8:43 pm
25 May 2024

Fiechter & Sobhy Create US Open History

13 Oct 2023

There will be two women from the USA competing in the semi-finals of the US Open for the first time in the tournament's history after world No.9 Olivia Fiechter upset Egypt's world No.5 Nour El Tayeb to join compatriot Amanda Sobhy in the last four of the PSA World Tour Platinum event presented by TRUIST.

Fiechter, a semi-finalist at the 2021 event, was roared on by a passionate home crowd at the Arlen Specter US Squash Center in Philadelphia as the 28-year-old took an early lead against 2017 champion El Tayeb.

There was a recovery in the second game as the Egyptian levelled the scores, but Fiechter's physicality and the momentum generated by the spectators soon propelled her to an 11-7, 9-11, 13-11, 11-7 victory. Sobhy will also compete on semi-finals day after beating Egypt's Amina Orfi in her quarter-final match 24 hours earlier.

"She hits the ball with great weight," said Fiechter after her maiden career meeting with El Tayeb.

"On this court, if you let the ball come back, it's so deadly back there. I was trying to cut that off, take it around the middle and stay in front of her as much as I could.

"I knew she was going to take it into the front, so I told myself to push up and not get beat on the drop and the boast. We did a lot of work on that in the last few months and it felt like it came through tonight."

Fiechter's semi-final opponent will be Nour El Sherbini - the world No.1 who was just five points away from being eliminated by England's Georgina Kennedy before turning the match around.

El Sherbini dropped just a single point in the opening game against the world No.7, but was outplayed in the next two games as Kennedy took the lead. A 6-2 advantage for the Englishwoman in the fourth put her on the path to a huge upset, however El Sherbini managed to claw back that deficit as she rediscovered her rhythm from the first game. She held Kennedy off to draw level, before sealing the win in the fifth game.

"I needed this match to get some momentum and a testing match before the semis," said El Sherbini.

When asked why she has never won the event before, despite being a finalist four times, Sherbini replied: "I have no idea, I tried four times with different people, I lost to Raneem [El Welily], Nicol [David], Camille [Serme] and Nouran [Gohar]. Inshallah this time it will happen!"

Defending champion Diego Elias is through to the last four after he battled to a 3/1 victory against England's Marwan ElShorbagy, winning 12-10, 11-13, 11-1, 11-2.

Elias had scored comfortable straight games victories in his last two matches against ElShorbagy, but could have been two games down had ElShorbagy been able to convert his game ball opportunity in the opening game. Whilst he did manage to do so in the second, the relentless pace Elias played at took its toll and the Peruvian soon pulled away to seal the win.

"We were both playing at a very high pace, so I knew at some point he was going to drop off and I played a bit smarter in the last couple of games," said Elias.

"We're very close friends and I noticed today that he was a lot more aggressive from the first few rallies. I knew it was going to be a different time to the matches where I won in ToC and Pittsburgh more comfortably. We're not friends on the court, it's a different story, so it's great to play a match like this."

Elias's opponent will be world No.5 Paul Coll after the Kiwi came back from 2/1 down to defeat world No.7 Mazen Hesham 9-11, 11-5, 8-11, 11-6, 11-7, extending his unbeaten run over the Egyptian to seven matches.

"I felt like I was getting myself into really good positions, but I was over hitting my length, under hitting my length, hitting the side wall and I kept giving him a good position when I was in a good position," Coll said.

"He's evolved his game beautifully, he's more patient and his length is underrated, he's got that hold, he pushes you back and then he stabs in a drop. He's lengthening the court out a bit better and being more patient. He's maturing as a squash player with the weapons he's got and it makes him a more dangerous opponent."