Thursday, July 25, 2024

Egypt dominate thrilling finals day at Dunlop British Junior Open

Jana Shiha of Egypt (right) clinched the GU19 title v Aifa Azman (left) of Malaysia

Favourites Egypt lived up to their billing on finals day of the 2020 Dunlop British Junior Open (BJO) in Birmingham
By DONNA HELMER – England Squash, Marketing and Communications Manager

The tears and tantrums of the past few days were replaced with triumphant smiles as some added to their BJO tallies, others won for the first time and there was even a first title for Pakistan since 2012.

On a day dominated by Egypt with seven trophies in 10 finals, in the pick of the encounters GU19 second seed and three-time BJO champion Aifa Azman was denied a fourth by top seed Jana Shiha winning in straight games 11-7, 11-6, 16-14.

World number 78 Shiha’s power hitting and deft touch when required to save two game balls in the third extended her winning streak to 21 and brought the 18-year-old a maiden BJO title.

Jana Shiha at the savours the moment of victory

“It feels great, I have dreamt of winning this tournament since I was 10!” said Shiha.

Egyptian top seed Moustafa El Sirty also won his first BJO crown by seeing off another three-time champion, second-seeded compatriot Yahya Elnawasany 3-0 in a little over 30 minutes.

Moustafa El Sirty of Egypt (right) produced a dominant display to see off compatriot Yahya Elnawasany in the BU19 final

El Sirty said: “It’s an awesome feeling! I have always dreamed of achieving this title so it’s a dream come true.”

Both Egyptian boys U13 finalists [2] Youssef Salem and [9/16] Ahmed Rashed used every inch of the court and every angle possible as the second seed came back from a game down to win in four:11-13, 11-3, 11-5, 11-5 – the only match to go beyond three games.

Salem almost got more relaxed as the match went on and his calm demeanour was key against the free-hitting Rashed.

The day’s only upset belonged to GU11 [3/4] Harleein Tan of Malaysia who overcame home hope [2] Mariam Eissa 3-0 while BU11 [2] Yassin Kouritam (Egy) beat [3/4] Seif Belal El Shal (Egy) 3-0.

GU13 top seed Amina Orfi won her third BJO trophy after making light work of India’s [3/4] Anahat Singh 3-0: 11-0, 11-1, 11-4 to claim Egypt’s second title of the day.

“I’m feeling really happy because I’ve won the tournament three times in a row,” said Orfi.

GU15 second seed Fayrouz Abouelkheir (Egypt) made amends for final losses in the U13 event the last two years as she completed the perfect tournament by not losing a game.

The 13-year-old was too hot to handle for [5/8] compatriot Malak Taha, coming through in three in 20 minutes.

Pakistan’s BU15 [2] Muhammad Humza Khan then followed Abouelkheir’s achievement with a perfect streak of his own, showing no signs of nerves as he downed England’s [5/8] Yusuf Sheikh 3-0 in his first BJO final, also his country’s first win since 2012.

The volume went up a few notches as the older age groups took to the court, the day’s fourth all-Egyptian clash in the GU17 providing [2] Sana Ibrahim with her shot at a first BJO title since 2016 to make up for her runner-up finish in 2018.

Ibrahim saved a game ball for [3/4] Nour Khaled Aboulmakarim in the third game to register a 3-0 victory 11-4, 11-9, 12-10, the friends hugging warmly as they went off court.

Sam Todd (right) was in imperious form, clinching the BU17 title for the loss of just 8 points

In a complete contrast, Yorkshire BU17 Sam Todd [1] outplayed the patient Malaysian [5/8] Ishant Shah in three: 11-4, 11-2, 11-2 in 26 minutes with rallies noticeably longer than any match prior on the day.

The BJO title was Todd’s third, adding to wins at U15 and U13s, his recent experience on the PSA Tour proving vital as he was rarely tested by the steady rhythm of Shah.

“I was very happy with the way I played. I didn’t let him get in the match and I thought I was very solid throughout. Overall, I’m just very happy,“ said the 16-year-old, England’s first winner in the age category since James Willstrop in 2000.

Dunlop British Junior Open 2020: final results
GU11 [3/4] Harleein Tan (Mas) 3-0 [2] Mariam Eissa (Eng) 11-6, 11-9, 12-10
BU11 [2] Yassin Kouritam (Egy) 3-0 [3/4] Seif Belal El Shal (Egy) 11-9, 11-6, 11-7
GU13 [1] Amina Orfi (Egy) 3-0 [3/4] Anahat Singh (Ind) 11-0, 11-1, 11-4
BU13 [2] Youssef Salem (Egy) 3-1 [9/16] Ahmed Rashed (Egy) 11-13, 11-3, 11-5, 11-5
GU15 [2] Fayrouz Abouelkheir (Egy) 3-0 [5/8] Malak Taha (Egy) 11-5, 11-4, 11-9
BU15 [2] Muhammad Humza Khan (Pak) 3-0 [5/8] Yusuf Sheikh (Eng) 11-4, 11-3, 11-7
GU17 [2] Sana Ibrahim (Egy) 3-0 [3/4] Nour Khaled Aboulmakarim (Egy) 11-4, 11-9, 12-10
BU17 [1] Sam Todd (Eng) 3-0 [5/8] Ishant Shah (Mas) 11-4, 11-2, 11-2
GU19 [1] Jana Shiha (Egy) 3-0 [2] Aifa Azman (Mas) 11-7, 11-6, 16-14
BU19 [1] Moustafa El Sirty (Egy) 3-0 [2] Yahya Elnawasany (Egy) 11-8, 11-5, 11-7


Pictures courtesy of  England Squash


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