Dominant Performances Rule The Night On a Cool Evening in San Francisco

[American Amanda Sobhy (l) needed just nine minutes to advance to the quarterfinals over Egypt’s Nadine Shahin ]

September 24, 2021

The theme of Friday night’s 2021 Oracle NetSuite Open session presented by RSM, was efficiency and dominance with all four matches ending 2-0, and each lasting under 30 minutes. The cool evening along the San Francisco Bay may have played a role, as the ball dies in the back of the court when players get their length right.

American Spencer Lovejoy, a Yale graduate and rising professional player, rode his wildcard entry into the event for all it was worth by giving Egypt’s Tarek Momen more than he bargained for.

“It’s always tough when you play against a player and the crowd,” said Momen afterwards. “It was tough, but I got to hit with him yesterday and today, so I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. I was glad to get the first game, because he had a really big lead, like 8-2.” Lovejoy also had four game balls at 10-6, but Momen showed why he’s World No. 3 by taking the next six points to escape with the first.

Momen’s momentum continued in the second game as he jumped out to an early lead. It was then that Lovejoy put in a herculean effort, running the full diagonal of the court four times to win a point, which pulled the already partisan crowd out of their seats. Lovejoy rode that wave for a couple more rallies before succumbing 11-9.

Nine minutes—including the two minute break between games—is all it took for American Amanda Sobhy to crush Egypt’s Nadine Shahin. Total dominance with length and width is all that can be said. Whatever Sobhy had for breakfast, she might want to stick with it. Next up is Tesni Evans from Wales on Saturday night in the quarterfinals.

Egypt’s Ali Farag may have idolized his countryman Omar Mosaad, when Mosaad was World No. 3 and Farag was just beginning his professional career, but he showed no mercy in dismissing Mosaad in two methodical games, 11-4, 11-7.

Farag is all about pressure imposed with both precision and quickness. His length and pace on the ball are punishing, and his quickness is both impressive and irritating to whoever he plays. It’s rare to see a ball put out of Farag’s reach, and tonight Mosaad just couldn’t do enough in their 23-minute encounter.

England’s two-time champion, Sarah-Jane Perry, capped the evening with another dominant display of power and length, and she extended her career record over Egypt’s Rowan Elaraby to 3-0.

Midway through the second game, Elaraby managed to take a lead for the first time, but never by more than a single point. Rather than take a chance of the game getting away from her, Perry regained control when down 8-9 to run the table and move herself into the quarterfinals.

Saturday’s quarterfinals are split into two sessions, the first beginning at 1:00pm, and the evening session starting at 6:45pm with a special recognition of NorCal Squash coaches.

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