Exactly one year after rupturing her Achilles, Amanda Sobhy defeated college individual champion Reeham Sedky to earn a fourth career U.S. Women’s Championship title Saturday evening at the Philadelphia Cricket Club.
Sedky entered her second consecutive U.S. Women’s Championship final having upset defending champion Olivia Blatchford in Friday’s semifinals, and having completed an undefeated college season with UPenn that culminated in her first college individual title last weekend.
Sobhy, a former four-time college individual champion with Harvard, made her seventh nationals final appearance in search of her fourth title. Competing in front of a packed gallery of National Singles players, the twenty-four-year-old from Sea Cliff, New York, dispatched Sedky 11-6, 11-8, 11-4.
Sobhy credited Sedky for her continued rise in the domestic game, and tipped the UPenn Junior to represent Team USA in what would be her second Women’s World Team Championship this fall.
“Reeham’s been playing so well and just finished up an undefeated college season, so well done to her,” Sobhy said of Sedky, who made her senior Team USA debut with Sobhy at the 2016 Women’s World Team Championship. “We have women’s world teams coming up in September, and a few years ago we were looking at an eighth place finish or lower. Now we’re up to five, and with Reeham excelling, Olivia playing so well, and now Marina, Sabrina, Olivia Fiechter and so many other younger players coming up strong, now we want to be on the podium. We want to be top three.”
On March 10, 2017, with match ball up against U.S. teammate Olivia Blatchford in the semifinals of a $70,000 tournament in Colombia, Sobhy sustained the major blow to her young career. She was twenty-three years old and just reached a career-high ranking of world No. 6.
“It’s been an unbelievable journey,” Sobhy said of her recovery. “When it happened I was in complete shock. Since then it’s been an uphill battle. When I saw the date of this event I really wanted to go on court and make a statement. I wanted to prove the saying that you come back from an injury stronger, and I want to say that I’m back and better than ever.”
Since graduating from Harvard in 2015, Sobhy has been supported by the US Squash Elite Athlete Program.
“I really need to thank my entire team and family, this is not a solo effort,” Sobhy said. “Throughout this entire journey, US Squash and my sponsors Harrow have been my two main supporters. It’s easy for sponsors to drop support for an injured athlete, but US Squash was there the entire way supporting me, as was Harrow, and I can’t thank them enough. My team in Boston, Thierry and my fitness coach Michah, were there for me the whole time. Also my team here in Philly, Joe Zarett totally turned my rehab around in October when I felt my progress wasn’t where it needed to be–they brought me back to life physically.”
Sobhy adds the 2018 U.S. Women’s Championship title to her 2016, 2015 and 2012 titles. Unlike her previous three national titles, Sobhy lifted a brand new trophy donated by the Desai family last year. Sunil Desai, who announced the development of a new trophy two years ago when Sobhy last won the title in 2016, presented Sobhy with the new trophy on court for the first time.
“We’re really happy that Amanda is fully recovered and back in action,” Desai said. “Amanda, Reeham and all of the women’s championship competitors this weekend really have proven that they are just as much the athletes and competitors as the men are, and have been deserving of parity in pay and recognition that for too many years they did not receive.”
The S.L. Green U.S. Men’s Champion and thirteen National Singles champions will join Sobhy on Sunday. Finals are streaming live from 9am EDT on ussquash.com/live.