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Ciudad de Floridablanca - Quarter-Finals: As It Happens

Follow us here for reports and reaction as the Ciudad de Floridablanca hits the quarter-final stage here in Colombia.

United States No.1 Amanda Sobhy and Welsh World No.19 Tesni Evans go head-to-head in a battle for a place in the last four, while the legendary Nicol David is also in action against Hong Kong's Joey Chan.

English duo Alison Waters and Victoria Lust line up against each other, while World No.15 Emily Whitlock meets World No.27 Olivia Blatchford.

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

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Here's the Order of Play
(All times are local GMT-5)
18:30 [1] Amanda Sobhy (USA) v [8] Tesni Evans (WAL)
19:15 [5] Emily Whitlock (ENG) v Olivia Blatchford (USA)
20:00 [3] Alison Waters (ENG) v [6] Victoria Lust (ENG)
20:45 [7] Joey Chan (HKG) v [2] Nicol David (MAS)

Dominant Sobhy Continues Title Charge with Win Over Evans

Top seed Amanda Sobhy put in an indomitable display to axe Welsh World No.19 Tesni Evans in straight games and continue her title march in Floridablanca.

The charismatic American had prevailed in all three of the pair’s previous meetings on the PSA World Tour, but their last fixture saw Evans push the World No.6 all the way to five games.

But Evans – who this month recorded her second ever month inside the world’s top 20 – wasn’t able to get her game going at the Parque El Santisimo, with an impressive performance from Sobhy seeing her dominate the court.

A slow start from the Welsh player saw Sobhy rack up seven game balls in the opener, before Evans began to move the Harvard-graduate around the court more to rattle off four points in succession.

Sobhy managed to hold her nerve though to take the lead, and it was one that she wouldn’t relinquish, with her powerful hitting and strong retrieving seeing her complete an 11-7, 11-4, 11-6 victory to seal her place in tomorrow’s semi-finals.

“I knew that the last couple of times Tesni and I have played, it has been tough and I know she’s in good form,” said Sobhy.

“I tried to implement my fast pace from the beginning and I tried to hold and stop and start her because she’s really good when she gets into a rhythm.

“If you play at a medium pace then she’s deadly. I tried to take that away from her and I’m really pleased that I was able to execute it in three games and that I was able to move well and still be breathing after the match.”

A partially torn fascia on the bottom of Sobhy’s right foot has contributed to a slight dip in form at the start of 2017, but Sobhy says she is close to 100 per cent as she targets a 15th Tour title.

“It’s [the injury] still there, but barely. I’m just trying to get all the squash muscles back into it and shake off the cobwebs because I wasn’t able to really be on court until five weeks after the Tournament of Champions [in January].

“I’m going in here having just played in Chicago [the Windy City Open] and a week of training and I feel as I play more and more matches I’m getting my match fitness back. I’m hoping to continue and each match should get better and better.”

[1] Amanda Sobhy (USA) bt [8] Tesni Evans (WAL) 3-0: 11-7, 11-4, 11-6 (38m)

Blatchford Comes Through Against Injury-Stricken Whitlock

World No.27 Olivia Blatchford set up a meeting with compatriot Sobhy for a second tournament in a row after an injury to her quarter-final opponent – World No.15 Emily Whitlock, cut their match short.

The pair had been playing out an intriguing match, which saw both players overturn leads in the opening two games to leave the scores tightly poised at one-game apiece.

But Whitlock pulled up mid-way through the third game after sustaining a hip injury when moving back to play a shot and, despite battling through the pain barrier to see out the game, was forced to retire before the fourth game could get under way, sealing Blatchford’s spot in her biggest ever PSA World Tour semi-final.

“It was such a bummer that it ended the way it did, Emily is a fantastic player and I had no doubt that, had she been able to continue and was healthy, that we were going to have a crazy battle,” said Connecticut-based Blatchford.

“All-in-all it’s a massive step in the right direction for my career. I felt really confident going into it and, while it’s not the way I wanted to win, it’s a step forward.”

Sobhy won the last meeting between the pair in last month’s Windy City Open and Blatchford is anticipating an exciting match between the two friends.

“We know each-other very well, inside and out. She’s a teammate, a friend and she’s my roommate here. I have great respect for her and her game. Hopefully tomorrow will see two girls trying to go at it no matter how well they know each-other’s games.

“We’ll really be trying to take it to each other and that makes it all the more fun too. Then it becomes even more of a mind-game.”

Olivia Blatchford (USA) bt [5] Emily Whitlock: 3-1: 11-4, 10-12, 11-5 ret. (36m)

Waters Defeats Lust to Reach Biggest Semi-Final Since 2015

England’s former World No.3 Alison Waters had to dig in to come through a tough five-game affair against compatriot Victoria Lust, sealing her place in her biggest Tour semi-final since 2015.

The match saw both players put together spells of dominance and error-strewn periods in equal measure, with Waters prevailing in a tense decider to record an 11-7, 16-18, 11-7, 7-11, 15-13 triumph and move to within one win of the showpiece finale.

“You train hard in these situations and I was confident in those last couple of points,” said Waters.

“When you start thinking that you’re in trouble when you’re match ball down, you’ve got to focus not on the score, but on that rally. I think I was positive in those last couple of rallies and I think that makes a difference.

“I’ve had some good results recently, I lost to [World No.2] Camille [Serme] in the final of the Cleveland Classic and in Chicago, but I’ve been playing well and I’m really pleased to be in the semi-finals.

“It was a tough match tonight, but I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s match.”

Waters contained Lust well in the early stages of a fairly one-sided first game as the 32-year-old remained patient and picked off her opponent, five years her junior.

But she surrendered five game balls in the second game to allow a tenacious Lust back into the encounter after a succession of errors, with the World No.16 taking it 18-16 on the tie-break.

The pair then sparred for supremacy over the course of the next two games, with each player winning a game each to set up a nervy, deciding fifth game.

Lust was forced to reel Waters back in after a strong start from the World No.10 and she overturned three match balls to go match ball up herself after Waters hit yet more errors.

However, Waters drew on her vast experience to hold her nerve at the crucial moments and she found her way back in front despite Lust’s impressive retrieval abilities to seal the win.

[3] Alison Waters (ENG) bt [6] Victoria Lust (ENG) 3-2: 11-7, 16-18, 11-7, 7-11, 15-13 (73m)

David Beats Chan to Reach Last Four

Malaysian superstar Nicol David sealed her place in the semi-finals after she fended off a strong challenge from Hong Kong’s Joey Chan.

David, the World No.7, made strong starts at the outset of both the first and second games, going 7-1 and 6-2 up, respectively, but a change in style from Chan saw the World No.17 move David around the court to force a tie-break in both.

The Penangite held out though to win both games by a 12-10 margin and she dominated the third for the loss of three points to wrap up the win in 31 minutes.

“I felt good at the start and I think it was a good match,” said David.

“I knew that in the third game, after being 2-0 up, that I could go up another gear. I felt a bit more confident to do what I had to do, so I’m very pleased to win that one 3-0.

“I’m really excited to play in the semis here in Colombia. It’s such a great venue, I’ve been feeling good and I’m going to give it all I’ve got tomorrow.”

[2] Nicol David (MAS) bt [7] Joey Chan (HKG) 3-0: 12-10, 12-10, 11-3 (31m)

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