Egypt’s quest for an eighth successive Boys Under 19 crown jolted in Sheffield
By MICHAEL CATLING – Squash Mad Reporter
Egypt’s hopes of enjoying another year of dominance in the Boys’ Under 19 British Junior Open were dealt a blow in the third-round, after Indian Kush Kumar stunned second seed Shehab Essam in straight games.
In another hectic day of scheduling which saw the boys play both their second and third-round matches, two-time British Junior Open champion Shebab came unstuck against the 17-year-old from Dhampur (pictured below) as he fell to a surprise 11-6 11-9 12-10 in 40 minutes.
The result throws the bottom half of the draw wide open, with Egyptian 5/8 seed Omar Elatmas also failing to endorse the seedings following an early exit in Sheffield.
Kush’s reward is a quarter-final encounter with world number 95 Ahmad Al-Saraj, who was nearly the victim of a second-round scalp by India’s Madhav Dhingra.
However, the 18-year-old from Jordan battled through in five games, before triumphing over Mohd Syafiq Kamal 3-1 in the last 16.
Despite the early Egyptian casualties, top seed Karim El Hammamy remains on course for a place in Monday’s final after booking a quarter-final meeting with Israel’s Daniel Poleshchuck.
While the 18-year-old Egyptian (pictured left) looked unconvincing as he dropped a game to Hong Kong’s Tsz Kwan Lau in the second round, he controlled proceedings against Michael Craig of Ireland later in the day to triumph 11-9, 11-7, 11-8.
In contrast, Poleshchuck needed nearly an hour to overcome Angus Gillams 1-11, 11-7, 11-7, 2-11, 11-8 and will need to avoid a repeat of his first and fourth game capitulations against Karim on Saturday.
Elsewhere, Richie Fallows and George Parker guaranteed a home semi-finalist after recording 3-1 scorelines in their respective third-round matches to setup a last eight clash.
Essex-based Richie followed up his 3-1 victory over David Ryan in the second round by overcoming fellow compatriot Lyell Fuller 11-7, 11-9, 7-11, 12-10.
The world number 126 will now meet George (pictured below) in the last eight, after the Leicester-based 17-year-old upset the aforementioned Omar 7-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-5 in 70 minutes.
In the top half of the draw, highly-rated Peruvian Diego Elias appeared in ominous form as he despatched Canada’s David Baillargeon and Ahmed Effat Ashoush en route to the last eight.
The 17-year-old from Lima will now meet Mohamed El Gawarhy in the pick of the quarter-final matches, after the Egyptian third seed battled back from dropping his first game of the tournament to defeat Darren Chan of Malaysia 3-1 in 40 minutes.
In the Girls’ Under 19 category, Egyptian hopes were strengthened after the top four seeds came through their third-round encounters unscathed.
Unlike their male counterparts, the girls only had to negotiate one round on Friday and the quartet of Egyptians wasted little time in advancing into the last eight.
Sixteen-year-old Nouran Gohar was the only Egyptian to drop a game, but duly recovered to defeat Lea Van Der Zwalmen 11-5, 6-11, 11-6, 11-1 in 31 minutes.
Top seed Mariam Metwally eased past France’s Marie Stephan 11-6, 11-4, 11-5, while second seed Yathreb Adel and Salma Hany (pictured left) thrashed Kristyna Alexova of Czech Republic and England’s Rhianne O’Donnell respectively.
England will also have strong representation in the quarter finals, after the trio of Nada Elkalaawy, Lily Taylor and Anna Kimberley progressed to the delight of the Sheffield crowd.
Buoyed by the home support, Lily fought back from 2-1 down before eventually prevailing 11-9, 9-11, 6-11, 11-7, 11-8 over Ho Tze Lok. Her England counterparts Nada and Anna were also given a stern test, before eventually recording 3-1 wins over Su Ann Yong and Emilia Soini respectively.
Lily will now face Mariam for a semi-final berth, while Nada battles Salma and Anna meets Nouran in three mouthwatering clashes.
In the final last eight match, Yathreb will attempt to quell the threat of highly-fancied Belgian Nele Gilis, who is yet to drop a game after defeating Kacey Dodd in just 14 minutes.
Pictures by Steve Cubbins (SquashSite)