Favourite Abouaish Survives World Marathon In Poland
10 Aug 2016
For the second time in 24 hours, Egyptian favourite Saadeldin Abouaish survived a five-game marathon in the VDC Dental-Care WSF World Junior Squash Championships before claiming his place in the men's semi-finals of the World Squash Federation event in the Polish city of Bielsko-Biała.
The match against Benjamin Aubert, a 5/8 seed from France, was the first and last of the quarter-final session at Enjoy Squash - which was poised at 6-4 to Abouaish when Egyptian's racket clipped the Frenchman's face, and play was stopped for treatment. After a while it was decided to continue with the other matches and resume when Aubert had recovered.
On resumption, Abouaish quickly closed out the first game before losing a close second - which involved another clash on the head and another blood injury break for Aubert!
At 1/2 down for the second day in a row after Aubert took the third, the Cairo-based 18-year-old raced through the fourth to set up a decider. Aubert fought back from 0-4 down to level at six-all, but Abouaish ultimately prevailed 11-5, 12-14, 6-11, 11-2, 11-9 after 80 minutes to reach the semi-finals for the second successive year.
"I've never played a match like that before," said the exuberant Egyptian. "So many stoppages, so long, and such a tough match. I'm relieved to come from two-one down again, I'm sure it was great entertainment - but not great to play in!"
Abouaish will now take on 3/4 seed Israr Ahmed for a place in his first final. Ahmed, also 18 and from Lahore, kept Pakistan's hopes alive after defeating Egyptian giant-killer Marwan Tarek Abdelhamid, the 9/16 seed who upset Jordan's 5/8 seed Mohammad Al Sarraj to reach the last eight.
"I'm really happy to be in the semis," said Ahmed after his 72-minute 11-6, 11-9, 8-11, 7-11, 11-5 victory over the 16-year-old. "That was a tough match, he's a very good young player and I had to work very hard to win."
"It took me a while to get used to the conditions - it's very hot and bouncy today - and to his hard-hitting style," said the 3/4 seed from Cairo. "But I was playing well by the end."
There will also be Malaysian interest in the women's last four after Sivasangari Subramaniam denied the event an all-Egyptian semi-final line-up for the first time in four years! The 17-year-old from Kedah twice came from behind to record a 6-11, 11-9, 5-11, 11-7, 11-7 victory over 5/8 seed Amina Yousry.
"We played in Pakistan last year and I lost 11-9 in the fifth, so I knew it was going to be tough and this one could have gone either way," said the jubilant 3/4 seed later. "Really, really happy to make the semis."
"I expected it to be tough and it was," said the 15-year-old from Cairo who is ranked 43 in the world. "I had to really fight to win this match."
Men's semi-final line-up:
Women's semi-final line-up:
Official event website: wsfworldjuniors.org/