USA’s World No.4 Amanda Sobhy got the better of Egypt’s World No.7 Salma Hany, coming back from a game down to win in five, sending the home crowd into raptures as she advanced to the finals of the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions finals under the iconic chandeliers of Grand Central Terminal in New York City.
Sobhy had won all six of her previous meetings on the PSA World Tour with the Egyptian, and was aiming to continue that 100% record here. In a competitive first game, the momentum shifted several times with both players hitting quality lines to the back of the court and hitting clinical winners to the front. Hany saved two game balls at 10-9 and 11-10 on her way to securing the opening game 13-11 and shock the home crowd.
Despite taking the second game in convincing fashion, Sobhy found herself trailing at 2-1 after an extremely tight third game went the way of the Egyptian. Similar to the first game, the scoreline remained neck and neck throughout as the game reached a tiebreak yet again. In a topsy turvy end of the game, Hany’s drops from the back of the court were both her downfall and saviour. After a couple of errors, she then hit two winners to take the third 15-13 and hold the 2-1 advantage in the contest.
Sobhy regrouped however and with the help of the New York crowd completely dominated Hany in the fourth game, so much so that the Egyptian couldn’t even register a point. Sobhy delivered the ‘bagel’ to win 11-0 and set up a decider. She then got ahead early in the fifth and final game by moving onto Hany’s attacks quickly and running a straight drop in tight to the wall. As well as this was working, Hany found an alternative approach and started to fire the ball deep and straight with plenty of pace to drag Sobhy into the back corners. Sobhy earned the first match ball of the contest and took the match at the first time of asking on a stroke decision.
“I don’t know what happened in this match, I’m kind of just blanked right now,” said Sobhy.
“It was nip and tuck the whole way through, apart from the fourth, I wish every game was like the fourth. But I’m just so happy that the last call was a stroke, we finally know the referee rules, and that stayed a stroke because that was anybody’s game and I’m just so relieved to be through and in the finals tomorrow.
“I think she does really well when the momentum is broken up, every time she went to the towel she won the next point, I’m not sued to opponents taking injury breaks so I just tie to keep my composure and stay pumped up and keep the momentum going but she came back really strong, I told myself to chase every ball and if you’re going to go out then go out on your terms and just relax and play.
“I’m just going to go and rest and recover and talk to my coach about a game plan for tomorrow and I played her in the British and got smoked pretty badly so I don’t think I could do much worse but I’m just looking forward to redeeming myself and playing in front of a packed house.”
Sobhy will play the tournament’s top seed, and World No.1, Nouran Gohar, in the final of the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions, after the Egyptian defeated another home favourite, in Olivia Fiechter, in a four-game battle, holding off a comeback from the American to advance.
In the men’s semi-finals, Peru’s World No.5 Diego Elias had to dig deep and give it everything he had to come from behind in his match with India’s World No.17 Saurav Ghosal, fighting back from a game down to win in five, after 70 minutes of high-octane action.
Diego Elias celebrates after his win over Saurav Ghosal
This was the pair’s fifth meeting on Tour, but their first since 2018, and it was the ‘Peruvian Puma’, who claimed his first major title back in October at the Qatar QTerminals Classic, who started strongly, blowing the Indian away in the first game, taking it 11-3.
However, Ghosal then fought back, with some incredible play, moving Elias around the court in both the second and third games, as he turned the match on its head to lead 2-1. That momentum did not continue, though, with the World No.5 winning the first five points of the fourth game, and he went on to take it to send the match into a decider.
Unfortunately for the 35-year-old Indian, he was unable to live with the pace that Elias brought in the fifth and final game, with the Peruvian eventually taking the victory in the contest after 70 minutes of high-octane action. He will now face Ali Farag in tomorrow’s final.
“Saurav is playing amazing this week, I think he was struggling with an injury a couple of months ago, but now he is back at his best, he is always tough to play and I am just very happy to be through,” the Peruvian said.
“It was very tough physically. Every time you play Saurav, he is very fit and it is always long rallies. I am just happy I could keep running and keep pushing, and I am just happy to be in the final.
“I watched a little bit [of Ali Farag’s win over Mazen Hesham]. He is looking great, we always play great matches, so I need to recover and get ready for tomorrow!”
The finals of the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions will take place at Grand Central Terminal on Saturday evening, with action getting underway at 19:00 (GMT-4). All the action from both finals will be shown live on SQUASHTV and broadcasters around the world.
Men’s Semi-Final Results: J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions
 Ali Farag (EGY) bt  Mazen Hesham (EGY) 3-0: 11-5, 11-4, 11-4 (28m)
 Diego Elias (PER) bt  Saurav Ghosal (IND) 3-2: 11-3, 9-11, 6-11, 11-5, 11-3 (70m)
Men’s Final Draw: To Be Played Saturday, May 7
 Ali Farag (EGY) v  Diego Elias (PER)
Women’s Semi-Final Results: J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions
 Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt  Olivia Fiechter (USA) 3-1: 11-6, 11-6, 7-11, 11-5 (51m)
 Amanda Sobhy (USA) bt  Salma Hany (EGY) 3-2: 11-13, 11-6, 13-15, 11-0, 11-9 (66m)
Women’s Final Draw: To Be Played Saturday, May 7
 Nouran Gohar (EGY) v  Amanda Sobhy (USA)