Friday, July 19, 2024

Egyptians feel at home in Alexandria

Raneem El Welily and Dipika Pallikal
Raneem El Welily and Dipika Pallikal

Egyptians in all four Alexandria quarter-finalsĀ 

Nour El Sherbini and Raneem El Welily, both from Alexandria, thrilled the home crowd by reaching the quarter-finals of the WSA International 100 event in their home city.

Their victories mean that there will be Egyptian interest in all four quarter-finals at Bibliotheca Alexandrina.

unnamedEighth 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 (right) 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 said.

“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 any more. 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 7-7 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.”


Women’s Alexandria International, Alexandria, Egypt

Quarter-final line-up:
[1] Nicol David (MAS) v [5] Nour El Tayeb (EGY)
[3] Alison Waters (ENG) v [7] Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY)
[4] Laura Massaro (ENG) v [8] Nour El Sherbini (EGY)
[2] Raneem El Welily (EGY) v [6] Camille Serme (FRA)


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