Sobhy and ElShorbagy claim third San Fran titles
USA’s Amanda Sobhy and England’s Mohamed ElShorbagy have both claimed their third Oracle NetSuite Open titles in San Francisco after beating Egyptian duo Farida Mohamed and Marwan ElShorbagy in tough four games battles.
The women’s final opened the play as top seed Amanda Sobhy took on surprise finalist Farida Mohamed to defend her title in front of a packed crowd at Pier 70. The pair had met twice previously on the PSA World Tour with the American taking both encounters 3-0, and Sobhy took control of the opening game to lead 8-5. Mohamed found her way back into the game and fired off several winners to storm into the lead as she took the opening game 11-9.
Sobhy started to dominate proceedings once more, taking the next two games 11-3, 11-5 and the top seed’s momentum continued as she sealed the fourth game 11-7 to successfully defend her title and claim her third Oracle NetSuite Open win.
“I’m relieved, I’m happy, I’m ready to take a 12-hour sleep. But you know, I’m just over the moon to win three times. San Fran is my lucky place, I love this tournament, I love you guys. I love playing in front of a home crowd. This tournament has always been good to me, I’ve been coming here since 2015. Even though it’s a lot of travelling it’s really fun to perform in front of you guys and the atmosphere is incredible. I only get to come here to San Francisco once a year and to win a third title is amazing.”
The men’s final saw brothers Mohamed and Marwan ElShorbagy go head to head for the Silver event title. The brothers have previously played 19 times on the PSA tour with Mohamed holding a 14-5 lead over his younger brother, the most notable win coming in the 2017 PSA World Championships final in Manchester.
Marwan started the better of the two, taking the opening game 11-6 but Mohamed, who has already captured a Platinum event title this season, stormed back to take the next three games 11-9,1 1-2 and 11-8 to score his third Netsuite Open title and second title of the new season.
“I think we both give something very special to the sport,” said Mohamed after his win. “It’s very unique to have two brothers playing against each other. I think everyone loves watching us battle it out on court, I’m not sure that we both love it too much but I think we made our parents proud today. We played a high-quality match.
“My brother didn’t play well last season and to see him playing well again this season and to see hi playing that well again means a lot to me. I’m very thankful to his team and Rodney Martin for getting him back to this and for giving him another life. It’s only the start of the season but he’s already made two finals and I’m sure we will see him in more this season.”
PSA World Tour attention now turns to the prestigious US Open, taking place at The Arlen Specter Center in Philadelphia from October 8th – 15th. The PSA World Tour Platinum event will feature the world’s best players as they battle it out for the title.
Semis : Marwan downs top seed Diego to join Mo in final, Farida to meet Sobhy in women’s final
Egypt’s Marwan ElShorbagy produced a terrific performance to down top seed Diego Elias to reach the final of the Oracle NetSuite Open where he will meet his brother Mohamed for the Silver event title.
ElShorbagy and Elias opened the action on day four at Pier 70 in San Francisco, both looking to reach their first final of the new season. ElShorbagy got off to the perfect start, catching Elias off guard to race out to a 7-1 lead. The Peruvian battled back however and hit a superb backhand cross-court nick to draw level at 9-9. Two errors followed from the racket of the No.1 seed to hand ElShorbagy a 1-0 lead.
Despite Elias equalising by winning the second game 11-7, ElShorbagy maintained his concentration and continued to test the movement of ‘The Puma’ by moving him into all four corners with intelligent squash. No.4 seed, Elias, was becoming distracted by referring decisions and subsequent errors flowed from the Peruvian to hand ElShorbagy the win and a spot in his second final of the season.
“I had a good lead in the first game and Diego came back at me, even in the second game I thought that if I could have just got ahead I could have won it. But I’m happy with the way I refocused after he came back in the third game and happy that I got the match. He’s a very experienced player and I’m glad to get the win this time.
“Since the beginning of the season, I’ve been feeling like I’ve been hitting the ball pretty well and I’m happy with the way I’ve been moving and I’m backing up matches well. I haven’t been getting the results I think I’m worthy of but I’ve been speaking to Rod [Martin] and he assures me that the wins are coming, I just need to stay patient.
