Sobhy Outlasts Orfi in Dramatic Five-Game Comeback; Momen Knocks Out ElShorbagy

Amanda Sobhy

The first half of the 2023 U.S. Open Squash Championships presented by Truist quarterfinals culminated with two dramatic results as Amanda Sobhy pulled off a dramatic five-game comeback win over World Junior Champion Amina Orfi and Tarek Momen ended his twelve game losing streak against world No. 3 Mohamed ElShorbagy Wednesday, October 11, at the Arlen Specter US Squash Center in Philadelphia.

The opening two matches saw Egypt’s two-time U.S. Open champion Ali Farag and 2021 U.S. Open finalist Hania El Hammamy both progress to Friday’s semifinals with four-game victories over Miguel Angel Rodriguez and Nele Gilis, respectively.

The final slate of matches produced dramatic scenes on the Specter Center’s Lenfest Court.

Momen, a runner-up at the 2021 U.S. Open, had won just five of thirty matches against ElShorbagy coming into today’s match and the thirty-five-year-old hadn’t tasted victory against the Englishman since 2019. Momen put together a superb five-game performance, coming back from 2-1 down and sealed with a dramatic winning nick to clinch match point in the fifth game after sixty-five minutes.

“I’m very happy with today’s performance,” Momen said. “I feel like it’s been a long time coming. I had to push myself and I worked so hard in the summer. Everyone thinks I’m 35 and the curve is going down and I knew this wasn’t the case. I needed to prove to myself that I can get back to where I was.  At the beginning of the season, even though I wasn’t getting the results, I could see I was playing better and I was fitter. Today was the day when I managed to convert.”

Tarek Momen (l) and Mohamed Elshorbagy

The final match of the night was between Sobhy, who was targeting her first U.S. Open semifinal appearance since 2016 against Egyptian phenom Amina Orfi.

The American took a strong foothold in the first game of the match, but the sixteen-year-old two-time World Junior Champion responded by taking the next two and a 6-1 lead in the fourth game. Pushed on by family and friends in the crowd, Sobhy fought back to take the fourth 11-9 and clinch a semifinal berth 11-3 in the fifth after sixty-three minutes.

“I think a few years ago there’s no way I would have won a match like that,” Sobhy said. “I probably would have crumbled and confidence-wise I wouldn’t have been able to fight and stick in with it. Since moving down to Florida I’ve put a really good training block in, I’ve been working with Wael [El Hindi], we have a good team and set up down there. I have something to fall back on, so even when I’m 6-1 down I’m okay.”

Team USA’s world No. 9 Olivia Fiechter will aim to join her teammate in the semifinals on Thursday against four seed Nour El Tayeb. The second half of the quarterfinals will play out from 6pm ET.

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