United States No.1 Amanda Sobhy continued her 2020 Manchester Open campaign with a fine 3-1 win over Belgium’s Tinne Gilis on day four of the PSA World Tour Silver event.
Sobhy enjoyed a comfortable opening round win over Emilia Soini in just 23 minutes but was tested at times against the up-and-coming Gilis, who begins the season ranked inside the top 20.
The first game went the way of the American but she surrendered a challenging second game as Gilis showcased the kind of form that has seen her surge up the rankings over the past year.
Sobhy regrouped though as the second game looked to sharpen her senses and the World No.7 came out a different player in the third game, dropping just five points to restore her lead.
US No.1— PSA World Tour (@PSAWorldTour) September 19, 2020
itssobhytime</a> could have won this point so much earlier, but <a href="https://twitter.com/TinneGilis?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">TinneGilis was not going to make it easy! Great retrieving from the Belgian#SquashIsBack #MCROpen #MCRactive pic.twitter.com/lflcONwdIP
The fourth was more closely-contested as Sobhy came back from game ball down, but she was left kicking herself after slamming a shot into the tin from the front of the court with her second match ball, with Gilis way out of position.
Gilis wasn’t able to punish her opponent though as a stroke handed Sobhy a third match ball, before another stroke given against the Belgian brought the match to an end and sent Sobhy through to the quarter-finals.
"She has improved a ton. This is the first time we played and it caught me off-guard with how many balls she got back."— PSA World Tour (@PSAWorldTour) September 19, 2020
itssobhytime</a> was complimentary of <a href="https://twitter.com/TinneGilis?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">TinneGilis's performance following their clash in the second round of the #MCROpen#SquashIsBack #MCRactive pic.twitter.com/frnxWqAlhM
“It was a little up and down and I think the scores reflected that,” said Sobhy afterwards.
“She has improved a ton and this is the first time we've played, so it caught me off guard how many balls she got back. She fully deserves to be in the top 20 these days and I’m sure she’s going to keep moving up. I tried to stick to my game plan and focus on the things that I could do instead of the winners that she was hitting or the balls she was picking up.
“I think I had a bit of a lapse in the second and regrouped nicely in the third and then the fourth was a little up and down and I absolutely bottled that match ball. At some point, if I’m going to keep getting a bunch of strokes in my favour then I have to capitalise on one of them, so I’m glad I did.
“I was saying to myself that I got another stroke so I had another chance and then there was the one where I completely shanked the ball into the tin. I literally could have hit anything on the front wall and it would have been a winner but I have a love affair with the tin sometimes.
“All in all, I’m relieved to have won in four and I think I needed that big test of a match to dust off the cobwebs from the six-month break and also to gear up for the quarters because it’s just going to keep getting better and better.”
 Amanda Sobhy (USA) bt  Tinne Gilis (BEL) 3-1: 11-5, 9-11, 11-5, 14-12 (44m)