“I haven’t played my brother in a long time, as much as I hate playing him I would love to have a match with him in the final and I know we haven’t played in a while so I would love to be on court with him once again.”
Marwan’s opponent in the final will be his older brother and second seed Mohamed ElShorbagy, who overcame Egypt’s Mazen Hesham in a tight two games to also secure a second final appearance of the season.
Mohamed started the match in superb style, pinning the talented Hesham deep in the back corners, giving him no opportunity to showcase his skills. ElShorbagy secured the first game 11-8 then lead 6-1 in the second game. A fall in concentration from ‘The Beast’ allowed Hesham back into the match and he took full advantage. El Shorbagy recovered in the final game and returned to his accurate hitting to win 11-5 and reach the final.
In the women’s draw, Egypt’s Farida Mohamed closed out semi-final day with an impressive win over New Zealand’s Joelle King to reach the biggest final of her career. The World No.18 had beaten King previously and showed her confidence in the opening game, hitting hard to the back corners to set up attacking opportunities.
King showed her class after losing the first game and started to dominate proceedings on the glass court in San Francisco. The New Zealand No.1 stepped up the court and looked to volley at any opportunity to take the game and force a decider. King continued her form and ran out to a 5-1 lead, looking sure to book her place in the final. Mohamed had other ideas however and started to fire off winners to take the next eight points to lead 9-5. She closed out the final game 11-9 to reach the biggest final of her career.
“I knew it would be very tough. It felt like a best of five match,” said Mohamed. “I’m very happy to be through, it meant a lot to me to win this one. The first game was comfortable but Joelle is very smart and she completely outplayed me in the second game and she came back at me in the third and I started to panic but I’m very glad I could close it out”
“Amanda has been playing amazing, it’s fun to play against her. I have only played her twice and I’m looking forward to the match. It’s one last push tomorrow and I can’t wait to leave everything on the court.”
Mohamed’s opponent in the Oracle NetSuite Open final will be defending champion and top seed Amanda Sobhy, who defeated fellow North American Hollie Naughton in straight games to keep her title defence alive.
Sobhy didn’t have it all her own way in the match and was tested by Naughton’s changes of pace and deception on several occasions. The USA No.1 used her superior accuracy and shot-making skills to close out both games 11-9, however, to win in just 22 minutes.
Action from the Oracle NetSuite Open finals will be played on the all-glass court at Pier 70, San Francisco starting at 18:30 (GMT-7) and will be shown live on SQUASHTV and selected broadcast partners.
Quarters : Sobhy leads top seeds through to the semis
USA’s Amanda Sobhy was one of eight top seeds who progressed through to the Oracle NetSuite Open semi-finals on day three in San Francisco as she defeated surprise quarter finalist Chan Sin Yuk in a difficult two-game encounter.
The women’s top seed took a comfortable opening game 11-5 after finding her length early in the game and pinning Chan deep in the back corners to give her no opportunity to attack. The Hong Kong No.2 was on a 10-match unbeaten streak on the PSA Tour and found that form in the following game to trouble Sobhy in the front corners. Chan’s fearless approach in the second game earned her two game balls to equalise but Sobhy’s experience came through to take the match and reach the semis to keep her title defence alive.
“I just tried to play my strong, basic game and I knew that she was deadly from the middle and so if I could get my length and put her under a fast pace then hopefully that would do the trick. But she hung in really well and she’s definitely one to look out for.
“She kind of reminds me of myself when I was younger. I think our styles are quite similar, I was very attacking from the middle and we love to take it short and play attacking squash. She was gutsy and she really made me work for it so I respect the fact that she came out here and played fearlessly.”
Sobhy’s semi-final opponent will be Canada’s Hollie Naughton who produced a strong performance to overcome dangerous Egyptian Hana Ramadan. Naughton, who comes into this season full of confidence, after her Silver medal at the Commonwealth Games gave Ramadan no opportunity to attack in the match and used her superior accuracy to score a 2-0 win.
