Sobhy and Farag Claim 2021 Oracle NetSuite Open Titles
Amanda Sobhy and Egypt’s Ali Farag have won the Oracle NetSuite Open titles, claiming victories at the PSA World Tour Gold event after beating Egypt’s Salma Hany and New Zealand’s Paul Coll at Embarcadero Plaza in San Francisco.
Sobhy came flying out of the traps, as the crowd buoyed her on. Her line hitting was sublime from the off, and that helped her take the first game 11-7. The US No.1 continued that form into the second, and although Hany threatened a run through the middle of the game, it was Sobhy that went two games to the good.
The third was a foregone conclusion in the end, as ‘Southpaw’ ran out into an 8-2 lead in quick-fire fashion. She rounded out the game with a lovely backhand drive down the line, to claim the biggest title of her career so far, and her second Oracle NetSuite Open, after her win in San Francisco in 2015.
“There is literally steam coming off of my forehead. I am speechless, honestly,” Sobhy said. “I haven’t won a major title before and if I cry, it has been an emotional week! It has been a long year, I am a bit frazzled so for me to win is extra special. Those close to me knew the state I was in last week so I have to thank my support system this past week. I have to really thank Charlie Johnson, who has been my on-site support system this week.
“I was a little bit edgy, I tried not to think it was a final. We were both vying for our first major title, and so the nerves came. I felt a bit tense, but I tried to be as aggressive as possible. We had one massive rally in the third and I definitely felt that after a week of short matches! I am very pleased to have won in three!”
The pair had faced each other 16 times on the PSA World Tour, with Coll having won just two of those, but his most recent victory over the Egyptian came in the Allam British Open final, where he claimed the biggest title of his career.
He started strongly in the first game, and came through to take it after winning the last three points for an 11-9 scoreline. He then saved two game balls in the second, before Farag was able to regroup and win it 12-10 to level the match at one game apiece.
From there, the World No.1 was able to keep Coll at arms reach, winning the next two games 11-8, 11-8, to secure his second victory in San Francisco, following his win in the city in 2018. He now has three titles in the last three months, after wins at the PSA World Championships 2020-2021, and the CIB Egyptian Open 2021.
“I prefer the best-of-five for sure, it suits my game and I think Paul would agree with that. We both like to wear our opponents out. We are not the flashiest of players who go for attacking shots, but I think we both did pretty well this week to adapt,” Farag said.
“As I always say, we always talk about his physicality, but his squash, his technical prowess and his technical ability, they are improving day by day, and they really are underrated. I am really proud to be a part of these matches and I am looking forward to a lot more in the future together.”
Semi-Finals : Coll takes out top seed ElShorbagy
Coll had claimed only his second ever win over the ‘Beast from Alexandria’ earlier this year at the Allam British Open, en route to his first major title, but he was able to secure win number three against the Egyptian in San Francisco on Sunday evening.
“I’m extremely proud. I have a lot of respect for Mohamed. He has given me so many beatings. I try to learn lot from him, he is a class player so I am very happy to get that win,” Coll said. “Extremely tough conditions, you have to pay so much attention too every shot and put a lot of effort into getting down into the corners, getting under the ball. A lot of mental effort and super happy!”
Second seed Ali Farag came up against compatriot Mostafa Asal in the semi-finals , with the World No.1 having won seven of their eight previous matches on Tour. This one eventually went the same way, but it was not without its challenges for the reigning World Champion. After securing the first game, he saw Asal fight back to take the second and send the contest in to a decider. Farag started strongly in the third, winning seven straight points, before the match ended with Asal retiring, after injuring his shoulder whilst diving in an attempt to get the ball.
“It’s terrible, I hate to see such a thing, especially if I am on court with him. I hope it is just a spasm which will go away the next day because Mostafa is such a brilliant player for the tour. We leave it all out there on court, the very last rally shows it all really, and I really hope it is nothing serious.”
US No.1 and home favourite Amanda Sobhy continued her incredible form in this tournament to book her place in the women’s final, as she won a third straight match inside 20 minutes on the glass court at Embarcadero Plaza. England’s Sarah-Jane Perry had no answer in the early stages of both games, and that put pay to her chances, as Sobhy rode the home crowd to the finish line, sealing the deal in just 19 minutes.
