Skip to content

Amanda Sobhy celebrates at the 2016 Tournament of Champions

Throwback Thursday: Sobhy Stuns El Welily at 2016 Tournament of Champions

The J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions takes place between January 18-25 as the world’s leading players descend on New York’s iconic Grand Central Terminal for the prestigious event.

The tournament offers another chance for players on the Men’s and Women’s Tour to earn points for the World Series Standings as they aim for a top eight finish – which will guarantee their place at June’s PSA World Series Finals.

Amongst the players taking part will be United States Amanda Sobhy as she makes her long awaited return to the court following her injury at the Ciudad de Floridablanca tournament last March, where she tore her achilles.

Here we take a look back at the 2016 instalment, where Sobhy pulled off one of the biggest wins of her career.

Number 10 seed Sobhy faced a tough draw as she came up against Egypt’s World No.2 and tournament top seed Raneem El Welily in just the second round of the World Series tournament.

Defending champion El Welily was one of the hot favourites going into the tournament after she beat England’s Alison Waters to be crowned winner of the tournament the year before.

However, the Egyptian was unable to halt crowd favourite Sobhy as she was in top form to eliminate the defending champion.

In the stunning setting of Grand Central Terminal’s Vanderbilt Hall, the Harvard-graduate – who had only transitioned to life as a full-time professional player the summer before – played with devastating attacking precision as she reeled off winner after winner to complete the 3-1 victory in 40 minutes, much to the delight of the capacity home crowd.

Sobhy played without fear to write her name into ToC folklore, taking the first game by an 11-5 margin before El Welily battled back to take the second.

However, the Harvard graduate pressed on and remained on the front foot throughout the rest of the encounter to claim the win and secure a berth in the quarter-finals.

“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 following her big win.

“I knew I had nothing to lose against her and I couldn’t have done any worse than the last time we played in Hong Kong (when Sobhy lost 3-0 in 22 minutes) so I just went out 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 win of my career. She’s a phenomenal player, she won here last year and she has 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 there and do my best.”

The then-World No.8 then went on to face England’s Waters in the next round of the tournament, who she comfortably saw off in straight games to become the first American-born woman to reach the last four of the prestigious tournament.

Sobhy faced Egypt’s Nouran Gohar in the semi-finals – who had recorded a big win over then-World No.1 Laura Massaro in the previous round – however, she was no match for Sobhy who once again advanced in straight games to reach her maiden World Series Final, where Nour El Sherbini waited.

However, the Egyptian proved too much for her in the final as she came through 3-1 to lift her first ever World Series title, which proved to be the catalyst as she went on to establish herself as the world’s leading female player.

Result:
[10] Amanda Sobhy (USA) bt [1] Raneem El Welily (EGY) 3-1: 11-5, 6-11, 11-5, 11-6 (41m)

Join SQUASHTV and get closer to the PSA World Tour