United States No.3 Sabrina Sobhy booked her spot in round two of the Windy City Open presented by the Walter Family for the first time in her career after she overcame Egyptian teenager Nada Abbas in a captivating five-game contest.
The match was played at a ferocious pace, with both players looking to attack whenever the opportunity presented itself. Sobhy didn’t start well as Abbas dominated the play in the opening game, dropping just four points to take a one-game advantage.
But Sobhy grew into the match in the second as the crowd got behind her and she edged it 14-12 after both players had wasted game balls. The third game followed along a same vein as the American closed it out on the tie-break once more, but she dipped in the fourth as Abbas came back to level.
Some early errors from Sobhy’s racket gave Abbas an early lead in the decider, but the crowd ramped up the volume once more to give the World No.30 the support she needed, with Sobhy coming out on top to win 4-11, 14-12, 12-10, 8-11, 11-8 in 50 minutes.
She joins older sister Amanda and compatriot Olivia Blatchford Clyne in round two, which will feature three Americans for the first time.
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“I feel pretty good, Nada’s an incredibly disciplined, hard worker and she’s always putting me under pressure with her fast pace, which I struggled a lot with on the glass,” Sobhy said.
“I was happy I was able to defend a little bit and get settled with her pace.
“I wasn’t expecting this support at all, but I guess that’s one of the perks of being on the glass. You get fans from all over, which is really rewarding.”
Sobhy has been in hot form in recent months, winning three PSA Tour titles and being crowned women’s PSA Player of the Month on two occasions.
The 23-year-old Harvard-graduate has based herself in Cairo, Egypt since the latter stages of 2019 and opened up on the thought process behind that decision.
“It’s a complete 180 from what I’m used to,” she said.
“It’s 100 per cent all squash and I think I needed that as a big motivator. There are no distractions, it’s just squash, and you’ve got to be really focused with it. I clearly needed it to get going in my squash career as I was pretty lenient in the past couple of years with it, I think.”
Sabrina Sobhy (USA) bt Nada Abbas (EGY) 3-2: 4-11, 14-12, 12-10, 8-11, 11-8 (50m)