Egyptians stormed en-masse into the last eight of the WSF World Junior Individual Squash Championships in India – where five men (for the first time since 2010) and five women (for the eighth time in the past 15 years) will compete in the quarter-finals of the premier World Squash Federation junior event which moves onto an all-glass showcourt at the Express Avenue Mall in Chennai.
Farida Mohamed, a 13/16 seed, produced the day’s biggest third round upset at the Indian Squash Academy when she defeated Malaysia’s 3/4 seed Aifa Azman to ensure an Egyptian finalist in the women’s event.
The 16-year-old from Alexandria, the younger sister of 2014 champion Habiba Mohamed, took 59 minutes to see off the renowned Malaysian (both pictured above) 15-17, 11-7, 11-7, 4-11, 11-6. Mohamed junior will now face fellow countrywoman Jana Shiha, a 5/8 seed, for a place in the semi-finals.
Singapore’s Sneha Sivakumar continued her giant-killing run in the event to become her country’s first quarter-finalist since 1983. The unseeded 17-year-old, ranked 176 in the world, came through a five game thriller to beat Egypt’s 9/12 seed Ingy Hammouda 7-11, 11-6, 13-11, 7-11, 11-9.
“I didn’t think I had a good draw,” said a delighted Sivakumar (pictured above celebrating her triumph). “But it worked in my favour after two tough matches yesterday and now I’ve got this far without meeting a top four player.
“I never thought for a moment that I’d make the quarters of the World Juniors, I just had to push as hard as I could – at nine-all in the fifth it was crazy, my heart was beating like mad!”
Egypt’s top two women’s seeds Rowan Reda Araby and Hania El Hammamy scored straightforward straight games wins as they progressed towards their anticipated second successive meeting in the final.
Both defeated Malaysians, favourite Araby defeating Chan Yiwen 11-4, 11-5, 11-2, while Hammamy saw off Ooi Kah Yan 11-8, 11-8, 11-7.
“I’m not going into it with any pressure, I’m just trying to enjoy the matches,” said defending champion Araby. “India is fascinating and the Mall looks fabulous, I’m really looking forward to playing on there tomorrow.”
In the men’s event, top seed Marwan Tarek dropped a game against Canada’s George Crowne, but was happy with his progress: “I think I’ve played better each day as I’m getting more used to the conditions,” said the defending champion from Egypt. “Now for a practice at the Mall!”
The 18-year-old from Cairo will play fellow countryman Mostafa Montaser, who survived a torrid five-game battle against compatriot Yehia Elnaswany, saving a match ball before taking the decider 12-10.
“It was so hard, we haven’t played for two years, but he played so well and I was lucky to win in the end,” said Montaser. “Hopefully I can be lucky in my next matches and this will be just the beginning!”
At the other end of the draw, second seed Mostafa Asal also eased into the last eight. The 17-year-old from 6th of October City, the highest-ranked player in the championship, defeated Swiss opponent Yannick Wilhelmi(both pictured above) 11-9, 11-5, 11-8.
The world No.71 will now line up against the event’s sole remaining Mexican Leonel Cardenas after the 18-year-old 5/8 seed, ranked 39 places lower, overcame Canada’s unseeded James Flynn 11-7, 8-11, 11-5, 11-3.