The last point went the wrong way for Amanda Sobhy. She hugged her Egyptian opponent inside the four glass walls that housed the squash court at Grand Central Terminal, her dreams of taking the title squashed at the final stop.
Sobhy made history at the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions, becoming the first American-born player, man or woman, to reach the semis and the final of this Professional Squash Association World Series event.
But the 22-year-old Sea Cliff native fell to Nour El Sherbini of Egypt in the championship match Thursday night in Vanderbilt Hall, 11-4, 9-11, 12-10, 11-8.
“It’s obviously upsetting, but I gave everything I had,” Sobhy said. “She just played better. I can’t be too upset. I had a great run . . . ”
Sobhy is ranked eighth in the world, the highest ever for an American. She earned enough points here to jump into the top eight on the “Road to Dubai.” That’s where the World Series finals will be held in May. Only eight women and eight men go. There are three tournaments left to secure a spot.
She also earned $13,500, part of the $150,000 purse — equal to the men for the first time.
“The fact that the three World Series tournaments in the U.S. are all equal prize money is a huge deal for squash in the U.S.,” Sobhy said.
El Sherbini took eight of the final nine points in the first game. “I got off to a slow start combined with she was just very powerful,” Sobhy said.
Sobhy tied it, then fell behind 5-0 in the third before rallying — only to lose the tie-break.
El Sherbini quickly went up 6-1 in the fourth. Sobhy sliced it to 8-7. But El Sherbini pulled free, then paid tribute, saying, “She’s amazing. Her game is very tough.”