Thursday, December 7, 2023

British Junior Open: Yathreb Adel beats top seed Mariam Metwally to win fifth crown

Yathreb celebrating victory

Yathreb joins greats in lifting fifth British Junior Open trophy
By MICHAEL CATLING – Squash Mad Reporter

World number 31 Yathreb Adel won her fifth British Junior Open in a thrilling final against top seed Mariam Metwally in Sheffield.

In an all-Egyptian climax and a repeat of their 2010 Under 15 final, Yathreb, 17, edged the opening two games by the tightest of margins and despite a third-game wobble, she upset the seedings to win 11-9, 11-9, 7-11, 11-9 in 59 minutes. 

Yathreb (pictured left) was competing in her sixth successive British Junior Open final and joins an exclusive list of champions, featuring world number one Nicol David and Egyptian Nour El Tayeb, who have won the event five times.

But after losing the third game, Yathreb was made to dig deep as a rejuvenated Mariam threatened to repeat her semi-final victory at the World Junior Championship in July.

Despite her superior world ranking, Yathreb was seeded only second for the event and duly sent a message to the organisers by overturning deficits in the opening two games to lead 2-0.

The omens appeared in favour of Yathreb, who had lost only once in six final appearances at the Yorkshire-based tournament, but Mariam displayed trademark resileince to halve the deficit.

With the Yorkshire crowd sensing a turnaround of epic proportions, Yathreb showed maturity beyond her years to readjust her gameplan during the fourth game and start cutting off Mariam’s widths with greater urgency. And while the 17-year-old managed to stay within a couple of points, Yathreb sealed victory to send her team into raptures. 

Elsewhere, top seed Habiba Mohamed (pictured right) won her fourth British Junior Open title at the age of just 14, after cruised past 3/4 seed Hana Basem in the Under 17 final. 

Habiba, who has already drawn comparisons with former world number four Nour El Sherbini, failed to drop a game all week and ruthlessly recorded three single game bagels en route to the final.

But while she failed to add to her impressive feat, she barely looked troubled as she easily overcame her fellow compatriot 11-6, 11-3, 11-4 in one of four all-Egyptian finals. 

In the Girls’ Under 15 category, Malaysian top seed Sivasangari Subramaniam won her maiden Open crown with a dramatic 7-11, 11-8, 8-11, 11-5, 11-6 win over 2013 Under 13 champion Hania El Hammamy. 

Malaysian duo
Double trouble: Sivasangari Subramaniam (right) and Aifa Azman (left) celebrate their maiden British Junior Open titles

Sivasangari barely survived a semi-final marathon against 3/4 seed Amina Yousry just 24 hours earlier and Hania seemed set to take advantage of her battle-weary opponent after winning a crucial third game to edge 2-1 ahead.

Sivasangari, though, stormed back and after levelling the scores once again, she clinched victory in the decider to follow in the footsteps of her idol Nicol David.

Sivasangari’s feat matched the heroics of her compatriot Aifa Azman earlier in the day, after the 3/4 seed picked up the Girls’ Under 13 title following a nail-biting decider against Egyptian top seed Jana Shiha.

Aifa spurned a two-game lead and at 10-6 down in the decider, Jana looked set to complete a fairy-tale comeback.

However, the Malaysian youngster proceeded to save six match balls before finally converting her fourth to win 11-7, 11-2, 8-11, 8-11, 16-14 and end Egypt’s seven year dominance in the age category.

For a comprehensive overview of all the results from every age category, visit the official British Junior Open page.

Girls’ British Junior Open Final Results:

Under 19: [2] Yathreb Adel (Egy) 3-1 [1] Mariam Metwally (Egy) 11-9, 11-9, 7-11, 11-9 (59m)
Under 17: [1] Habiba Mohamed (Egy) 3-0 [3/4] Hana Basem (Egy) 11-6, 11-3, 11-4
Under 15: [1] Sivasangari Subramaniam (Mas) 3-2 [3/4] Hania El Hammamy (Egy) 7-11, 11-8, 8-11, 11-5, 11-6
Under 13: [3/4] Aifa Azman (Mas) 3-2 [1] Jana Shiha (Egy) 11-7, 11-2, 8-11, 8-11, 16-14

The winners

Pictures by Steve Cubbins (SquashSite)

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