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Tenille Takes Out Cairo Heroine Kheirallah

30 Mar 2009

Appearing in her first tournament for more than a year, South African Tenille Swartz stunned Engy Kheirallah in today's first round of the Hurghada International to oust the sixth-seeded Egyptian from the $26,000 WISPA World Tour squash event in Cairo.

It was the first day of the championships at the Egyptian capital's National Squash Stadium - which also includes a men's $61,000 PSA Tour event - before moving to the Sinbad Beach Resort in the Red Sea resort of Hurghada from the quarter-finals onwards.

Engy Kheirallah, the world No21 now based in Cairo, was making her first appearance at the National Stadium since clinching the Women's World Team Championship title for her country in a dramatic final against England last December.

But the 27-year-old was unable to repeat her historic success. Swartz, out of action since March last year while recovering from shoulder surgery, twice came back from games down, then survived a tie-break in the decider to win 8-11, 11-8, 9-11, 11-9, 12-10 in 61 minutes.

"Not a bad comeback," said the 21-year-old underdog, ranked 215 in the world, to www.squashsite.co.uk "It's my first match back, so it's a bonus to win - especially against someone like Engy, here in Egypt."

There were there further upsets in the women's event - with more Egyptian disappointment when fifth seed Raneem El Weleily went down 12-14, 11-7, 11-9, 11-5 to qualifier Heba El Torky, also from Egypt.

El Torky, 18, from Alexandria, goes on to meet third-seeded compatriot Omneya Abdel Kawy, the defending champion who took just 14 minutes to defeat Hong Kong's Christina Mak 11-2, 11-1, 11-5.

The only upset in the men's event saw the lower half of the draw become an all-Egyptian affair. Tarek Momen, a 21-year-old from Cairo, booked his seat on the flight to Hurghada when he downed Finland's No7 seed Olli Tuominen 11-9, 4-11, 11-6, 11-4 in 34 minutes.

Momen, fresh from his title success this month in the Egyptian National Championships, now faces Cairo compatriot Ramy Ashour, the title-holder.

"I played well today," conceded the world No24. "He was volleying quite well and my movement started to get better in the game. I've played Ramy like a million times - so I hope to do my best."

Egypt's rising star Mohamed El Shorbagy, a quarter-finalist in last week's Canary Wharf Classic in London, faced former star Mohammed Abbas, the former world No13 who has slipped to 42 in the rankings while fighting back from an Achilles injury. But the new-kid-on-the-block was too good for Abbas - and the 28-year-old qualifier became troubled by a hamstring injury in the third game, causing him to retire as El Shorbagy claimed an 11-3, 12-10, 4-3 (ret.) win after 35 minutes.

In a repeat of their quarter-final battle in London Docklands, Shorbagy will now face former world number one Amr Shabana, the No2 seed from Cairo who beat Egyptian qualifier Amr Swelim 9-11, 11-5, 11-4, 11-8.

Men's 1st round:
[1] Karim Darwish (EGY) bt [Q] Omar Abdel Aziz (EGY) 11-7, 11-2, 11-5 (27m)
[5] Aamir Atlas Khan (PAK) bt Joey Barrington (ENG) 13-11, 11-5, 12-10 (50m)
[3] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt [Q] Mohd Ali Anwar Reda (EGY) 11-5, 11-3, 11-5 (31m)
[6] Farhan Mehboob (PAK) bt Amr Khaled Khalifa (EGY) 6-11, 11-8, 11-13, 12-10, 11-3 (73m)
Tarek Momen (EGY) bt [7] Olli Tuominen (FIN) 11-9, 4-11, 11-6, 11-4 (34m)
[4] Ramy Ashour (EGY) bt Omar Mosaad (EGY) 11-8, 14-12, 11-9 (42m)
[8] Mohamed El Shorbagy (EGY) bt [Q] Mohammed Abbas (EGY) 11-3, 12-10, 4-3 ret. (35m)
[2] Amr Shabana (EGY) bt [Q] Amr Swelim (EGY) 9-11, 11-5, 11-4, 11-8 (38m)

Women's 1st round:
[1] Rachael Grinham (AUS) bt [Q] Nour El Tayeb (EGY) 11-6, 6-11, 11-9, 11-3 (35m)
Tenille Swartz (RSA) bt [6] Engy Kheirallah (EGY) 8-11, 11-8, 9-11, 11-9, 12-10 (61m)
[4] Rebecca Chiu (HKG) bt Orla Noom (NED) 11-6, 11-6, 11-7 (29m)
Camille Serme (FRA) bt [7] Line Hansen (DEN) 6-11, 11-7, 11-6, 6-11, 11-9 (48m)
[Q] Heba El Torky (EGY) bt [5] Raneem El Weleily (EGY) 12-14, 11-7, 11-9, 11-5 (45m)
[3] Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) bt Christina Mak (HKG) 11-2, 11-1, 11-5 (14m)
[Q] Joey Chan (HKG) bt [8] Sharon Wee (MAS) 14-12, 6-11, 9-11, 14-12, 11-6 (52m)
[2] Jenny Duncalf (ENG) bt [Q] Dipika Pallikal (IND) 11-8, 11-4, 12-10 (29m)