the crowd. I have so many good memories, I have been number six in the world here and I'm trying to get back to that form and reach the top 20 again and who knows, maybe the top 10."
A heavy lunge from Waller during the final point in their clash caused some damage to the court floor, meaning the following two matches scheduled for the glass court - which is situated in Drexel University's Daskalakis Athletic Center - were moved to the side courts while the issue was fixed.
The side courts also played host to one of the day's biggest upsets when England's world No.49 George Parker overcame world No.35 Mazen Hesham in five games to set up a second round meeting with Yip Tsz Fung.