The other women’s semi-final match will be played between second and third seeds Joelle King and Farida Mohamed as they confidently beat USA’s Sabrina Sobhy and Scotland’s Lisa Aitken. King was the first player to reach the final four in today’s action and wasted no time in despatching the younger Sobhy sister, Sabrina in straight games. King dominated from the outset and looked sharp in every aspect to win 2-0.
Egypt’s Mohamed was just as clinical, as she made light work of Scottish No.1 Lisa Aitken to reach the semi-finals. Mohamed’s aggressive style of play has catapulted her up the PSA rankings in recent years and she shows no signs of slowing down. Mohamed constantly asked questions of Aitken in all areas of the court and needed just 19 minutes to secure the victory.
The match of the day coming from fourth seed Marwan ElShorbagy and former British Open Champion Miguel Rodriguez. The Colombian trailed for the majority of the opening game but managed to string several winners together at the back end of the game to take an important 1-0 lead in the final match of the evening.
ElShorbagy, who is renowned for his intelligent style of play, fought back however and used his court craft and accurate straight line hitting to restrict Rodriguez. The World No.9 started to put some serious work into the legs of the Colombian and even the outrageous acrobatic abilities of Rodriguez weren’t enough to deny the No.4 seed a place in the final four. ElShorbagy had this to say about his win and upcoming match.
“It was very tough. Miguel is a great player and has had a great start to the season, beating the World No.1 in Doha so I knew how tricky he was going to be. I thought in the first game I played quite fast which didn’t work out too well for me so I tried to straighten up which worked better as I felt more in control. I felt my hitting was good but it was mostly in the mind today, I’m glad I didn’t lose my focus from the second game and just glad I could get the win.
“We just played last week in Egypt and Diego [Elias] is a great player and one that I really enjoy watching and tomorrow in the best of three will be tough because in this format you always feel in survival mode. But I hope it will be a good one for the crowd.”
Top seed Diego Elias displayed his trademark casual style in his match with giant killer Aly Abou Eleinen to progress to the semi-finals. The Peruvian didn’t have it all his own way however and was pushed hard at times by the Egyptian who had nothing to lose in the encounter after beating two higher ranked players (Al Tamimi & Soliman) in the previous two rounds. But Elias was simply too good and won 2-0 in 24 minutes.
Earlier in the day England’s Mohamed ElShorbagy recorded an eleventh consecutive victory over India’s Saurav Ghosal to move into his fifth Oracle NetSuite Open semi-final. ‘The Beast’ lived up to his name throughout the entire match as his intensity and aggression reached new levels as he pulverised the ball to the back corners to dominate the middle of the court at all costs. Ghosal struggled to impose his accurate, delicate game on the match and lost both games 11-6 in 34 minutes.
Mazen Hesham will be ElShorbagy’s opponent in the semi-finals, after he came through a tricky encounter with USA No.1 Shahjahan Khan on the all-glass court at Pier 70 in San Francisco. Hesham’s erratic style of play was troubling the American at first with the lack of rhythm working in the Egyptian’s favour. After losing the first game, Khan came back fighting and with the help of the home crowd secured the second game to force an exciting decider.
The final game was neck and neck up until 7-7, but some uncharacteristic errors from Khan, partnered with two refereeing decisions not going his way gave Hesham the following four points to earn him a spot in his first NetSuite Open semi-final.
All of the semi-final action from the Oracle NetSuite Open will be played on the all-glass court at Pier 70, San Francisco starting at 17:30 (GMT-7) and will be shown live on SQUASHTV and other broadcast partners.
Day TWO : Sin Yuk and Eleinen gatecrash the quarters
Hong Kong’s Chan Sin Yuk and Egypt’s Aly Abou Eleinen scored the only upsets in round two of the Oracle NetSuite Open 2022 to gatecrash the PSA World Tour Silver event quarter finals, beating Olivia Clyne and Youssef Soliman.
World No.36 Chan Sin Yuk has been in impressive form heading into this week’s event, winning her previous two events in Australia in convincing fashion. After defeating wildcard Riya Navani in round one, Sin Yuk continued her fine form as she came up against USA’s Olivia Clyne for a place in the last eight. Sin Yuk wasted no time in taking the ball short as she dominated the middle of the court and forced Clyne into several tough movements in the front corners.
