U.S. Open Win Sees Orfi Becomes Youngest Ever Platinum Quarter-Finalist

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At the age of 16 years and three months, Egypt’s Amina Orfi has become the youngest player ever to reach the quarter-finals of a PSA World Tour Platinum event after she overcame World No.4 Joelle King at the Arlen Specter US Squash Center today.

Orfi, who already has three PSA titles to her name, came back from a game down against 35-year-old King to secure an 11-13, 11-7, 11-5, 11-4 victory which sets up a mouthwatering last eight clash against United States No.1 Amanda Sobhy.

King dug in to take the opening game despite Orfi holding a game ball, but the Egyptian showed her class from the second game to take the win. King looked to be managing an injury and wasn’t able to pick up the attacks that her opponent threw at her as Orfi booked her spot in the last eight.

“I can’t believe it, I came into this match with no expectations,” said Orfi afterwards.

“I learnt lessons in Paris and Qatar, I played point by point and the results just came. I had to take care of her experience, she’s been on court way more than me, so when she’s tired she knows how to manage the game very well. I had to play my best shots because when they were in the middle she put them away.

“I’m looking forward to a rest delay to relax, finally.”

Sobhy completed an 11-7, 11-3, 11-6 victory in just 26 minutes against World No.42 Zeina Mickawy and will now aim to reach the semi-finals of the U.S. Open for the first time since 2016.

“I’m happy, it’s another 3-0 win which was good to help preserve the body,” said Sobhy.

“I think being at home is very comforting, also it’s familiar being here at the center. It’s nice having the home support and having my coach [Wael El Hindi] here as well as my friends and family. 

“I want to do it for myself, but it’s not every day that I have these supporters here watching me, so I want to do it for them, too.”

World No.2 Hania El Hammamy is also through to the last four after she overcame Belgium’s Tinne Gilis in a gripping contest.

The pair had met in the second round of September’s Paris Squash event, with El Hammamy coming back from 2-0 down to secure the win. Like in France, Gilis made a superb start to the match as she hit her attacks into the front with pinpoint accuracy.

A big push from Gilis saw her take a 6-2 lead in the second game, but El Hammamy stuck to her game plan, manoeuvring her opponent around the court to draw level. The third game could have gone either way, however El Hammamy just had that extra bit of quality to take the lead. That broke Gilis’s resistance as the Egyptian powered through to the victory in a one-sided fifth game.

The older Gilis sister – World No.8 Nele – awaits El Hammamy in the last eight following her 3-0 win over England’s Katie Malliff.

In the men’s event, US hopes came to an end as England’s Mohamed ElShorbagy took out the country’s top ranked male player with an 11-4, 11-6, 11-3 win over Timothy Brownell.

World No.46 Brownell was the first American man to reach the last 16 of this event since 1986 but was put to the sword by an ElShorbagy masterclass. 

World No.4 ElShorbagy – who today broke coach Gregory Gaultier’s record for the most consecutive weeks inside the top 10 – will take on World No.9 Tarek Momen for a place in the semi-finals and will look to extend his 12-match unbeaten run against the Egyptian.

“I was not very happy yesterday with my performance,” said ElShorbagy.

“I felt very soft on court and I hate feeling this way. I like to look tough and make it hard, but I wasn’t pleased with my attitude. I had a big conversation with Greg straight after the match and I told him that my attitude had to change if I was going to have a chance to win this event.

“For him to be in the last 16 here is a great result. It’s very important for the sport to have these American players getting better. They’ve done an amazing job for the women to have four players inside the top 15, it’s unbelievable. The men are following up now and pushing up the rankings.”

World No.1 Ali Farag had a tricky match against compatriot Aly Abou Eleinen to contend with but he dispatched the World No.22 by an 12-10, 5-11, 11-6, 11-3 margin.

After conceding the opening game, Eleinen did a fantastic job of keeping Farag behind him in the second, which allowed him to dictate what went on in the front of the court. Farag responded though and injected more pace into the game to rush Eleinen, eventually coming out with the win in four.

“Aly is an up-and-coming player and he didn’t have any pressure coming in,” Farag said.

“He’s got everything in the book and he came up with a really good game plan today. He was mixing up the pace really well and using a lot of angles with the side wall boast.

“He played really well and caught me off guard in the first two, but I got into my groove a little better in the third and the fourth. Once I got my length hitting a little bit cleaner I managed to dominate the ’T’ more than I did in the first two.”

Colombian veteran Miguel Rodriguez awaits Farag in the quarter-finals after the 37-year-old came back from 2-1 down to see off Egypt’s Youssef Soliman, winning 11-5, 3-11, 6-11, 11-7, 11-5 after 82 minutes.

The third round of the U.S. Open continues tomorrow (October 10) and play begins at 17:00 (GMT-4). Matches from both glass courts will be broadcast live on SQUASHTV.

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Results – Men’s Third Round (Top Half): 2023 U.S. Open

[1] Ali Farag (EGY) bt Aly Abou Eleinen (EGY) 3-1: 12-10, 5-11, 11-6, 11-3 (50m)

Miguel Rodriguez (COL) bt Youssef Soliman (EGY) 3-2: 11-5, 3-11, 6-11, 11-7, 11-5 (82m)

[8] Tarek Momen (EGY) bt Nicolas Mueller (SUI) 3-0: 11-2, 11-7, 11-6 (28m)

[3] Mohamed ElShorbagy (ENG) bt Timothy Brownell (USA) 3-0: 11-4, 11-6, 11-3 (32m)

Draw – Men’s Third Round (Bottom Half): To Be Played October 10th

[4] Paul Coll (NZL) v Youssef Ibrahim (EGY)

Raphael Kandra (GER) v [6] Mazen Hesham (EGY)

[5] Marwan ElShorbagy (ENG) v Adrian Waller (ENG)

Nathan Lake (ENG) v [2] Diego Elias (PER)

Draw – Men’s Quarter-Finals (Top Half): To Be Played October 11th

[1] Ali Farag (EGY) v Miguel Rodriguez (COL)

[8] Tarek Momen (EGY) v [3] Mohamed ElShorbagy (ENG)

Results – Women’s Third Round (Top Half): 2023 U.S. Open

[2] Hania El Hammamy (EGY) bt Tinne Gilis (BEL) 3-1: 9-11, 12-10, 11-9, 11-3 (50m)

[6] Nele Gilis (BEL) bt Katie Malliff (ENG) 3-0: 11-9, 11-3, 11-6 (38m)

[5] Amanda Sobhy (USA) bt Zeina Mickawy (EGY) 3-0: 11-7, 11-3, 11-6 (23m)

Amina Orfi (EGY) bt [3] Joelle King (NZL) 3-1: 11-13, 11-7, 11-5, 11-4 (52m)

Draw – Women’s Third Round (Bottom Half): To Be Played October 10th

[4] Nour El Tayeb (EGY) v Lucy Beecroft (ENG)

Salma Hany (EGY) v [8] Olivia Fiechter (USA)

[7] Georgina Kennedy (ENG) v Rowan Elaraby (EGY)

Nada Abbas (EGY) v [1] Nour El Sherbini (EGY)

Draw – Women’s Quarter-Finals (Top Half): To Be Played October 11th

[2] Hania El Hammamy (EGY) v [6] Nele Gilis (BEL)

[5] Amanda Sobhy (USA) v Amina Orfi (EGY)

By Nadeem Faisal Baiga