United States No.3 Sabrina Sobhy overcame Egyptian teenager Nada Abbas earlier today in the spectacular Cathedral Hall of the University Club of Chicago to join older sister Amanda and compatriot Olivia Blatchford Clyne in round two of the Windy City Open presented by the Walter Family - which will feature three Americans for the first time.
The match was played at a ferocious pace, with both players looking to attack whenever the opportunity presented itself. Sobhy didn’t start well as Abbas dominated the opening stages, but grew into the match as it went on. Buoyed by partizan home support, the World No.30 claimed an 4-11, 14-12, 12-10, 8-11, 11-8 victory to set up a second round clash with Egypt’s Yathreb Adel.
“I wasn’t expecting this support at all, but I guess that’s one of the perks of being on the glass, you get fans from all over, which is really rewarding. " said Sobhy, who has based herself in Cairo since the latter stages of 2019.
"It’s a complete 180 from what I’m used to [moving to Cairo]. It’s 100 per cent all squash and I think I needed that as a big motivator. There are no distractions, it’s just squash, and you’ve got to be really focused with it. I clearly needed it to get going in my squash career as I was pretty lenient in the past couple of years with it, I think.”
Sobhy was almost joined by fellow American Olivia Fiechter in the last 32. World No.36 Fiechter put in a tenacious display against Australia’s Donna Lobban, ultimately going down 10-12, 11-8, 11-7, 11-13, 14-12 after a gripping 62-minute battle. Brooklyn-born Haley Mendez was the other female American in action on day one, and she went down to Belgium’s Tinne Gilis in straight games.
On the side courts, England’s Lucy Turmel has reached the second round of a PSA World Tour Platinum tournament for the first time after a superb comeback saw the 20-year-old defeat 2007 World Champion Rachael Grinham.
It was youth versus experience, and experience looked to be winning out as 43-year-old Grinham took the first game after a lengthy tie-break, winning it 15-13, and the momentum stayed in her favour she then went on to take the second game 11-8.
However, World No.46 Turmel fought back to win the last three games, restricting the 43-year-old to just 13 points across them all. That win, her second over Grinham, has seen Turmel set up a clash with compatriot Victoria Lust in the last 32.
“I am very pleased to get through in five today," Turmel said.
"I had a very nervy start going 2-0 down and I felt a bit lost on court, but I managed to turn it around and play good squash at the end."
Elsewhere, France’s Melissa Alves saved three match balls to beat Egypt’s Zeina Mickawy, while a 77-minute encounter between former World No.5 Low Wee Wern and English youngster Jasmine Hutton went the way of the Malaysian in five games.
Results - Women’s First Round: 2020 Windy City Open presented by the Walter Family
Julianne Courtice (ENG) bt Danielle Letourneau (CAN) 3-0: 11-6, 11-9, 11-4 (27m)
Coline Aumard (FRA) bt [WC] Hana Moataz (EGY) 3-1: 11-6, 11-4, 14-16, 11-8 (47m)
Emily Whitlock (ENG) bt Lisa Aitken (SCO) 3-1: 11-6, 8-11, 11-5, 11-6 (42m)
Nadine Shahin (EGY) bt Mayar Hany (EGY) 3-1: 10-12, 12-10, 11-9, 11-9 (45m)
Liu Tsz-Ling (HKG) bt Milou van der Heijden (NED) 3-2: 11-9, 11-5, 4-11, 8-11, 11-7 (41m)
Hollie Naughton (CAN) bt Sivasangari Subramanium (MAS) 3-1: 11-8, 11-9, 4-11, 12-10 (42m)
Millie Tomlinson (ENG) bt Tze Lok Ho (HKG) 3-0: 11-7, 11-9, 11-8 (40m)
Low Wee Wern (MAS) bt Jasmine Hutton (ENG) 3-2: 5-11, 11-8, 11-5, 6-11, 14-12 (77m)
Rowan Elaraby (EGY) bt Lee Ka Yi (HKG) 3-0: 11-8, 11-6, 11-6 (21m)
Lucy Turmel (ENG) bt Rachael Grinham (AUS) 3-2: 13-15, 8-11, 11-1, 11-6, 11-6 (57m)
Sabrina Sobhy (USA) bt Nada Abbas (EGY) 3-2: 4-11, 14-12, 12-10, 8-11, 11-8 (50m)
Melissa Alves (FRA) bt Zeina Mickawy (EGY) 3-2: 7-11, 4-11, 13-11, 11-9, 11-8 (51m)
Mariam Metwally (EGY) bt Alexandra Fuller (RSA) 3-2: 6-11, 11-8, 9-11, 11-1, 11-3 (35m)
Tinne Gilis (BEL) bt Haley Mendez (USA) 3-0: 11-4, 11-4, 11-6 (26m)
Donna Lobban (AUS) bt Olivia Fiechter (USA) 3-2: 10-12, 11-8, 11-7, 11-13, 14-12 (62m)
Joey Chan (HKG) bt Tsz-Wing Tong (HKG) 3-0: 11-8, 11-4, 11-7 (21m)
Draw – Women’s Second Round (Top Half): To Be Played February 28th
 Raneem El Welily (EGY) v Julianne Courtice (ENG)
Coline Aumard (FRA) v  Salma Hany (EGY)
 Olivia Blatchford Clyne (USA) v Emily Whitlock (ENG)
Nadine Shahin (EGY) v  Joelle King (NZL)
 Amanda Sobhy (USA) v Liu Tsz-Ling (HKG)
Hollie Naughton (CAN) v  Annie Au (HKG)
 Nele Gilis (BEL) v Millie Tomlinson (ENG)
Low Wee Wern (MAS) v  Nouran Gohar (EGY)
 Nour El Tayeb (EGY) v Rowan Elaraby (EGY)
Lucy Turmel (ENG) v  Victoria Lust (ENG)
 Yathreb Adel (EGY) v Sabrina Sobhy (USA)
Melissa Alves (FRA) v  Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG)
 Camille Serme (FRA) v [17/32] Mariam Metwally (EGY)
Tinne Gilis (BEL) v  Hania El Hammamy (EGY)
 Joshna Chinappa (IND) v Donna Lobban (AUS)
Joey Chan (HKG) v  Nour El Sherbini (EGY)