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Photography by mroslanhisam.com

WWC Update: Sobhy Overcomes El Tayeb in Thriller

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United States No.1 Amanda Sobhy swept into the quarter-final of a World Championship for the first time in her career after fending off Egypt’s Nour El Tayeb in a superb match in round two of the Naza PSA World Championship in Bukit Jalil, Malaysia.

El Tayeb struggled with her movement in the first game as Sobhy failed to drop a single point and the World No.8 brushed off an improved El Tayeb in the second. The momentum shifted dramatically though as El Tayeb finally moved up the gears to establish herself on the fixture and she came storming back to level proceedings and send the match into a dramatic fifth game.

The duo played out a myriad of high-octane rallies in the fifth, with the most brutal, a 30 shot plus exchange, sent Sobhy 9-6 up at a crucial time in the match. From there, Sobhy moved on to close out an 11-0, 11-7, 4-11, 7-11, 12-10 victory and set up a meeting with either Joelle King or Raneem El Welily in the next stage.

“It was such a strong start but I kind of knew that she would be slow in the beginning because this her first tournament back and this is a big match for her,” said Sobhy.

“I tried to play at a fast pace, one that she’s not really used to, and it caught her off guard in the second game. I knew that she would get stronger and stronger and adapt in each game and that she would start to put her shots together, which she did in the fourth. I dropped the pace off a little bit, so she got comfortable, and it was neck and neck all the way to the end.

“That rally [that sent Sobhy 9-6 up in the fifth] was a monster rally and 9-6 is totally different to 8-7. Whoever won that rally got a lot of rally and confidence and, even though I got up to 10-8 and she caught me back, I was very happy to pull it off.”

The charismatic American won the opener 11-0 after El Tayeb, who was playing only her second match after returning from a six-month shoulder injury lay off, struggled with her movement and looked laboured throughout a quick-fire first game.

El Tayeb looked a lot looser in the second and ramped up the pressure, with the two players trading high-quality blows. After a closely-contested beginning to the game, Sobhy pulled away to go 2-0 up but was blown away by a resurgent El Tayeb in the third. The World No.12 began to find her length and her ferocious driving, coupled with her intelligent shot selection and shot management, saw her storm into a 7-1 lead.

Sobhy pulled a few points back towards the latter stages but a tinned attempt at a back hand volley drop handed El Tayeb the game and a way back into the encounter and the Egyptian took the fourth to send the match into a deciding fifth game, which Sobhy won to bring an end to a nail-biting contest.

Result – Second Round: Naza PSA Women’s World Championship
[7] Amanda Sobhy (USA) bt Nour El Tayeb (EGY) 3-2: 11-0, 11-7, 4-11, 7-11, 12-10 (51m)

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