Clyne tried her best to get into the match but the accuracy of her younger opponent was simply too good. After just 15 minutes, the 20-year-old secured her place in the biggest quarter final of her career, winning 11-5, 11-7. She had this to say after her win:
“This is the first time I’ve made it through to a PSA Silver event quarter final so that’s really big for me and I’m really pleased with this result. I’ll play either Amanda [Sobhy] or Sana [Ibrahim] tomorrow but I always watched Amanda on SQUASHTV and I love watching her play so I’m hoping I get to play her.”
Sin Yuk’s hopes came true later in the evening as top seed Amanda Sobhy secured her place in the quarter finals after a confident 2-0 win over Egypt’s Sana Ibrahim. Earlier in the day, second seed Joelle King booked her place in the final four as she beat Hong Kong’s Tomato Ho in straight games to progress. King’s opponent will be USA’s Sabrina Sobhy, who overcame Egyptian Zeina Mickawy in a 20-minute 2-0 to move into her first Silver event quarter final.
The top four men’s seeds all advanced on the all-glass court at Pier 70 in San Francisco in different styles.Third seed Mazen Hesham was first to book his place in the last eight as he overcame India’s Ramit Tandon in a hard-fought three games with errors from Tandon at a crucial time in the third game heavily aiding the Egyptian. Both ElShorbagy brothers Mohamed and Marwan recorded business-like straight sets victories over Mahesh Mangaonkar and Cesar Salazar, whilst top seed Diego Elias was in sumptuous form as he cruised to victory over USA’s Faraz Khan.
The play was again spread across different venues in round two with matches taking place at the University Club, Olympic Club and Squash Zone Club in the afternoon. Egypt’s Aly Abou Eleinen scored an upset in round one beating Qatar’s Abdulla Al Tamimi and continued his run in the event by taking out compatriot and seventh seed Youssef Soliman in a mammoth three-set match at the Olympic Club to reach the quarter finals.
Eleinen took the first game, which have been described by players as crucial in the best of three format, by hitting his targets accurately to the back of the court to set up attacking opportunities. Soliman responded in the second to equalise and after a scrappy third game, it was Eleinen who kept his concentration best to close out a nail-biting third game 14-12.
“It feels amazing,” said Eleinen. “I had ten good days of training before this tournament to prepare and coming into a silver event, I didn’t feel any pressure, Its on the more experienced guys. I just wanted to enjoy my squash and give it my best.
“I’ve actually played both Al Tamimi and Soliman before and against Soliman, I lost a close 80-minute match and this time I just wanted to give it my best. Given the best of three, I had to warm up well to give myself the best chance. At 12-12 in the third game, I had to just try and stay tough and control the controllables. Being in the quarter finals of a Silver event is massive for me and regardless of who I play, just want to enjoy the moment and give it my all.”
Over at the University Club, Canada’s Hollie Naughton had to dig deep to overcome in form Malaysian Rachel Arnold to progress to the last eight, winning 11-9 in the third game. The pair had played twice before on the PSA World Tour with Arnold winning the most recent encounter back in February this year. Naughton was sharp from the outset and by mixing the pace, pinned Arnold in the back corners and attacked intelligently to take the opening game 11-4. Despite the Malaysian equalising, Naughton was able to maintain her focus and play the big points well to take the final game 11-9 and advance.
Just two matches took place at the Squash Zone Club in Redwood City, with both seeded players progressing to the next round. India’s Saurav Ghosal overcame England’s George Parker in a three-set encounter just shy of the hour mark, whilst Scotland’s Lisa Aitken needed all three games to defeat France’s Marie Stephan to advance to the quart finals.
All of the quarter final action from the Oracle NetSuite Open will be played on the all-glass court at Pier 70, starting again at 12:00 (GMT-7) and will be shown live on SQUASHTV.
Day One : Eleinen scores biggest Round One upset
The Oracle Netsuite Open got underway with World No.58 Aly Abou Eleinen scoring the biggest upset on day one as he defeated World No.30 Abdulla Al Tamimi in straight games to advance to round two of the PSA World Tour Silver event.
