Egyptians Dominate Quarter-Final Line-Up In Alexandria
There will be Egyptian interest in all four quarter-finals of the Women’s Alexandria International after Alexandrians Nour El Sherbini and Raneem El Welily thrilled the home crowd on the second day of last sixteen action with victories in the WSA International 100 squash event at Bibliotheca Alexandrina.
Eighth seed El Sherbini, a three-time world junior champion, delighted the partisan crowd – and the governor of Alexandria – with a powerful performance against England’s Jenny Duncalf.
The 19-year-old was in impressive form, despatching 32-year-old former world No.2 Duncalf 11-3, 11-6, 11-5 in 25 minutes.
“I’m so happy to be in the quarters here in Egypt, in front of my family, my friends,” El Sherbini told the event website www.alexandriainternationalsquash.com later. “Thanks to my coach and my sponsors and to all the sponsors that made this event possible!”
World No.2 El Welily, born and raised in Alexandria but now based in Cairo, lined up against the Indian number one Dipika Pallikal.
The second seed was made to work to overcome Pallikal, ranked 17 places lower. El Welily took the opening game and squandered a lead in the second to allow the world No.19 from Chennai to draw level.
The local heroine had to fight back to take the third in a tie-break – but soon took control of the fourth to win 11-9, 9-11, 12-10, 11-3 after 41 minutes.
“I am struggling with my game, with my momentum,” admitted El Welily later. “Dipika played very well, but then again, nobody plays badly anymore. What made the difference in the fourth? The support!”
El Sherbini will face a second successive English opponent in the event after former world champion Laura Massaro overcame USA’s ninth seed Amanda Sobhy in four games.
It was Sobhy’s first Tour event since graduating from Harvard University last month – and the 21-year-old from New York stemmed Massaro’s two-game lead by taking the third before the England number one regained the upper hand to close out the match 11-7, 11-8, 9-11, 11-7 in 45 minutes.
“It was a good match, I thought that all the games were quite competitive,” said the world No.4 from Preston. “Amanda has been playing very well, she has just graduated from college, I’m not sure how much training she’s done, so I’m happy to manage to get one more win before she goes full time!”
El Welily will face France’s Camille Serme for a place in the semi-finals. In the last match of the evening, the recently-crowned British Open champion pulled away from seven-all in the opening game to beat Guyana’s Nicolette Fernandes 11-7, 11-6, 11-3.
“It was tough,” said Serme. “It was hot and we don’t normally play this late so I’m pleased to get through to the quarters, and because I’m playing Raneem the crowd and the atmosphere will be great.”
Egyptians also claimed two of the four quarter-final slots on offer on the first day of play in the second round when Nour El Tayeb and Omneya Abdel Kawy secured four-game wins over qualifiers.
Fifth seed El Tayeb took 62 minutes to overcome compatriot Kanzy El Defrawy 11-6, 10-12, 11-7, 11-7.
“We’re good friends and practice a lot together, so it was a little strange to play her in a match like this,” world No.5 El Tayeb told the event website later. “It was a tough match, I’m just delighted to be in the quarters!”
Seventh seed Abdel Kawy, the former world No4 who had to come from behind to beat Australian Donna Urquhart in a dramatic five-game first round match, also had to overcome a deficit in her second round clash with Mariam Metwally.
But the 29-year-old ultimately got the better of Metwally, beating the 18-year-old 11-13, 13-11, 11-7, 11-9 in 45 minutes.
“I was so up and down, the whole match, I felt like I was the one that won or lost,” said the relieved world No.9. “Thank God I managed to take the second game, it was really crucial.”
El Tayeb will now face favourite Nicol David, the world number one from Malaysia who is seeded to win her first title in Egypt since claiming a record eighth world crown in December in Cairo.
David survived two tie-break games as she overpowered Nouran Gohar, the 17-year-old 11th seed from Cairo, 13-11, 11-3, 12-10.
England’s No.3 seed Alison Waters awaits Abdel Kawy. The world No.6 from London defeated 16-year-old Egyptian Habiba Mohamed 11-8, 11-7, 11-13, 11-8.
Alexandria International, Egypt, Second Round Nicol David (MAS) bt  Nouran Gohar (EGY) 13-11, 11-3, 12-10 (40m)
 Nour El Tayeb (EGY) bt [Q] Kanzy Emad El Defrawy (EGY) 11-6, 10-12, 11-7, 11-7 (52m)
 Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) bt [Q] Mariam Metwally (EGY) 11-13, 13-11, 11-7, 11-9 (45m)
 Alison Waters (ENG) bt  Habiba Mohamed (EGY) 11-8, 11-7, 11-13, 11-8 (53m)  Laura Massaro (ENG) bt  Amanda Sobhy (USA) 11-7, 11-8, 9-11, 11-7 (45m)
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt  Jenny Duncalf (ENG) 11-3, 11-6, 11-5 (25m)
 Camille Serme (FRA) bt  Nicolette Fernandes (GUY) 11-7, 11-6, 11-3 (33m)
 Raneem El Welily (EGY) bt  Dipika Pallikal (IND) 11-9, 9-11, 12-10, 11-3 (41m)