“I am feeling good, feeling fresh. It is not easy, but I just told myself to come out as fast as I could out of the blocks and to not let up. If I win, and it’s a short game then I would still have the reserves if it went to three. That first game was crucial so I tried to go as fast as I could, and thankfully it paid off,” Sobhy said.
The American will face eights seed Salma Hany in the final, after she secured another upset, a day after taking out the tournament’s top seed Nouran Gohar. Hany was in control throughout her contest with New Zealand’s Joelle King, needing just 23 minutes to move through to the biggest final of her career so far.
“It feels really amazing. Just getting out here and playing on this court, and in front of this crowd is a real pleasure. I just kept telling myself to just think about this special moment, enjoy my game, enjoying this venue and this city. As I told you yesterday, I don’t want to go home, so I am glad I made it to the final,” she said.
Quarter-Finals : Hany Takes Out Top Seed Gohar
“I’m pretty happy. When I stepped on court today all I was thinking is that I don’t want to go home too soon from this tournament,” Hany said.
The Egyptian will now face New Zealand’s Joelle King in the semi-finals, after the Kiwi got the better of Egypt’s Hania El Hammamy in straight games to make it into the last four of a tournament for the third time in 2021.
“It was one of those matches where I wasn’t really listening to what the score was,” King said. “I have been up in the last few matches I have been up against her and she’s come back and beaten me, so I just didn’t let up at all and I felt really good.”
US No.1 Amanda Sobhy and English No.1 Sarah-Jane Perry will meet in the other women’s semi-final on Sunday evening, after they came through their matches against Wales’ Tesni Evans and India’s Joshna Chinappa in straight games.
“It is a really difficult feeling to play again so much intense squash after our match at the World Tour Finals. I was down at the British Open and CIB Egyptian Open, some difficult times. So to be able to compete in an amazing city and in front of an amazing crowd. It’s packed today!” Asal said.
“I always love getting on court with someone who gives maximum effort. He is the prime example of 110% effort. The more respectable thing was that that point got me to 7-7. He was doing a lot of work and he then won the next two points. Any other player would probably have folded at that point and I thought I had the confidence, but it is a testament to his work ethic. He got a standing ovation from the crowd and rightly so!” Farag said.
Top seed Mohamed ElShorbagy and New Zealand’s Paul Coll will meet in the second men’s semi-final, after they defeated Egypt’s Karim Abdel Gawad and Marwan ElShorbagy.
Day Two : Farag leads to seeds into the quarters
Egypt’s Ali Farag is through to the quarter-finals – along with the top eight seeds in both draws – after getting the better of compatriot Omar Mosaad in straight games on the glass court at the PSA World Tour Gold event.
“It is not only affection, but I have idolised Omar since a young age. We grew up playing for the same club and he was World No.3 when I first started on Tour. He was giving me lots of advice and he still is! We share the fitness trainer so we train with each other a lot and I have nothing but maximum respect for him and a lot of affection as well!” Farag said.
“My goal is obviously to try and win it but there a lot of great names in the draw. Every top player is playing it and it is no coincidence because John Nimick knows how to put on a great event. All of us wait to come back to this beautiful city of San Francisco, with this great set-up, this amazing crowd and this court!”
Farag will now face Joel Makin in the quarter-finals, after the Welshman got the better of Indian No.1 Saurav Ghosal earlier on in Friday’s action. Elsewhere, Tarek Momen got the better of USA’s Spencer Lovejoy in a quick-fire contest, while Mostafa Asal beat compatriot Mazen Hesham to make the last eight.
In the women’s draw, US No.1 Amanda Sobhy needed just nine minutes to book her place in the quarter-finals as she blew Nadine Shahin away on the glass court at Embarcadero Plaza, and she will now face Wales’ Tesni Evans.
Two-time champion Sarah-Jane Perry and India’s Joshna Chinappa complete the quarter-final lineup.
Day ONE : ElShorbagy survives Abouelghar test
Top seed Mohamed ElShorbagy had to come from behind in his opening match of the Oracle NetSuite Open, battling back to defeat compatriot Mohamed Abouelghar on the opening day at Embarcadero Plaza in San Francisco.
