Farag, Sobhy Excel at the Tournament of Champions

Farag and Sobhy advanced to the main draw of the Tournament of Champions (photo courtesy Ian MacLellan). 

NEW YORK, N.Y.Ali Farag and Amanda Sobhy had a strong showing in the 17th edition of the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions in New York City, as both Crimson student-athletes advanced to the main draw of the event and had the chance to play on the glass court at Grand Central Terminal.

Farag defeated Australia's Ryan Cuskelly in straight sets to advance to round two of qualifying.  The Cario, Egpyt, native stunned Cesear Salazar of Mexico in three games.

The first game was a back-and-fourth battle until Farag took control and won 11-9. The Harvard senior gained momentum and went on to win the second match 11-4.  In the third game, Farag took a 10-7 lead before Salazar fought back to tie the game at 10 all. Farag closed the game with two unanswered points to earn his first trip to the main draw.

On the glass courts of Grand Central Terminal, Farag saw his run come to an end as he was outlasted by England's Chris Simspon, 9-11, 11-0, 12-10, 11-5.

In the first round of qualifying, Sobhy, ranked 18th in the world, faced former Harvard teammate CeCe Cortes '13. Sobhy strung together a strong effort as she took down Cortes, 11-3, 11-4, 11-4, in just 19 minutes to advance to the next round.

With a trip to the main draw of the event at Grand Central Tournament on the line, Sobhy took on No. 16 Nour El Sherbini from Egypt. After taking a 2-0 lead, El Sherbini opened the third set with a 5-0 run before Sobhy began to turn the match around. With the Harvard women's squash team cheering loudly, Sobhy gained momentum and went on to win the third set, 11-8. The Sea Cliff, N.Y., native completed the remarkable comeback when she took the last two sets, 11-6 and 11-5 to earn a spot in the main draw for the second consecutive year and a chance to play in Grand Central Terminal.

Sobhy faced fourth seed Alison Waters of England on the glass court in Grand Central tournament. The Harvard junior fell in straight sets, 11-3, 11-9, 11-6.

Farag is 5-0 on the top spot for the Harvard men's team, while Sobhy owns a 4-0 record in the top spot for the women's team. Both Crimson student-athletes have helped their respective teams to undefeated records so far this season.

Farag and Sobhy return to Cambridge, Mass., this weekend to help the Crimson take on St. Lawrence Jan. 25 and Rochester Jan. 26.