After a number of near misses and ‘could have beens’, the 2022 WSF Women’s World Team Championship felt like the tournament that USA announced itself to the world as the true rival to the brilliance of Egypt’s recent hegemony.
At Madinaty Sporting Club, a USA team of Amanda Sobhy, Olivia Fiechter, Sabrina – younger sister to Amanda – Sobhy and Olivia Clyne progressed through to the final without losing a match, winning all their ties 3-0 before beating seven-time champions England 2-0 in the semi-finals.
All this from a side that previously had never made it past fifth place.
The final, too, showed how far this US side has progressed, with Amanda Sobhy having two match balls in the opening clash against World No.1 Nouran Gohar before eventually going down 3-2, before reigning individual and team world champion Nour El Sherbini sealed the tie with a 3-0 win over Olivia Fiechter.
After this year’s strong run, there’s plenty of reason to expect the USA to replicate this form in two years’ time.
Every member of the 2022 squad, who have no doubt benefited from the elite training facilities at the state-of-the-art Arlen Specter US Squash Center, are young enough to play at the next tournament.
Further, with 20-year-old Marina Stefanoni and her 18-year-old sister Lucie, both of whom are ranked within the top 100 already, waiting in the wings, it feels like the USA team could be competitive for a long time to come.
Reflecting on the tournament, it’s clear that there is only pride at having progressed so far and pushed Egypt to the brink.
US coach Ong Beng Hee spoke afterwards of the cohesion felt by the team, who are more familiar to each other as rivals on the PSA World Tour: “We are very proud of the girls, with the way they have been all week, close together, pushing in the same direction, putting their ego aside, and played a team, fantastic performance really.
“We were very close, Amanda showed she can compete, she had two match balls and she showed that if she wants to be at the top, she can be at the top.”
Sharing her thoughts on Twitter after the final, Amanda Sobhy added: “SO proud of us! Couldn’t have done it without this amazing squad.”
Khaled Sobhy, Amanda and Sabrina’s father, added: “I am so proud, very proud. That the USA were in the final, it’s great for the sport. All the players did very well, having fun and enjoying it, it’s good to see.”
US Squash President and CEO Kevin Klipstein said: “We are proud too, Amanda, a remarkable accomplishment. Truly challenging for the world title, congratulations to the squad and all those in support.
After smashing their previous World Teams record in Cairo, could USA go one further in 2024?
We are proud too Amanda, a remarkable accomplishment. Truly challenging for the world title, congratulations to the squad and all those in support. https://t.co/v6rMCZLIFP
— Kevin Klipstein (@kdklipstein) December 17, 2022