11:06 pm
19 Jun 2024

Wildcard Orfi Stuns Sobhy To Reach Maiden PSA World Tour Final At Squash On Fire Open

26 Feb 2023

15-year-old Egyptian Amina Orfi is through to her first PSA World Tour final after coming from behind to upset USA's second-seeded Sabrina Sobhy in a tense five-game clash, continuing her incredible run at the Bronze level Squash On Fire Open in Washington DC.

Prior to this encounter, Sobhy had been the only player to defeat Orfi in her short career to date. That came at the Egyptian Open in September - since when the 15-year-old has now built up an impressive 17-match winning streak, racking up three Challenger Tour titles over the period.

It was Sobhy who controlled the early exchanges though, but Orfi showed no signs of any nerves in what was the biggest match of her career to date. She went on to take the first game 11-9 thanks to a run of six points in the middle part of the game.

A quick burst of points later in the second game saw the American draw level, and she then took the lead in the contest for the first time after the third game, to the delight of the home crowd at Squash On Fire.

However, the youngster continued to look at home on the big stage. The fourth saw neither player able to run away into a big lead. After saving two game balls, Sobhy then had a match ball of her own, but despite a despairing dive from the American, Orfi was able to keep the match going. She went on to win the next two points of the tie-break to take the fourth 13-11 to send the contest into a decider.

Errors at crucial times in the fifth game were the downfall for the American, as she was unable to keep the pressure up on the teenage wildcard. Orfi came through to win the deciding game 11-6, and to book her spot in a first PSA World Tour final, and a fourth successive Tour final.

"I feel so happy! I didn't expect to win today, I felt a bit tired after yesterday's match and they were a bit closer. Yesterday's match was later and this was a bit earlier," Orfi said.

"After I won the first game, there was still some hope, and even when I was 2/1 down... I kept focussing and I just had to keep playing. Even if I had lost, I made it this far and it was still a good tournament.

"Towards the end, I was just thinking that this was my second chance, and to make the most out of it. I tried not to think at all about the Egyptian Open, I told myself to just play a solid game and to wait until she made an error."

Orfi will now face the tournament's top seed, Belgium's Tinne Gilis, in the final. The world No.13 defeated Egypt's Farida Mohamed, the No.3 seed, in a four-game contest to record her first win over the Egyptian in three attempts on Tour.

In the men's event, Egypt's Mohamed ElSherbini also caused an upset, knocking out No.2 seed Saurav Ghosal in a display of high-quality squash, as he moved into a first PSA World Tour final in three years.

Both played brutal matches on quarter finals day, but the pace was high from the outset. The first game was a tight and tense battle, going all the way to a tie-break, and it was the Egyptian that was able to take first blood, winning it 12-10 to hold the first lead of the match.

He was then able to also take the second game to double his lead in the match, but the Indian No.1 fought back to take the third and to put some pressure on the 30-year-old Egyptian. However, ElSherbini started the fourth game strongly, winning six of the first eight points. Ghosal came back to make it nervy for ElSherbini, but the Egyptian came through to win in four and to make the final.

"Today I just tried to play a lot aggressive squash to the back before going to the front because he scrapes a lot of balls up and he gets a lot of my tough shots out," the Egyptian said.

"I wanted to make sure that I beat him at the back first before going for the short shots. Thank god it happened you know! I got a little bit over-confident with my shots. I felt like I was Amr Shabana or Ramy Ashour or someone like that!"

ElSherbini will now take on top seed Victor Crouin for the second time in as many weeks after the Frenchman defeated Spanish No.1 Iker Pajares Bernabeu in straight games. Crouin and ElSherbini faced each other in Calgary last week, with the world No.10 getting the win.