France’s World No.3 Camille Serme manoeuvred her way past a tricky opponent in the form of USA’s World No.29 Sabrina Sobhy in the opening round of the Manchester Open, PSA Silver tournament.
Serme, who is top seed in the women’s draw, has faced Sobhy three times previously, taking all those victories by a 3-0 margin. However, Sobhy produced a good account of herself today making life difficult for the Frenchwoman in the first PSA World Tour event since the six-month COVID-19 enforced suspension.
World No.3 Serme created a fast pace from the outset with Sobhy struggling to make a dent in the Frenchwoman’s momentum at first. However, the American grew into the match and stepped up her level in the second to take a higher ‘T’ position and cause problems to draw level and take her first game off Serme.
31-year-old Serme cut out the errors in the third and fourth as she put the pressure on Sobhy and got her rewards to close out an 11-5, 8-11, 11-6, 11-6 victory in 43 minutes.
She will face either wildcard Lily Taylor or Belgium’s Nele Gilis in the next round.
“I knew it was going to be a tricky match, so I’m very happy to be through,” said Serme afterwards.
“There’s many challenges. First of all, it’s a different glass court, compared to the one we train on in Paris, few funny bounces, but I guess it’s the same for both of us. It’s really hot as well, so it’s tough to not be able to wipe our hands. The biggest challenge was to find the targets in the back of the court and I think that was the key in the match.
“I’m nothing thinking about it [being the top seed], I’m more excited to play again, as everyone said it’s special conditions, but I talked a lot about it with my mental coach to be ready to play this tournament and I’m not really thinking about being seed No.1. I’m just happy to be back and battling again at a PSA tournament.
“The whole lockdown has had an impact on everybody, but we don’t really see it until now. All players are happy to be back on tour and many people have been telling us that they’re happy to watch us on SquashTV again.”
 Camille Serme (FRA) bt Sabrina Sobhy (USA) 3-1: 11-5, 8-11, 11-6, 11-6 (43m)