“I think the most relaxed out of the three of us today was the referee, so I have to thank him for staying relaxed. He had two tense, dramatic squash players arguing all the time! But having Abouelghar in the first round is very tricky.”
“Best of three is a totally different story. For me, it’s almost a different sport, sometimes you’re up 2-0, sometimes you’re 2-0 down and things can turn around. I was a bit worried at the beginning of the match, I didn’t want to lose in the first round and Miguel is a very dangerous player.”
Nouran Gohar, the top seed in the women’s draw, got her debut campaign in San Francisco off to the perfect start, defeating Canada’s Hollie Naughton for the second straight event.
“It has been five years now, but because of university I have missed it every time so I am glad this year. Actually, I had my graduation today but I was not going to miss coming to San Francisco this year!”
She will now face compatriot Salma Hany in the last eight, while New Zealand’s Joelle King and Egypt’s Hania El Hammamy will face off in the quarter-finals after they defeated USA’s Sabrina Sobhy and Olivia Clyne.
Preview : ElShorbagy and Gohar Headline Oracle NetSuite San Fan Open Draws
The draws for the Oracle NetSuite Open, PSA World Tour Gold tournament have been released with the event set to bring world-class squash back to San Francisco’s Embarcadero Plaza between 23rd and 27th September.
Four previous winners of the event will be present this year, with Amanda Sobhy, Sarah-Jane Perry, Ali Farag and defending men’s champion Mohamed ElShorbagy all in action as the tournament returns to the PSA World Tour calendar cancellation of the 2020 event due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
This year’s event will see all 30 matches played on the Squash Engine Court on Embarcadero Plaza in the shadow of the iconic San Francisco Ferry Building. A best-of-three games format will be used once again at the event up to and including the semi-finals, with both title deciders reverting to best of five.
World No.2 Nouran Gohar heads the women’s draw as she makes her Oracle NetSuite Open debut and she begins her campaign against Canadian No.1 Hollie Naughton.
Following recent mandates from the San Francisco Department of Public Health and to ensure the safest possible experience for fans, supporters, players and the city of San Francisco, the 2021 Oracle NetSuite Open will require proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test taken within 48 hours of admission for all attendees 12 or older.
Oracle Netsuite San Francisco Open History
|2011||LJ Anjema (Ned)||Omar Mosaad (Egy)||7-11 7-11 11-8 11-5 14-12|
|2012||Gregory Gaultier (Fra)||Nick Matthew (Eng)||11-7 13-11 11-9|
|2013||Ramy Ashour (Egy)||Gregory Gaultier (Egy)||11-4 7-11 7-11 11-3 11-3|
|2014||Gregory Gaultier (Fra)||Amr Shabana (Egy)||11-3 11-5 11-5|
|2015||Ramy Ashour (Egy)||Nick Matthew (Eng)||11-7 9-11 11-5 11-4|
|2015||Amanda Sobhy (Usa)||Sarah-Jane Perry (Eng)||11-5 4-11 11-5 12-10|
|2016||Gregory Gaultier (Fra)||James Willstrop (Eng)||11-9 11-2 14-12|
|2016||Laura Massaro (Eng)||Amanda Sobhy (Usa)||11-4 9-11 11-8 11-7|
|2017||Mohamed ElShorbagy (Egy)||Karim Abdel Gawad (Egy)||11-9 11-6 11-3|
|2017||Sarah-Jane Perry (Eng)||Nicol David (Mas)||8-11 8-11 11-7 14-12 11-7|
|2018||Ali Farag (Egy)||Mohamed ElShorbagy (Egy)||11–9 13–11 4–11 11–9|
|2018||Sarah-Jane Perry (Eng)||Raneem El Welily (Egy)||11–9 11–7 9–11 7–11 11–7|
|2019||Mohamed ElShorbagy (Egy)||Tarek Momen (Egy)||11–5 11–13 11–9 7–11 11–4|
|2019||Raneem El Welily (Egy)||Nour El Tayeb (Egy)||11–5 11–5 11–5|