Egypt’s world No. 2 Nour El Sherbini came back from 2-1 down in games and from 7-6 down in the fifth, to defeat Team USA’s Amanda Sobhy in the third round of the PSA World Championships presented by the Walter Family Wednesday night, February 26, in Chicago’s Union Station.
In the closest women’s match of the day, Sobhy and El Sherbini put on a dazzling display of shot-making and skill for the crowd on the glass court in Union Station’s Grand Hall. Sobhy took a close first game 12-10, but El Sherbini resettled in the second to swiftly level the score 11-3. Sobhy responded just as resolutely in the third, shooting her way to earn a 2-1 advantage, 11-4.
El Sherbini, a two-time world champion, regained control of the match int he fourth, forcing a fifth game 11-8. The fifth remained even until Sobhy held a slender lead up 7-6, at which point El Sherbini pulled ahead through Sobhy errors and winners to rattle off five straight points and clinch the match 11-7 after fifty-two minutes.
“I’m really happy to win this match,” said the 23-year-old Egyptian. “Every time I play Amanda since she came back from injury, this is the third time and every match is getting better and better. This time was the toughest one and I didn’t want to leave the tournament that early, so I had to fight until the end and I’m really glad I won this one. I just tried to put the ball back deep into the corners and attack more, but I think she was also doing the same.”
The women’s third round included a historic result, as the greatest women’s player of all time, Nicol David, made her final appearance at a PSA World Championship in entertaining four-game loss against France’s Camille Serme. David, who announced her retirement at the end of the season a week before the tournament in Chicago, exited the court to a standing ovation from the crowd.
“She beat me so many times and of course she is a legend and it’s an honour to be her last match at the World Championships,” Serme said. “She’s such a fighter, even in the last game, I was 6-0 up, I had really good length and she came out firing and I thought she could come back, so I had to push really hard. She used to be called “Duracell” because she was physically so strong, and I think that’s why the top girls push themselves so hard because she was so physical. She’s so fair as well, she never cheats and she will always say ‘good shot’, it’s just so enjoyable to play against her.”
Over the course of her storied career, David won a record eight world championships.
“It’s been so great to be part of this major event. It’s our first $1 million event and I got a chance to play in it, which is great,” David said. “Squash has come a long way, so to get this far is a thrill for me. With [this being] my last Worlds, I gave it my all, I’ll take whatever I got and I really enjoyed my match today.”
Meanwhile, Germany’s world No. 4 Simon Rösner had a huge battle on his hands against Spanish veteran Borja Golan as he recovered from 2-1 to become the first German player ever to reach the quarterfinals of the World Championships.
Rösner was tested throughout a mammoth 93-minute battle with former world No. 5 Golan but came out on top to see off the 36-year-old by an 9-11, 11-7, 10-12, 11-5, 11-5 scoreline.
“I’ve had my best results in the U.S., so of course that’s something that’s in the back of your mind,” Rösner said. “Each point, each game and each match is different so you’ve just got to be at your best throughout.”
Indian No. 1 Saurav Ghosal lies in wait in the quarter-finals after he defeated Welshman Joel Makin. World No.2 Ali Farag and New Zealand’s Paul Coll will also do battle in the last eight after they advanced courtesy of respective wins against Egyptian pair Mazen Hesham and Fares Dessouky.
Tickets are still available for all rounds of glass court play with prices ranging from $30 to $160 on ticketmaster.com. Live action up until the semifinals will be streamed on the PSA Facebook page and Facebook Watch. Watch all the glass court action from round one to the finals live on SQUASHTV.
For more information and tournament coverage visit psaworldchampionships.com.