Mixed World Fortunes For Egyptians In New Zealand
21 Jul 2017
Significant upsets by Mostafa Asal and Aly Hussein - aged only 16 and 17, respectively - have led to Egypt having four players in the men's quarter-finals of the WSF World Junior Squash Championships for the first time in seven years.
But there was a surprise Egyptian exit in the women's event at the Devoy Squash & Fitness Centre in Tauranga, New Zealand, when Nada Abbas - a 17-year-old from Giza predicted to make the semi-finals - went down to USA's 14-year-old Marina Stefanoni in the biggest upset of the day.
"After being 9-4 down in the first, I'm so happy to be the fourth Egyptian in the quarter-finals," said 9/16 seed Asal after his shock 11-9, 11-7, 11-7 victory in 43 minutes over Kyle Finch, a 5/8 seed from England.
With Egyptian interest in each of the four men's quarter-finals, Asal now faces No.2 seed Mohammad Al Sarraj. Bidding to become the first Jordanian to win a world squash title, Al Sarraj ended the giant-killing run of unseeded Colombian Matias Knudsen, beating the 17-year-old from Bogota 11-7, 9-11, 11-8, 12-10.
"That was close, he plays proper squash and made me work hard," said a relieved Al Sarraj, ranked 89 in the world. "I didn't play my best, but I needed that level of intensity to get properly into the tournament and to get used to the court. I'll be ready tomorrow!"
The Cairo-born 17-year-old now lines up against Frenchman Victor Crouin for a place in the semi-finals.
Unranked Stefanoni was facing 3/4 seed Nada Abbas for the first time - but played the game of her life to overcome an opponent ranked 37 in the world 12-10, 7-11, 11-7, 11-9 in 41 minutes.
"I'd never played her before, but I watched her play yesterday and saw how her opponent was winning points so I tried to replicate that," said the Connecticut teenager. "I started well but she fought back and I had to try to catch up again.
"At 6-1 in the fourth I lost a bit of focus, thinking it would be pretty cool to be in the quarters, but at 7-6 down I knew I had to get back to my game.
"It feels great to be in the quarters, really excited about that!"
Stefanoni now plays 5/8 seed Satomi Watanabe, a Japanese player who she will also be meeting for the first time.
An Egyptian semi-finalist is assured at the bottom of the draw where Amina Yousry and Zeina Mickawy meet in the quarters. 5/8 seed Yousry beat Hong Kong's Lui Hiu Lam 11-2, 4-11, 11-8, 11-2, while second seed Mickawy defeated Malaysian Aifa Azman 12-10, 13-11, 11-7.
"She's an up and coming player and she's going to be something, so all the pressure was on me," said Mickawy of her 15-year-old opponent. "Happy to get through that in three."
Men's quarter-final line-up:
 Youssef Ibrahim (EGY) v [5/8] Andrew Douglas (USA)
[3/4] Marwan Tarek (EGY) v [5/8] Abhay Singh (IND)
[3/4] Victor Crouin (FRA) v Aly Hussein (EGY)
 Mohammad Al Sarraj (JOR) v [9/16] Mostafa Asal (EGY)
Women's quarter-final line-up:
 Hania El Hammamy (EGY) v [5/8] Sivasangari Subramaniam (MAS)
[9/16] Marina Stefanoni (USA) v [5/8] Satomi Watanabe (JPN)
[3/4] Rowan Reda Araby (EGY) v [5/8] Andrea Lee (MAS)
 Zeina Mickawy (EGY) v [5/8] Amina Yousry (EGY)
Men's 4th round:
 Youssef Ibrahim (EGY) bt [9/16] Ong Sai Hung (MAS) 9-11, 16-14, 14-16, 11-7, 11-5 (66m)
[5/8] Andrew Douglas (USA) bt [9/16] Tom Walsh (ENG) 11-4, 11-9, 11-6 (36m)
[5/8] Abhay Singh (IND) bt [9/16] Mohamed Elshamy (EGY) 10-12, 11-7, 13-11, 11-8 (38m)
[3/4] Marwan Tarek (EGY) bt [9/16] Adam Corcoran (ENG) 11-5, 11-6, 14-12 (38m)
[3/4] Victor Crouin (FRA) bt [9/16] Darren Rahul Pragasam (MAS) 11-6, 11-6, 11-0 (27m)
Aly Hussein (EGY) bt [5/8] Adhitya Raghavan (IND) 11-3, 8-11, 11-7, 4-11, 11-3 (47m)
[9/16] Mostafa Asal (EGY) bt [5/8] Kyle Finch (ENG) 11-9, 11-7, 11-7 (43m)
 Mohammad Al Sarraj (JOR) bt Matias Knudsen (COL) 11-7, 9-11, 11-8, 12-10 (35m)
Women's 4th round:
 Hania El Hammamy (EGY) bt [9/16] Chan Yiwen (MAS) 11-3, 11-5, 11-4 (22m)
[5/8] Sivasangari Subramaniam (MAS) bt [9/16] Zoe Foo Yuk Han (MAS) 11-5, 11-6, 11-9 (22m)
[5/8] Satomi Watanabe (JPN) bt [9/16] Lucy Turmel (ENG) 11-8, 11-4, 11-6 (28m)
[9/16] Marina Stefanoni (USA) bt [3/4] Nada Abbas (EGY) 12-10, 7-11, 11-7, 11-9 (41m)
[3/4] Rowan Reda Araby (EGY) bt Jana Shiha (EGY) 12-10, 11-5, 11-3 (24m)
[5/8] Andrea Lee (MAS) bt [9/16] Elise Lazarus (ENG) 11-9, 11-8, 11-8 (28m)
[5/8] Amina Yousry (EGY) bt [9/16] Lui Hiu Lam (HKG) 11-2, 4-11, 11-8, 11-2 (28m)
 Zeina Mickawy (EGY) bt [9/16] Aifa Azman (MAS) 12-10, 13-11, 11-7 (25m)