Today – Tuesday, Day THREE

Quarter-Finals:

[1] Diego Elias (Per) 3-0 [5/8] Israr Ahmed (Pak) 11-6, 11-8, 11-4 (33m)
[5/8] Eain Yow Ng (Mas) 3-1 Asim Khan (Pak) 11-4, 11-6, 10-12, 11-9 (56m)
[3/4] Youssef Soliman (Egy) 3-0 [5/8] Patrick Rooney (Eng) 11-8, 12-10, 11-4 (46m)
[5/8] Saadeldin Abouaish (Egy) 3-1 [2] Tayyab Aslam (Pak) [ 6-11, 11-8, 11-5, 15-13 (74m)

[1] Habiba Mohamed (Egy) 3-0 [5/8] Hania El Hammamy (Egy) 11-2, 11-6, 11-9 (45m)
[3/4] Salma Hany Ibrahim (Egy) 3-2 [5/8] Sabrina Sobhy (Usa) 9-11, 7-11, 11-7, 11-9, 11-7 (52m)
[3/4] Mariam Metwally (Egy) 3-1 [5/8] Georgina Kennedy (Eng) 13-11, 11-7-11, 11-4 (35m)
[2] Nouran Gohar (Egy) 3-0 [9/16] Choi Uen Shan (Hkg) 11-4, 12-10, 11-4 (24m)

It’s Six for Egypt in Eindhoven

An Egyptian winner is guaranteed in the Girls’ event in Eindhoven, and an Egyptian finalist is assured in the Boy’s draw after today’s dramatic quarter-finals at the Squash Time Club, ending with Saadeldin Abouaish claiming ‘one of the best wins ever’ to oust second seed Tayyab Aslam.

SP_8578Top seed and defending champion Habiba Mohamed won the only all-Egyptian match of the day as she beat Hania El Hammamy in three games that got progressively tougher. Dominant in the first, and taking the second from 1-3 down and needing all here trademark determination to stay just ahead in a third game that went point for point. At 9-all Habiba was awarded a stroke that had most of the crowd turning around in disbelief, then took the final point to reach the semis for the third time in a row.

“I was really concentrated in the first two games,” said Habiba, “I told myself that I needed to win 15 points and I had to keep her down to 7 points, I didn’t want to lose the lead once I had it. But in the last game she played so well and I couldn’t concentrate as much.

“I played well, I’m happy to reach the semis and I’ll try my best to stay number one!”

SP_8580Habiba will meet Salma Hany for a place in the final after the 3/4 seed mounted a tremendous comeback to deny Sabrina Sobhy. The American took the first two games 11-9, 11-7 and looked the likely winner, making the Egyptian do most of the work and exploiting anything loose to great effect.

But Salma fought back, led throughout the third which she won 11-7 and then recovered from 1-6 down in a tense fourth, taking the last three points to level the match 11-9. With both players giving everything they had, Hany managed to establish a lead in the decider, finally taking the match 11-7.

SP_8582“She played so well at the start,” admitted Salma. “She was causing me lots of problems and I couldn’t find a way to get to her shots. But I believed I could win and tried to take it point by point and managed to win the games that way.

“This is my first semifinal after losing in the quarters the last three times, so I”m really pleased but I want to make sure I give it my all tomorrow.”

Mariam Metwally and Nouran Gohar completed the all-Egyptian lineup as they beat Georgina Kennedy and Choi Uun Shan to ensure the top four seeds made the semi-finals.

SP_8587Metwally, who was taken to five yesterday, needed four to see off the European Junior champion, who recovered from a poor start to earn a game ball in the first before Metwally took it 13-11 before dominating the second 11-3. Kennedy kept the pace high to take the third despite a late comeback from Metwally, but the Egyptian was in control from the outset in the fourth as she moved into a third semi-final in a row.

“Like yesterday, I started well, so relaxed, and then lost a bit of concentration,” said Mariam. “I managed to win by playing softly, trying to take the pace out it it, but I went to sleep in the third but I was focussed from the start of the fourth and got my soft game back.

“I’ll be playing Nouran tomorrow, it should be a good match like our semi-final last year and our British Junior final,

SP_8591Gohar was in control for the majority of her match against 9/16 seed Shan, but the Hong Kong girl fought back from 5-9 in the second to take it to extra points before Gohar completed the win 11-4, 12-10, 11-4.

