R1 :  Amanda Sobhy (USA) 3-0 Olivia Fiechter (USA) 11-8, 11-7, 11-5 (29m)
Incredible moment for me when I went to talk to Haley after the first match, and found myself next to Olivia and Amanda… “it’s the American Corner” I went, which was not as humoristic as it was accurate… 5 American ladies playing on that first day…
First game, crucial really. The two attacking ladies were racquet to racquet the whole opener, up to 8/8. There, Amanda’s experience at that level made the difference. She found two quick winners, leaving no chance to her feisty and determined compatriot the chance to reflect on that ball she thought might have been out… 11/8 in 10m.
The second game is still of a very high calibre, nothing between them up to 6/6, but a big rally won by Amanda seemed to take quite a bit out of Olivia, who took three rallies – quick ones – to recover. At 7/9, it was still possible for the contender, but it wasn’t to be, 11/7 in 7m.
A lot of players would have throw away the towel at that point, but all credit to Olivia, she never did. She started the third with a same fire and will as she did in the first. She fought hard up to 4/4, but errors started to creep in, and Amanda just closed that last game in 8m, 11/5.
I think I was taking the ball in a bit too soon, rushing it and her counter-punch was killing me. Also, I was not covering the court they way I wanted to, but it’s mainly due to the way she hits the ball.
My aim was to try and get in front of her, twist and turn her to try and disturb her game. That’s the way to play her really, but I made too many errors length/width wise today.
I’m a bit disappointed with my performance today, we have had a few match practice, I’ve been working hard with my team, was playing well, but it’s all credit to her, and to how aggressive she played.
We’re both based in Philly, we train every week and play a practice match every week, so we were just excited to fly all the way to Egypt to play another practice match!
We were joking around saying that we should just play in Philly and then the winner flies to Egypt. She’s improved a ton, even though my record against her has me winning, each time gets tougher and tougher. She’s climbing up the rankings, which is phenomenal to see squash in the US and see other countries represented in the later rounds of tournaments – it’s nice not being the only US player.
We’re in a very awkward limbo phase in Philadelphia because the national centre won’t be finished until the end of February/March and originally planned for August, so we all moved and then with our funding being dropped, it’s been tough but thankfully the Philly squash community is thriving and we have got set up in the area at other clubs and there’s enough people to hit with and still train and improve during this time.
I have a pretty horrendous record in Cairo, I haven’t really won the last couple of times I’ve been here, so that’s been lingering in the back of my mind and I wanted to get a win on board and try and reverse the scoreline. I wouldn’t say my performance was rock solid but I got by and I’m happy with that and hopefully I can keep improving.