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Olivia Blatchford Clyne

Black Ball Open RD2: Blatchford Clyne Comes Out on Top in All-USA Battle

World No.16 Olivia Blatchford Clyne was forced to come from two games down as she defeated compatriot Sabrina Sobhy in an-all USA battle in round two of the CIB Black Ball Squash Open in Cairo, Egypt.

Sobhy, who after recently moving to Cairo now trains at the Black Ball Sporting Club, was on fire in the opening two games as she saved one game ball in the first to take the lead before doubling her advantage in the second to break away from Blatchford Clyne with the higher seeded American struggling to break the rhythm of the World No.32.

Blatchford Clyne regrouped well in the third though and with the scoreline tied at 7-7 she was able to edge ahead and hand herself a lifeline as she got a game back.

That seemed to set the USA No.2 free as she made the most of errors beginning to creep into Sobhy’s game and was able to find her rhythm to draw level in the fourth.

Sobhy was once again able to get herself in front in the fifth, before Blatchford Clyne showed her resilience to get back from 5-1 down to get back on level terms.

Both USA players continued to trade points with each other until Blatchford Clyne was able to use her experience to complete her comeback with a 10-12, 6-11, 11-7, 11-4, 11-8 victory and set up another all-American tie in the last 16 against Sabrina’s older sister, Amanda.

“I’ve watched Sabrina grow up, literally since she was in diapers and there’s no doubt that she is an immense talent,” said Blatchford Clyne afterwards.

“I knew that if I could weather the storm a little bit, say she is going to hit some beautiful winners, which she did and I just thought ‘if she is going to win this, she’s going to have to pry it from my cold dead body and I will die getting every ball back.’ Sometimes that’s all you need and to refuse to give in.

“Two weeks from now is US Nationals and so we’ll be playing again in two weeks, hopefully. I think it’s just a matter of trying to get into the groove. Amanda is obviously fantastic and she leads our team so well. You just have to get into the right mind set again to be able to go in and have that never say die attitude.”

Result:
[13] Olivia Blatchford Clyne (USA) bt Sabrina Sobhy (USA) 3-2: 10-12, 6-11, 11-7, 11-4, 11-8 (58m)

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