Friday, November 8, 2019


Day 3
November 7

By Stu Hadden

Quarter finals night was another great success with a packed house pitching up to watch the remaining 8 ladies go hammer and tong at each other to try and claim a place in the semis. The crowd were treated to squash matches that were as tasty and as free flowing as the domestic beer keg, which no doubt fueled the raucous chants of USA throughout the evening during Blatchford and Sobhy matches.

First up we had Australian Donna Lobban taking on one of the fastest rising stars of the PSA tour – Egyptian Rowan Elaraby. Elaraby has been in scintillating form of late, having beaten several top 10 players in the last few weeks, and was largely considered the favorite for this match by the players. Lobban however, had other ideas and showed why she has been at the top of the sport for the past decade. From the mid-point of the first game she gave her opponent a masterclass in Aussie squash, hitting a good width, getting a loose ball and then decimating her opponent with crosscourt nicks and deceptive boasts. Her crosscourt lob, particularly from the front right corner is particularly naughty and is something our membership could learn from when watching her in tonight’s match, as it gave her so much time to recover from the front court whenever she was under the cosh. After losing the third game in quick time Donna stamped her authority on the match, shutting it out in 4 games.
Nele Gilis and Anna Serme

 Next to the court was Nele Gilis from Belgium up against the Czech Anna Serme. Gilis put together a cheeky little performance to shut the shop in 3 straight sets. Gilis’s movement proved to be just too hard to handle for Serme whose sublime shot making into the front court in the previous rounds didn’t quite find their marks which allowed Gillis to pounce on the balls and continually counterattack.

Sabrina Sobhy and Nadine Shahin
The match of the day award goes to Nadine Shahin and Sabrina Sobhy who treated the crowd to an absolute and utter firecracker of a four gamer. From the first point it seemed like the DAC had employed the girls to do a demolition job on the court, with both girls hitting the ball like they were trying to break the front wall with the it. The game was neck and neck all the way to 10-10 in a first set characterized by scandalous athleticism and a franticly high pace. At 10-10 Shahin managed to pull away and shut the shop, something we have seen the higher ranked players doing all tournament, just by being slightly more consistent on the big points. 

The second was more of the same but Sobhy gave her opponent a few more opportunities to counterattack from the front right because her forehand drops were going in a little too slow and coming back a tiny bit too far. Giving Shahin time in the front right corner is not a good tactic and so it showed, game Shahin 11-8. Sobhy corrected this somewhat in the third, taking the ball in more severely and playing with a more structured length base which snuck her the third but Shahin wasn’t to be denied, getting a good start in 4th and running away with the match in just under an hour. If Shahin keeps up this rich vein of form and Gilis doesn’t find a way to slow down the pace in the semifinal, we could well be in for a seeding upset. Sobhy is clearly playing way above her ranking and looks set to be a fixture in the worlds top 20 in the next year and bolster the US Squash presence in the women’s world rankings. Side note, Sobhy is a budding artist, you can check out / purchase her art through her IG page @ssobhyart.
Olivia and Melissa

Crowd favorite and home interest was led by Olivia Blatchford who won through against French player Melissa Alves. After a hard fought first two games Alves was eventually forced to throw in the towel due to an adductor injury sustained in the back end of her match against Ali Thompson yesterday.

All full quarter final results:
Olivia Blatchford Clyne (USA) beat Melissa Alves (FRA) 11-4, 11-7, 5-2 (retired injured)
Nadine Shahin (EGY) beat Sabrina Sobhy (USA) 12-10, 11-8, 6-11, 11-5
Donna Lobban (AUS) beat Rowan Elaraby (EGY) 11-7, 13-11, 2-11, 11-7
Nele Gilis (BEL) beat Anna Serme (CZE) 11-5, 11-2, 11-4

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