Saturday, February 24, 2024

English players exit in fourth round at World Juniors

Egyptian Aly Hussein is the only unseeded player in the last eight

Kyle Finch falls to 16-year-old Mostafa Asal  
By HOWARD HARDING – Squash Mad International Correspondent


All five English players fell in the fourth round of the World Junior Championships in New Zealand.

Male trio Kyle Finch (seeded 5/8), Tom Walsh and Adam Corcoran (both 9/16) and female pair Elise Lazarus and Lucy Turmel (both 9/16) all departed in straight games.

The four lower-ranked players all reached their seeded positions but Finch suffered a shock defeat to Egyptian Mostafa Asal.

“After being 9-4 down in the first, I’m so happy to be the fourth Egyptian in the quarter-finals,” said 9/16 seed Asal after his shock 11-9, 11-7, 11-7 victory in 43 minutes.

Significant upsets by Asal and Aly Hussein – aged only 16 and 17, respectively – have led to Egypt having four players in the men’s quarter-finals of the WSF World Junior Squash Championships for the first time in seven years.

But there was a surprise Egyptian exit in the women’s event at the Devoy Squash & Fitness Centre in Tauranga, New Zealand, when Nada Abbas, a 17-year-old from Giza predicted to make the semi-finals, went down to USA’s 14-year-old Marina Stefanoni in the biggest upset of the day.

“After being 9-4 down in the first, I’m so happy to be the fourth Egyptian in the quarter-finals,” said 9/16 seed Asal after his shock 11-9, 11-7, 11-7 victory in 43 minutes over Kyle Finch, a 5/8 seed from England.

With Egyptian interest in each of the four men’s quarter-finals, Asal now faces No.2 seed Mohammad Al Sarraj. Bidding to become the first Jordanian to win a world squash title, Al Sarraj ended the giant-killing run of unseeded Colombian Matias Knudsen, beating the 17-year-old from Bogota 11-7, 9-11, 11-8, 12-10.

“That was close, he plays proper squash and made me work hard,” said a relieved Al Sarraj, ranked 89 in the world. “I didn’t play my best, but I needed that level of intensity to get properly into the tournament and to get used to the court. I’ll be ready tomorrow!”

Aly Hussein became the only unseeded player in the last eight after surviving a five-game battle with Adhitya Raghavan, beating the 5/8 seed from India 11-3, 8-11, 11-7, 4-11, 11-3.

The Cairo-born 17-year-old now lines up against Frenchman Victor Crouin for a place in the semi-finals.

Unranked Stefanoni was facing 3/4 seed Nada Abbas for the first time – but played the game of her life to overcome an opponent ranked 37 in the world 12-10, 7-11, 11-7, 11-9 in 41 minutes.

The 14-year-old American sensation Marina Stefanoni

“I’d never played her before, but I watched her play yesterday and saw how her opponent was winning points so I tried to replicate that,” said the Connecticut teenager (pictured above). “I started well but she fought back and I had to try to catch up again.

“At 6-1 in the fourth I lost a bit of focus, thinking it would be pretty cool to be in the quarters, but at 7-6 down I knew I had to get back to my game. It feels great to be in the quarters, really excited about that!”

Stefanoni now plays 5/8 seed Satomi Watanabe, a Japanese player who she will also be meeting for the first time.

An Egyptian semi-finalist is assured at the bottom of the draw where Amina Yousry and Zeina Mickawy meet in the quarters. 5/8 seed Yousry beat Hong Kong’s Lui Hiu Lam 11-2, 4-11, 11-8, 11-2, while second seed Mickawy defeated Malaysian Aifa Azman 12-10, 13-11, 11-7.

“She’s an up and coming player and she’s going to be something, so all the pressure was on me,” said Mickawy of her 15-year-old opponent. “Happy to get through that in three.”

WSF World Junior Squash Championships, Tauranga, New Zealand.

Men’s 4th round:
[1] Youssef Ibrahim (EGY) bt [9/16] Ong Sai Hung (MAS) 9-11, 16-14, 14-16, 11-7, 11-5 (66m)
[5/8] Andrew Douglas (USA) bt [9/16] Tom Walsh (ENG) 11-4, 11-9, 11-6 (36m)
[5/8] Abhay Singh (IND) bt [9/16] Mohamed Elshamy (EGY) 10-12, 11-7, 13-11, 11-8 (38m)
[3/4] Marwan Tarek (EGY) bt [9/16] Adam Corcoran (ENG) 11-5, 11-6, 14-12 (38m)
[3/4] Victor Crouin (FRA) bt [9/16] Darren Rahul Pragasam (MAS) 11-6, 11-6, 11-0 (27m)
Aly Hussein (EGY) bt [5/8] Adhitya Raghavan (IND) 11-3, 8-11, 11-7, 4-11, 11-3 (47m)
[9/16] Mostafa Asal (EGY) bt [5/8] Kyle Finch (ENG) 11-9, 11-7, 11-7 (43m)
[2] Mohammad Al Sarraj (JOR) bt Matias Knudsen (COL) 11-7, 9-11, 11-8, 12-10 (35m)

Women’s 4th round:
[1] Hania El Hammamy (EGY) bt [9/16] Chan Yiwen (MAS) 11-3, 11-5, 11-4 (22m)
[5/8] Sivasangari Subramaniam (MAS) bt [9/16] Zoe Foo Yuk Han (MAS) 11-5, 11-6, 11-9 (22m)
[5/8] Satomi Watanabe (JPN) bt [9/16] Lucy Turmel (ENG) 11-8, 11-4, 11-6 (28m)
[9/16] Marina Stefanoni (USA) bt [3/4] Nada Abbas (EGY) 12-10, 7-11, 11-7, 11-9 (41m)
[3/4] Rowan Reda Araby (EGY) bt Jana Shiha (EGY) 12-10, 11-5, 11-3 (24m)
[5/8] Andrea Lee (MAS) bt [9/16] Elise Lazarus (ENG) 11-9, 11-8, 11-8 (28m)
[5/8] Amina Yousry (EGY) bt [9/16] Lui Hiu Lam (HKG) 11-2, 4-11, 11-8, 11-2 (28m)
[2] Zeina Mickawy (EGY) bt [9/16] Aifa Azman (MAS) 12-10, 13-11, 11-7 (25m) 

Pictures courtesy of WSF


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