Hania El Hammamy (EGY) 3-0  Amanda Sobhy (USA) 11-9, 12-10, 11-9 (39m)
I feel that’s what Nour El Sherbini got wrong yesterday. She kept serving Amanda with short shots that were “petit lait” for the American, sweets at Christmas. Hania, despite have 65m more squash in the legs than her opponent, decided to twist and turn Wonderwoman – I know, PSA calls her Southsomething, which doesn’t mean anything to me and to most of my mates so, I think Wonderwoman is for her – forcing her to attack from a not so great position and ultimately, forcing errors out of her.
How on EARTH did Hania won the first game? She made 6 errors. That’s 6 points given away people, as in Amanda only had to score 5 points. On the other hand, Amanda made only two errors, but gave away one stroke, so, thats 3 points given, 8 points to score….
Despite Hania’s errors, the game was so close. 2/2, 3/3, 4/4, 5/5. Wonderwoman shoots to 8/5. Some huge rallies at that point, the Gazelle equalising 8/8, stroke for Hania, followed by an error, 9/9.
A silly ridiculous squash rally, both girls running and attacking, visiting the court a few times, and the ball finally off court from Amanda’s racquet, it’s 10/9 for the Egyptian. One of the American two errors – no pressure really – and it’s 11/9 in 13m.
I truly believe that is the turning point of the match. I think that Hania would have had trouble mentally and physically to win 4 or 5 games today. Taking the first game was the key.
The hard work was produced by Amanda in that opener, and God knows how she kept attacking, focused, hitting her targets again, and again and again and again and again, and again. Yes it was taking that many winners per rally to close a single point. Have a look:
"That is El Hammamy in a nutshell!"
— PSA World Tour (@PSAWorldTour) December 11, 2020
Four errors from the Gazelle up along with some crispy winners from the American lead her to game ball for Amanda, 10/6. Maybe paying for the work produced, the American tries to finish the point juuuuust a bit too quickly: three errors and a stroke, 10/10, and another error to allow Hania to set up her own game ball, 11/10. A crispy winner from the Gazelle, and she is now 2/0 up, 12/10.
That’s 6 winners for Hania, 4 for Amanda….
An excellent start for Wonderwoman in the third, 3/1, clinical, sharp, hitting her targets. But Hania is back on the retrieving path, and it’s long ridiculous squash rallies again – one of the spectators behind me at 2/3 for Hania commented in French “c’est pas possible, c’est pas possible”…
3/3, 4/4, 7/4 Hania, Amanda claws back 7/7. A stroke for Hania, 8/7. A rally to redefine all retrieving rallies, 9/7. An error from Amanda, 10/7, match ball. Three of them.
Amanda pushes as hard as it’s humanly possible, keeping on believing, working, digging in, and saves one match ball. Then another one. The crowd hold their breath. 10/9. They feel like me probably that Hania will be short in a fourth and certainly in a fifth.
And an error from the American.
A whole nation breathes out.
11/9, Hania, sole Egyptian in the end of this event, gets to live another day…
I’m really happy that I’ve made it to the final.
I’m really excited for tomorrow’s match, I guess I need one more push to defend my title. Today’s match was a little bit weird; I think we both had our ups and downs. I don’t think we performed the best we had, but overall, I’m happy to get through in three.
I just wanted to push hard and didn’t want to let her win the second easily. I should be really happy and pleased that she kept making errors, from 10-6 to 12-10, she made four or five errors – so I was definitely lucky to get the second. It was going to be so crucial if it was 1-1 and I think I was definitely lucky for that.
Right now, I want to enjoy my spot, I want to enjoy being World No.5 and I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself. I’m doing the best I can do and hopefully I can make it to No.1 soon.
Amanda (on Instagram)
Proud of everything I’ve overcome. Proud that I chose never give up no matter how many times I got knocked down. Proud to end the year off playing some of my best squash & enjoying myself on court again.
I may not have gotten the win tonight, but I will keep working! Thanks everyone for the support this week! Most importantly, Thank you to the people & sponsors who stuck by me this year even when the going got tough. I truly appreciate you all.