2017 champions—husband and wife Ali Farag and Nour El Tayeb—cruised into the semifinals of the U.S. Open Squash Championships presented by Truist together, defeating top ten opponents Tarek Momen and Amanda Sobhy Wednesday, October 12, at the Arlen Specter US Squash in Philadelphia.
El Tayeb and Farag made history in 2017 by becoming the first married couple to win the same major sports title together, and the Egyptians showed signs of more title aspirations together with impressive quarterfinal displays.
El Tayeb, who has recently made a comeback on the PSA tour following a hiatus due to the birth of her first child, extinguished the home crowd with a skillful three-game win over the American world No. 4, 11-5, 11-7, 11-8 in thirty-three minutes.
“I like the indoor courts, in Egypt it’s always outdoors, which I guess I don’t like very much, but I like the courts here,” I like the atmosphere, I like the crowd, so hopefully, I can keep going. The semis is nice, but I’ve done that already this season, so hopefully I can push it one round further than this.”
Sobhy and El Tayeb have played each other three times in the last month, each winning one leading into their U.S. Open match up. Sobhy won on El Tayeb’s home turf at the Egyptian Open, and El Tayeb returned the favor at the Specter Center.
“We’ve been playing a lot recently, me and Amanda, so we know each other,” El Tayeb said. “I think I felt more comfortable today. I felt more comfortable on this court than last week in Egypt. I think I played well and I’m very happy.”
Farag stopped 2021 U.S. Open finalist Tarek Momen in his tracks, grinding down the world No. 6 11-9, 11-9, 11-5 in fifty-two minutes.
“I think both me and Nour came up against some very, very tough opponents,” Farag said. “Both of us played some of our best squash of the week so far, and we couldn’t be happier going home tonight.”
Farag will face a first-time U.S. Open semifinalist in the form of world No. 8 Marwan ElShorbagy, who dispatched compatriot Youssef Soliman in three games.
ElShorbagy has a superior head-to-head record against Farag, winning eight of their 14 PSA encounters, but has lost his last two matches against the 30-year-old. ElShorbagy is aiming to reach his first U.S. Open final.
“Me and Youssef are very good friends off court and it was a tricky match because we only played once and he’s beaten me before,” ElShorbagy said. “I’m just really happy to be so focused from the beginning and so sharp. I found my rhythm and felt my length was really good today and I’m really happy with the way I’ve been hitting the ball. I played well and it was a good match, I thought.”
Thursday will see the second half of the quarterfinals play out with matches starting at 5:30pm ET.