America’s triple-PanAm Games Gold medal winning hero Amanda Sobhy pulled off the biggest win of her career, and arguably one of the most significant triumphs in the history of US Squash, as she eliminated defending champion and World No.2 Raneem El Welily in the second round of the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions – the prestigious PSA World Series tournament currently taking place in New York.
In the stunning setting of Grand Central Terminal’s Vanderbilt Hall the recent Harvard graduate, who only transitioned to life as a full time pro last summer after completing a degree in Social Anthropology, played with devastating attacking precision as she reeled off winner after winner to complete the 3-1 victory after 40 minutes to send the capacity crowd into raptures.
“I’m a little shocked to be honest because the last three times we’ve played it has not gone well for me at all and to get the win today was way above what I expected,” said Sobhy.
“I knew I had nothing to lose against her and I couldn’t have done any worse than the last time we played in Hing Kong (when Sobhy lost 3-0 in 22 minutes) so I just went out here and tried to stick to the game plan. I had to go out of my comfort zone and mix up the pace to get her on the back foot and I’m very, very pleased that it paid off.
“It’s definitely one of, if not the single, biggest wins of my career. She’s a phenomenal player, she won here last year and she been World No.1 but I felt relaxed and knew I had my coach, my friends and the crowd behind me so I was excited to go in there and do my best.”
El Welily, who held the World No.1 mantle from September to December, was a hot favourite to retain the title she won in convincing fashion twelve months ago but it was Sobhy, playing without fear, who wrote her name into TOC folklore.
After taking the opening game 11-5 She pressed onto the front foot throughout the encounter, and despite dropping the second, looked every bit the genuine title contender her current career high ranking of No.8 suggests.
“I was nervous when we played last year, which was the only time I took a game off her, but I wasn’t nervous tonight,” added the 22-year-old New Yorker, who currently trains in Boston under the guidance of former Men’s World No.1 and World Champion Thierry Lincou.
“Thierry has made a huge difference to my game. I started working with him when I was a junior and his experience and knowledge has been amazing and both he and my other coach, Shahid Zaman, have really helped me much on.
“Hopefully I can back it up now in the quarters on Tuesday.”
 Amanda Sobhy (USA) bt  Raneem El Welily (EGY) 3-1: 11-5, 6-11, 11-5, 11-6 (41m)