The Egyptian has risen 70 places in the PSA rankings from this time last year and now sits at World No.58. He displayed his excellent deception and touch from the outset against Qatar’s Tamimi at the Olympic Club in San Francisco, testing the movement of his higher ranked opponent every time he took the ball short. The Qatar No.1 was forced into making numerous errors by the smart and accurate play of Eleinen and after securing the crucial opening game 11-8, he repeated the scoreline in the second game to claim the victory.
“Coming in, I had a little bit of confidence because we just played at the QSF 4 event in Qatar and I was able to win in five games, but at the same time, he just had such an incredible run at the Qatar Classic, beating Paul Coll. I had to be patient and trust myself. In the past month, I’ve put in a lot of work for this tournament and I just had to trust my training. The best of three is a little bit tricky and the first game is so important to make sure to start well. In terms of preparation, I woke up early at 7:30 because I couldn’t sleep, so I had a good breakfast, I’m going to prepare and do my best, and it worked out.
“Soliman and I have only played once before in El Gouna, he won in four games and it was such a good match, we played good squash. There’s no pressure on me, he’s World No.11, I’m going to enjoy it and give it everything I can.”
Another ranking upset came earlier at the Olympic Club as England’s Nick Wall needed just 14 minutes to dispatch Pakistan’s Tayyab Aslam and book his place in round two. The Yorkshireman possesses great strength around the middle of the court and used this to full effect in only his fifth World Tour appearance. He now faces No.6 seed and PSA Tour veteran Miguel Rodriguez tomorrow for a place in the quarter finals.
The sole USA win of the day came from World No.53 and USA No.3 Faraz Khan, who overcame Hong Kong’s Henry Leung in a tight two games to advance to round two. Khan was able to use his speed to attack Leung and pounced on his loose attacks at the front to punish the Hong Kong No.1. He took the games 11-7, 11-8 in 36 minutes to set up a round two encounter with the tournament’s No.1 seed Diego Elias on the all-glass court.
Three different squash clubs hosted matches across round one with six women’s matches taking place at The University Club in the afternoon. England’s Lucy Beecroft scored the first upset at this venue, taking out France’s Enora Villard in three games. Beecroft started the match in great form, picking off her opponent with devastating attacks at the front of the court and after taking the first game 11-3, looked sure to be moving through in straight games. Despite dropping the following game 12-10, Beecroft shook of the nerves that the best of three format can create and returned to business, winning the final game 11-5 to advance.
“It was so nerve-racking,” admitted Beecroft after her win. “I won the first and felt great, then I had a lead in the second but tensed up and she started to get some points back and get into the match. But I’m just glad I calmed down in the third and managed to get control of the match back and got through.
“I just felt quite edgy. It felt like you had to really take any opportunity, It shouldn’t be any different as it’s just trying to win points, the same as any other match. But it just feels tenser on there with the best of three. Hopefully I can feel okay tomorrow against Farida [Mohamed], she’s a very attacking player. We’ve played before and she beat me 3-0 but who knows what will happen tomorrow and I can’t wait to get stuck in.”
Finland’s Emilia Soini was next to score an upset as she recorded a convincing win over Czech Republic’s Anna Serme to advance to the second round in San Francisco. With just three places between the two in the latest rankings, this was a big opportunity for both players to score a win and advance to the second round of a Silver event. Soini took this opportunity with both hands, using good height to constantly keep Serme on the back foot and stay in front. Soini seemed to grow in confidence with every point and after taking the first game 11-8, remained clinical to close the match out 11-4.
The third venue used in round one was the SquashZone Club in Redwood City which saw wins for seeds George Parker, Cesar Salazar and Chan Sin Yuk, who all won comfortably in straight games. The only upset came from new French National Champion Marie Stephan, who defeated Canada’s Nicole Bunyan 2-0 to book her place in a Silver event second round for only the second time in her career. Her reward is a last-16 clash with Scotland’s No.8 seed Lisa Aitken on the same court tomorrow.
Second round action from the Oracle NetSuite Open will be split across four different venues tomorrow as the glass court and top seeds enter the frame.