“I played better than I did yesterday,” said Gohar, “it will be a great game with Mariam, as usual, and l’ll put in every effort to reach the final.”

SP_8581In the first Boys’ quarter-final top seed and defending champion Diego Elias proved too strong for Pakistan’s Israr Ahmed, the 5/8 seed competing well in the first two games before Elias eased away in the third.

“That was a tough match at the start,” said Elias. “I needed to be patient and I’m happy with how I played. Hopefully there’s two more to go !”

SP_8586Elias will next face Eain Yow Ng after the Malaysian 5/8 seed beat Pakistan’s Asim Khan, the only unseeded player in today’s action. Having taken the first two with apparent ease, the Malaysian dropped a close third and had to fight back in the fourth, getting the better of a series of long, patient rallies at the end of the game to take the match.

SP_8589“I was winning when I was playing aggressively,” admitted the winner, “but then he started coming back and I went a little too defensive, so playing like that at the end sort of worked against me but fortunately he made the errors in the end.

“I felt tired after yesterday’s match and thought he would be fresher, but once we started I could see that he felt as bad as I did, so that was a relief, but he got stronger as the match went on.

“Still, I’m happy it didn’t go to five and pleased to make the semis, it’s been a while since a Malaysian was there [Ivan Yuen in 2009 was the last].”

SP_8592The finals two matches both had Egyptian winners, Youssef Soliman beating Europe’s last representative Patrick Rooney in straight games – although the Englishman had a pair of game balls in the second before succumbing.

“I’d never played him before, he’s very strong and volleys well,” said Soliman. “I feel that I’m playing better and better each round, and I’m happy to make the semifinals for the first time.”

SP_8597The round concluded with an absolute thriller of a match as Saadeldin Abouais just kept on coming back to beat second seed Tayyab Aslan in one of the toughest and longest matches of the week, one which had both sided of a partisan crown at Sports City on their feet at regular intervals.

SP_8599The Pakistani took the first, and at 6-1 in the second it looked as though his speed and precision would win the day. But the Egyptian fought back, taking eight points in a row as he levelled the match, and continued that momentum as he took the third to lead.

SP_8601From 4-all in the fourth a series of unforced errors from Abouais made a decider seem inevitable, but again he steadied, pulled back from 4-9 to 9-all, and in a dramatic ending with both players giving their all and each having three opportunities to win the game, it was Aslam who finally yielded as he volleyed into the tin to spark wild Egyptian celebrations.

SP_8596“That was one of the hardest matches I’ve ever played mentally,” admitted the winner, “it’s one of my best ever wins and I still don’t know how I managed to come back like that – I’ve never reacted like that at the end of a match, ever!

SP_8607“We have a great team spirit and all wanted to do well, the pressure’s off a little tomorrow as there will definitely be an Egyptian finalist. I play my good friend, and may the best man win!”

Egypt’s manager Omar Abdel Aziz was equally delighted: “It’s a great day for us, having six in the semi-finals,” he said. “The girls have performed as well as ever, and the boys, after the disappointment of losing a 3/4 seed so early it brought the team together and made them determined to do well, I’m proud of them.”

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Preview:

SP_8558First up is an all-Egyptian clash between the two youngest players left in – they’re the current British Junior Open U15 and U17 champions – defending champion Habiba Mohamed, 16, and Hania El Hammamy, just 14.

SP_8572Next on Centre Court is the Boys’ defending champion Diego Elias (he’s also the BJO U19 champion) against one of three Pakistanis in the last eight, Israr Ahmed. At the same time on court Two Egypt’s Salma Hany will take on the USA’s last contender, Sabrina Sobhy, sister of 2010 champion Amanda.

SP_8573The third set of matches features an all-Asian match between Eain Yow Ng (reigning BJO U17 champion)  and Asim Khan, the only unseeded player in the quarters, and Mariam Metwally, runner-up in the 2012 event, meets English opposition in European junior champion Georgina Kennedy.

SP_8574The fourth session features two more Egyptians as Youssef Soliman meets the last European in the Boys’ draw, England’s Patrick Rooney, and Nouran Gohar – runner up last year and the reiging BJO U19 champion – faces Hong Kong’s Choi Uen Shan.

If it all goes to schedule the last match will see second seed and reigning Asian junior champion Tayyab Aslam – appearing in his fifth world juniors – taking on Egypt’s Saadeldin Abouaish.

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