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United States No.1 Amanda Sobhy in action

Ciudad de Floridablanca - Round One: As It Happens

Follow us here for reports and reaction as the first round of the inaugural Ciudad de Floridablanca – the most lucrative women's squash tournament of all time – begins on International Women's Day in Colombia.

Top seeds Amanda Sobhy and Nicol David take on qualifiers Millie Tomlinson and Samantha Teran, respectively, while the likes of Alison Waters, Annie Au and Emily Whitock are also in action.

You can watch the action LIVE on SQUASHTV and Eurosport Player.

Not able to watch? Check out our live scoring page

Main Draw – First Round: 2017 Ciudad de Floridablanca
[1] Amanda Sobhy (USA) v [Q] Millie Tomlinson (ENG)
Heba El Torky (EGY) v [8] Tesni Evans (WAL)
[5] Emily Whitlock (ENG) v [WC] Catalina Pelaez (COL)
Olivia Blatchford (USA) v [4] Annie Au (HKG)
[3] Alison Waters (ENG) v Salma Hany Ibrahim (EGY)
[Q] Coline Aumard (FRA) v [6] Victoria Lust (ENG)
[7] Joey Chan (HKG) v [Q] Hollie Naughton (CAN)
[Q] Samantha Teran (MEX) v [2] Nicol David (MAS)

The following matches will be broadcast LIVE on SQUASHTV and Eurosport Player
(All times are local GMT-5)
19:35 [5] Emily Whitlock (ENG) v [WC] Catalina Pelaez (COL)
20:15 [1] Amanda Sobhy (USA) v [Q] Millie Tomlinson (ENG)
21:00 [Q] Samantha Teran (MEX) v [2] Nicol David (MAS)

Lust Comes Through Aumard Test to Set Up Quarters Clash with Waters

England’s World No.16 Victoria Lust came back from a game down to beat French qualifier Coline Aumard in the opening match of the inaugural Ciudad de Floridablanca to earn her quarter-final spot.

Lust, 27, was up against it in the early stages as a rampant Aumard dominated all four corners of the court to power to a one-game lead for the loss of five points, with her inch-perfect length hitting causing all sorts of problems for her opponent.

Aumard also had the better in the opening exchanges of the second game, with Lust cutting a frustrated figure on court at she went 6-3 down. But a loss of accuracy from Aumard saw her concede a couple of strokes, which allowed Lust back into the encounter and she duly levelled.

Lust continued where she left off in the third as she surged to a 7-1 lead, eventually closing it out 11-4, and she stayed on top in the fourth to wrap up a 5-11, 11-9, 11-4, 11-7 victory, sealing a fifth successive Tour win over World No.32 Aumard.

“I’ve played Coline all through juniors and quite a lot on the Tour, so I know that if she is ‘on’ she doesn’t make any errors,” said Lust.

“Mentally, it was more about trying to keep it straight, keep it tight and wait for those errors to come. In the first game, I played a bit open, so mentally I was just trying to reel myself back into my game and how I wanted to play.”

Lust’s win means that she will compete on the glass show court at the stunning Parque El Santisimo – which offers unparalleled views of the surrounding cities of Floridablanca and Bucaramanga – and she is looking forward to taking to the court in the spectacular setting.

“The venue looks awesome, I haven’t been up there yet, but it’s a pretty cool venue to play under the statue of Chris [the Redeemer]. It’s unlike any venue that I have ever played at. The Pyramids [in Giza, Egypt] are probably the closest, and I’m really looking forward to it.”

Lust will take on compatriot and World No.10 Alison Waters for a place in the last four after the 32-year-old saw off the threat of Egypt’s Salma Hany Ibrahim – avenging her defeat to the World No.20 in January’s J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions.

“I lost 3-2 to her last time, so I was keen to come back,” Waters said.

“The first game was crucial with the tie-break. I’m happy with the win, especially after losing last time.

“I learnt a lot from last time I played her, I came in with a good game plan and I think that paid off. I was making winning shots at crucial points while she was making errors, so I’m really pleased.”

[6] Victoria Lust (ENG) bt [Q] Coline Aumard (FRA) 3-1: 5-11, 11-9, 11-4, 11-7 (46m)
[3] Alison Waters (ENG) bt Salma Hany Ibrahim (EGY) 3-0: 12-10, 11-6, 11-7 (31m)

Big Win for Blatchford Over Au

United States No.2 Olivia Blatchford claimed the first scalp of the tournament after the World No.27 bridged a 15-place gap in the World Rankings to see off Hong Kong number four seed Annie Au in an exciting five game clash.

The pair were meeting for the first time since 2011, with Au winning, but Blatchford seized the upper hand on this occasion, overturning a game ball to triumph on the tie-break in game one.

Hong Kong’s Au soon found her way back into the encounter by attacking the space with some intelligent shots and she took the next two games 11-6, 11-9 to go ahead.

But Blatchford’s impressive fitness began to kick in, in the fourth as she ground out an 11-7 victory to restore parity, before powering through to the win in impressive style in the title decider, dropping just two points in the process.

Blatchford will now face either England’s Emily Whitlock or tournament wildcard Cataline Pelaez in the quarter-finals.

“It was like a see-saw, sometimes I played well and other times I was like ‘what are you doing!?” Blatchford said.

“I tried really hard and that’s why I do all this fitness work because, when I have these games, I know that I can go for it 100 per cent.

“I wanted to get a good start, which I did, but she came back and she is really clever, so my goal was to make it physical and up the pace. Work the front and back corners, really push the tempo and try to cut out some of the errors.

