Shorbagy still the Champ, Sherbini is youngest ever
Mohamed El Shorbagy is still the world junior champion. The Egyptian world #17 beat Ivan Yuen in straight games, fending off a strong challenge from the Malaysian second seed before storming through the third game to retain the title he won in Zurich last year.
An Egyptian double was guaranteed with an all-Egypt girls’ final, and history was made when Nour El Sherbini came from a game down to beat compatriot Nour El Tayeb, becoming the youngest junior girls’ world champion, beating Nicol’s record by well over two years ..
Shorbagy still the Champion
It was a repeat of their British Junior Open final earlier in the year, and it was the same result. Ivan Yuen pushed the defending champion for two games, really pushed him.
Both started the match playing patient, long squash, content to feel each other out and wait for the opening. And it was pretty even, Shorbagy generally in front, but never by much. He reached game ball at 10-8, tinned the next shot, then won a humungous rally to take the lead.
Ivan took a great start to the second, 5-0, although in truth Shorbagy gifted him that lead with four tins. The Egyptian tightened up, started to peg back the lead, eventually levelling at 9-all. By now he was hitting the ball ferociously hard, and Ivan was struggling to stay in the rallies, being stretched to the limit.
Shorbagy again to to ten first, hit the tin to lose that chance, won another monster rally to get to 11-10 then punched away another winner to double his lead.
And that was that really, the third was no contest. Shorbagy started with two stunning nick winners, Ivan, under pressure on every shot, tinned the next four. It was all over very quickly, no wild celebrations from the Egyptian camp, just great satisfaction at a job well done.
“I’m really happy to win this WJ. This is year was much harder than the last one. I can just say that this was my hardest week ever I had in my life. I just couldn’t sleep properly for one day, so I’m really glad that I won the tournament.
“Me and Ivan had a very tough first two games today and I was really glad to win them. He is a very good player and very fair and I’m sure he’ll get to the top in psa very quickly if he keeps training hard.
“I would like to thank my dad and my mum a lot, they did really a lot for me and winning this title again, it’s just a small thing I can do for them.
“Jonah, he is a very special man to me, he did a lot for me in the past three years and without him I would have never dreamed to do what I have done till now in squash. He taught me lots of things and I’m still learning every day from him something new. He has so much of experience and he gave me so much from his experience. He is sooooo special for me and he’ll always be.
“I came back to Egypt one month before the WJ and I was training with Amir Wagih. He was taking me every day and giving me every day a session at eight in the morning I really worked hard with him before the tournament, so thanks to him so much too. Whenever I’m back in Egypt I always go and train with him.
“I would like to thank the Egyptian squash federation too. They really understand how to make the players concentrate during the tournament and they do everything for us, so I have to thank Assem Khalifa a lot.
“I have still one more junior tournament, which is the British, and then I’ll be done with the juniors and I really want to finish my junior career with a win so hopefully I can win that again.
“Anyways it was my last WJ title, really happy to do it like Ramy and win it twice and hopefully it’s going to be an Egyptian next year who wins it.”
The 13-year-old World Champion
All the talk at the start of the day was “would she be the youngest ever if she won?” Searching through the stats of the previous twelve winners said yes. Nicol David won it just short of her 16th birthday, Nour El Sherbini is four months shy of her 14th, so emphatically, yes.
But those stats looked like being redundant after the first game. Nour El Tayed seemed to have a plan, bringing Sherbini to the front, then despatching the ball to the back for a winner. And it worked like a dream, giving her the first game 11/5 with Sherbini unable to get into the match.
And so it continued into the second, Tayeb built a 6-2 lead and Sherbini seemed to have no answer.
But then something changed. Perhaps Tayeb was hitting it looser, perhaps Sherbini found the answer, I couldn’t tell. But what was obvious was that for the first game and a half Sherbini couldn’t get onto the ‘T’, for the next two and a half games Tayeb simply couldn’t get her off it.
And if you give Sherbini time on the ball on the ‘T’ you’re dead, her drops, volley-drops and volley-kills are deadly, and she started using them to great effect.
She stormed back to take the second, and raced through the third and fourth. Now it was Tayeb who didn’t have any answers. Sherbini was simply too good, simple as that.
“I’m so happy!” said Nour. “After losing the first I remembered how I came back when I was down against Heba, and that gave me the belief I could do it again. I kept telling myself I could do it, and I did!”
“Nour’s been playing since she was six, we knew she was a talent and thought she might be able to win the British Junior Open a few times, and she’s won that three times already.
“But I never would have believed I would see this moment, world champion already … but then, she likes breaking records !”