QF:  Amanda Sobhy (USA) 3-2  Nour El Sherbini (EGY) 7-11, 11-7, 4-11, 11-9, 11-9 (54m)
Another strange match with complete dominance in two games from a player that will lose in the end! I guess it’s a question of match fitness really for some players. How to keep focusing throughout the match. Not just physically. And today, Amanda managed her resting time, timing them greatly, and getting her second wind when it was needed.
“It was like Nour was playing the wrong game” confessed one of Nour’s team. I see what they mean. She kept playing in Amanda’s strength: the front of the court, opening the court to the American second-to-none counter drops and counter attacking. And Nour mentioned it yesterday: the fact that Amanda is lefthanded was for her a worrying element.
Like I mentioned, Nour dominated the first game 6/0, 7/3, 9/4, 10/5, 11/7 in 7 minutes. Complete change of settings in the second, with Amanda finding sublime front shots, in both front corners, out of this world, Nour unable to respond, probably surprised by the change of intensity between the two games, 5/5, 6/6, then all Amanda’s, 11/7 in 11m!
Again, Amanda unable to find any response in the third, and the game flies in 6m, 8/1, 11/4. So to be honest, Nour is looking the likely winner.
But the fourth and the fifth are as close at they come; 1/1, 2/2, 3/3, 4/4, 5/5 7/7, 8/8, Nour making a few errors, and not using the backwall at all, keeping Amanda comfy at the front, where she is the more lethal… 10/8, 11/9, in 11m.
The fifth sees us all at the edge of our seat, literally. 1/1, 2/2, 4/4, 5/5. Nour seems to take the advantage, 7/5, 8/6 but it’s just not enough. Giving it all – as she passes the hour game, unchartered territory for the American – Amanda digs in, 8/8, 9/8 Nour, 9/9.
A superb kill for Amanda, 10/9. Stroke for USA. Egypt down and out.
🗣 "Nobody beats two Sobhys in a row!"
— PSA World Tour (@PSAWorldTour) December 10, 2020
I am in shock a little bit and I don’t think it has sunk in. It is all a blur but I think the fact.. I still can’t believe I just beat the World No.1. I know the tournament isn’t over yet, it’s not even close to being over but I haven’t had a good win in so long, so this just feels really nice!
First game, she outplayed me completely. I love pace and she took that away from me and I got lulled into a sleep. She played so well so I had to tell myself ‘if you want to actually compete, this is your last tournament of 2020, you’re going to give everything you can and hit the ball to the back of the court please’.
If you give her anything in the middle, she is going to slot it away. I had to tell myself to step up, be aggressive and get the ball to the back corners. I got the second, the third was like a sleepy bye for me, but it wasn’t the way I wanted to go out. Nobody beats two Sobhy’s in a row! That was in my mind to not let her beat my sister and me, back-to-back, so I am glad I got one for the family!
I’m so pleased with that. I think I kind of blacked out the last few points but I am just so glad that I crossed that line. To beat Nour El Sherbini, who has been the in-form player, is huge. But, I have tomorrow to think about. I will enjoy this for the next hour or so, and then it’s time to prepare for tomorrow!