‘Team Sobhy’ 2, England, 0

[2] USA 2-0 [3] ENGLAND
Sabrina Sobhy
3-0 Julianne Courtice   11-5, 11-5, 11-3 (25m)
Amanda Sobhy 3-1 Jasmine Hutton  10-12, 13-11, 11-7, 11-2 (39m)
Olivia Fiechter v Lucy Turmel      w/d

Well, it would have been a lovely story if England, without their top two players, had been able to overtake USA and play their 20th final tomorrow. And in my mind, they could have. The way Jasmine and Lucy played to kick France out of the medal yesterday was purely phenomenal. And I thought they could darn well do it again today, even without SJ at 1.

But players aren’t machines. And Jasmine, who I feel went beyond duty in her last two matches, loses in the last match of the pools, 12/10 in the 5th, then destroying France’s hopes 3/0 in 24m against Legend Camille Serme, had used a lot of her mental and physical reserves in the last two days.

Then again, what to say about Amanda? The day before, Amanda clinched the victory against Canada’s Hollie Naughton 14/12 in the 5th. Still, that was the first match on, and not the decider, contrarily to Jasmine.

But as Hania’s mum commented today “Amanda’s got the perfect game plan”. Yes she did. She was able to neutralise Jasmine’s sharpness by putting a heck of a lot of work in the English tired legs. But the second is probably the turning point.

Rewind to a very good match from Jules Courtice, score doesn’t tell the whole story to be honest. And what a moment for Jules to be able to play for her country in the semis of the Worlds!

Sarah Jane Perry

“No, knee is fine, just a bit of trouble with my elbow, it’s been in and out but Melissa played very well yesterday, I’ve got faith in the team without me, so it wasn’t a hard decision to take, it was a sensible decision for me and the team.

“And for Julianne, it’s a great experience to play in the semi-finals of the World Championship!

Jas took the first game for England, 12m – on that court, that’s about a normal Nour El Sherbini’s match – throwing all what she had left I felt. Down 5/2, we heard that COME ON that we heard so much yesterday against Serme, every time when she was dominating and finding her splendid sharp attacks. 5/5 we went, 6/6, 8/6 England. USA levels, 8/8, 9/9.

First opportunity for Jas to close the opener, but it’s on her second attempt that she takes the game, 12/10. We have a match on our hands.

And that second, that second, where Jasmine played “le tout pour le tout”, threw all what she had left to try and clinch the crucial pivot: 5/5, 6/6, Amanda winning a succession of quick and painful winners – for England that is – 10/7, game ball. Jas goes of it, and levels, 10/10. It’s still possible, 11/11. But no, she doesn’t get a chance to close it and Amanda clinches that one, 13/11 in 10m.

After the 2m rest, pumped up Jaz is. And up she goes again, 6/2. But that’s all that she had left. Amanda will take that third in two hands, 11/7 in 8m, and the last one 11/2 in 5m.

But what a tournament for Jasmine. You are probably looking at a world number one in the making. Nothing less.

David Campion (Coach to England)

“With SJ carrying a couple of issues at the moment and managing that, we felt it was the best thing for the team and to give the team [the experience]. I think particularly Jazz, with the way she played last night, it was important for her to come in second. She gave a great account of herself,” he said.

“It was always going to be a tall order for Jools [Courtice] at the start against Sabrina who’s playing very well. We felt that with the way Jazz is playing, and the way she played last night, then there was no reason why she couldn’t produce that again on there tonight and I think for two-and-a-half games she did. She put herself in a position where she had a a chance to close out.

“But Amanda’s a quality operator and it was all about who could get in first, they’re both great squash players. I’m pleased for Jazz to have produced that level at this stage.

Ong Beng Hee, coach to USA

“Obviously, when we found out that the line out from England, and the fact they were not playing Sarah Jane, we felt the pressure, with Amanda having a hard match yesterday, we were not sure about her condition, but today, she showed up.

“Now, with Sabrina we were very confident as she’s been playing very well, and she did deliver that first point, as we thought.

“All credit to both sisters, they brought it home…

Team Sobhy

Amanda: Yes, I did show up today… Sabrina: we feel relieved … Amanda: a big relief, excitment, proud of what we did, proud for our country, for the Team, doing it for USTeam, for each other…

Amanda: We had a rough couple of weeks… Sabrina: For sure… Amanda: so for us to play this well today, finding our squash and groove again, that means more to us than anything, doing it for ourselves, for the Teams….