“That was my goal and I managed to do that. I can’t wait to get on the glass court now, I’m super excited.”

Olivia Blatchford (USA) bt [4] Annie Au (HKG) 3-2: 13-11, 6-11, 9-11, 11-7, 11-2 (65m)

Whitlock Downs Home Hero Pelaez

Emily Whitlock (right) takes on Catalina Pelaez (left)

England’s World No.15 Emily Whitlock earned her place in the quarter-finals after eliminating crowd favourite and Women’s Colombian No.1 Catalina Pelaez in straight games.

The match had been delayed for just over an hour after a prolonged period of rainfall meant that the match was nearly moved to the qualification venue – the Club Campestre Bucaramanga – before it was eventually deemed safe to play on.

And it was Whitlock who began the stronger of the two, with the 23-year-old hitting clinically throughout the encounter, forcing errors from the tournament wildcard after moving her to the front of the court before unleashing some accurate drives to the back.

After going a game ahead, Whitlock was briefly troubled by a resurgent Pelaez – who sat out much of last year due to knee tendonitis – with the World No.84 asking questions of the Englishwoman at the early stages of the second and third games.

But Whitlock kept up her steady pace of hitting to come out on top in both games, with an 11-4, 11-8, 11-5 victory seeing her through to the last eight where United States No.2 Blatchford awaits.

“It’s unsettling when you’re not quite sure where you’re going to be playing, but I’m really happy that we got to play here, especially because I was playing Catalina,” said Whitlock.

“I want to thank everyone who stayed because they are really wet! The court is really nice, I just hope it’s dry tomorrow.

“I really enjoyed playing Catalina. I know she has had a knee injury, I just hope she can get that fixed soon and start playing at her very best.”

[5] Emily Whitlock (ENG) bt [WC] Catalina Pelaez (COL) 3-0: 11-4, 11-8, 11-5 (28m)

Sobhy Sweeps Past Tomlinson

A strong showing from United States No.1 Amanda Sobhy saw her storm to a one-sided victory over England’s Millie Tomlinson in just 23 minutes to book her quarter-final berth against Welsh World No.19 Tesni Evans.

Sobhy, seeded first for the tournament, was in a rampant mood from the off as her typically attacking brand of squash paid immediate dividends, with Tomlinson struggling to live with the charismatic American’s power.

A devastating display from Sobhy saw her ease to the win by an 11-6, 11-1, 11-2 margin – and she was effusive about playing in the stunning Parque el Santisimo in the shadow of the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue.

“I’m happy, it’s so hot, and with the delay we’re cutting into my bed time,” an upbeat Sobhy said.

“I need to eat and sleep, so that kind of sped things up a little bit. It’s tough with the delay, but luckily I’m used to it, I’ve had a few delays in the past.

“I prepared myself figuring that there would be a delay, and it’s just something you can’t control, it’s just a funny situation. The only thing you can do is laugh about it, stay relaxed and try to be as focused as you can be when you get on.

“I feel like a kid in a candy shop here, the venue is awesome. It’s an amazing venue regardless of the weather and I’m so thankful that the mayor of Floridablanca [Hector Mantilla] and Squash Colombia have been able to put this event on for us.”

Sobhy and Evans will go head-to-head in a mouthwatering quarter-final clash after Evans recovered from a game down to defeat Egypt’s Heba El Torky on the traditional courts – and she is excited to make her glass court bow on the second day of action.

“I lost to Heba last time, so this time I knew what to do,” said Evans.

“It was good that I could remain calm after going a game down and then a game ball down in the second game.

“All the girls have been talking about how cool the court looks and I’ve really wanted to play on it. After what everyone has been saying and the pictures, I’m very excited to get there and it’s definitely been a big motivation for me today.”

[1] Amanda Sobhy (USA) bt [Q] Millie Tomlinson (ENG) 3-0: 11-6, 11-1, 11-2 (23m)
[8] Tesni Evans (WAL) bt Heba El Torky (EGY) 3-1: 9-11, 12-10, 11-9, 11-3 (56m)

David Dispatches Teran to Progress

Malaysia’s eight-time World Champion Nicol David got her Ciudad de Floridablanca campaign off to a winning start after easing to a win in straight games over training partner Samantha Teran at the stunning Parque el Santisimo.

The duo, who both train under the legendary coach Liz Irving, played out the last match of the evening at the Parque el Santisimo, with David soon finding her rhythm after a scrappy start, profiting off some loose shots from Teran to go a game up.

Teran improved in game two, but David tightened up at the front of the court to seal an 11-2, 11-7, 11-3 victory in 25 minutes to set up a quarter-final meeting with Hong Kong’s Joey Chan after she beat Hollie Naughton.

“It’s always difficult to play a good friend of yours, but I knew I had to go in really strong,” said David.

“I know she’s been playing pretty well, so I came into the match pretty focused to make sure that I took control straight away. Today I really kept on top of my task. I knew I had to be sharp today, so I was pleased to perform the way I did.

“It gives you so much energy on court when you play here with the Santisimo giving you its blessing. It’s remarkable how they have put this court up here and you can’t really replicate this feeling.”

[2] Nicol David (MAS) bt [Q] Samantha Teran (MEX) 3-0: 11-2, 11-7, 11-3 (25m)
[7] Joey Chan (HKG) bt [Q] Hollie Naughton (CAN) 3-1: 3-11, 11-6, 11-7, 11-8 (41m)

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