USA’s Amanda Sobhy and England’s Mohamed ElShorbagy have both claimed their third Oracle NetSuite Open titles in San Francisco after beating Egyptian duo Farida Mohamed and Marwan ElShorbagy in tough four games battles.
The women’s final opened the play on finals night as No.1 seed Amanda Sobhy took on surprise finalist Farida Mohamed to defend her Oracle Netsuite Open title in front of a packed crowd at Pier 70, San Francisco.
The pair had met twice previously on the PSA World Tour with the American taking both encounters 3-0, the latest of which being at the J.P Morgan Tournament of Champions in May. Sobhy took control of the opening game and lead 8-5, hitting hard to the back corners and finishing loose returns superbly. Mohamed found her way back into the game however and fired off several winners to storm into the lead and take the opening game 11-9.
Sobhy didn’t panic however and used her experience to stick to her game plan and started to dominate proceedings once more. By finding terrific length and working Mohamed into all four corners, the World No.4 took the next two games 11-3, 11-5 to lead 2-1 and place one hand on the trophy.
The No.1 seed’s momentum continued as her relentless hitting was constantly troubling her younger opponent in all areas of the court. Mohamed tried her best to contain the pressure of Sobhy but struggled to lift under pressure which only gave more chances to Sobhy. The defending champion sealed the fourth game 11-7 to successfully defend her title and claim her third Oracle NetSuite Open win.
She had this to say after her win:
“I’m relieved, I’m happy, I’m ready to take a 12-hour sleep. But you know, I’m just over the moon to win three times. San Fran is my lucky place, I love this tournament, I love you guys
“I love playing in front of a home crowd. This tournament has always been good to me, I’ve been coming here since 2015. Even though it’s a lot of travelling it’s really fun to perform in front of you guys and the atmosphere is incredible. I only get to come here to San Francisco once a year and to win a third title is amazing.
“I was a bit nervous throughout it all, I hope I didn’t show it too much. Even though I lost the first game I played the right tactics and she just slotted some amazing shots and that’s what she’s capable of. But you know, a few amazing shots can turn into some aggressive tins so I had to brush it off and stick to my positive game plan. I thought we played a really good match today and I wish her all the best in her college squash season.”
The men’s final was a special occurrence as brothers Mohamed and Marwan ElShorbagy went head to head for the Silver event title. The brothers have previously played 19 times on the PSA tour with Mohamed holding a positive 14-5 lead over his younger brother, the most notable win coming in the 2017 PSA World Championships final in Manchester.
Marwan started the better of the two, catching his older brother slightly off guard, and firing off quick winners to take a commanding lead. He eventually took the opening game 11-6 and looked sharp and focused heading into game two.
Mohamed has already captured a Platinum event title this season, convincingly winning the Qatar Classic last month in Doha. That form was showcased in the following game, cutting the ball severely into the front corners and testing the movement of Marwan. After securing the game 11-9, Mohamed stormed to a 5-0 lead in the third and wasted no time taking a 2-1 lead by winning 11-2.
The former World No.1 looked to be in a league of his own in the fourth game and really started to turn the screw against his brother, who was trying his best to stay in the match. Marwan is renowned for his fighting abilities and used his smart brand of squash to take a 7-6 lead in the crucial fourth game to give himself a lifeline in the match. Mohamed responded again however and moved from strength to strength to take five of the next six points and close out the match 11-8 to score his third Netsuite Open title and second title of the new season.
“I think we both give something very special to the sport,” said Mohamed after his win.
“It’s very unique to have two brothers playing against each other. I think everyone loves watching us battle it out on court, I’m not sure that we both love it too much but I think we made our parents proud today. We played a high-quality match.
“My brother didn’t play well last season and to see him playing well again this season and to see hi playing that well again means a lot to me. I’m very thankful to his team and Rodney Martin for getting him back to this and for giving him another life. It’s only the start of the season but he’s already made two finals and I’m sure we will see him in more this season.
“I would like to thank John [Nimick] and his team, his tournaments are always special. All the players always feel so welcome from him and his team and that’s why we always get great crowds every year, because of his efforts. I already can’t wait to be at his next event in three months’ time in New York at the Tournament of Champions.
“I’d like to thank my fitness coach back in Birmingham. Gregory Gaultier, he has done an incredible job with me. I’m very grateful to him for helping me win two of my first three events of the season. England Squash, I’m very grateful for their support, they believed in me when no one else did and I’m so grateful for that. I’d also like to thank Evan [Goldberg], for sponsoring the event. To have someone like you sponsoring the event means so much to the players and we’re very lucky to have you in our sport.”
PSA World Tour attention now turns to the prestigious US Open, taking place from The Arlen Specter Center in Philadelphia from October 8th – 15th. The PSA World Tour Platinum event will feature the world’s best players as they battle it out for the title.