Thursday, November 30, 2023

Habiba makes history with Alexandria title

Egyptian teenager beats world No.8 to claim latest landmark victory 
By HOWARD HARDING – Squash Mad Correspondent

Habiba Ahmed (second right celebrates victory
Habiba Ahmed (second right) celebrates victory

Egyptian teenager Habiba Mohamed Ahmed etched her name firmly into the squash history books when she beat compatriot Nour El Tayeb in the final of the Atlantis Sporting Club Open at her home club in Alexandria to become the first player ever to win four Women’s Squash Association World Tour titles before reaching the age of 16!

It was aged just 14 years and 5 months that Ahmed won her first Tour title – becoming the youngest ever to do so – at the Malaysian Tour Grand Final last November.

And in her home town – less than four months after celebrating her 15th birthday – the Egyptian child prodigy recovered from a game down to see off El Tayeb, the 21-year-old world No8, 11-13, 11-8, 11-5, 11-7 in the climax of the WSA Silver 25 event at the Alexandria Sporting Club.

Her fourth – and biggest, by far – title triumph on the WSA World Tour is the latest success in an outstanding 2014 so far for Ahmed. Winner of the British Junior U17 Open in January, she went on to become the second youngest ever winner of the World Junior (U19) Championship in August – beating title-holder Nour El Sherbini en-route to the final.

Last month, Ahmed (pictured above, second right, in the presentation group with El Tayeb) defeated France’s world No5 Camille Serme and England’s former world No2 Jenny Duncalf before celebrating her first WSA World Series quarter-final berth at the Malaysian Open.

Ranked outside the top 60 at the beginning of the year, Ahmed is now ranked 34 in the world – and is sure to take a further mighty leap forward now. Semi-Finals: In-form Egyptian squash star Nour El Tayeb celebrated her third Women’s Squash Association World Tour final in a row – all against expectations – when she upset top-seeded compatriot Omneya Abdel Kawy in the semi-finals of the Atlantis Sporting Club Open in Alexandria, Egypt.

The 21-year-old from Cairo stunned the squash world last month by reaching the finals of the Malaysian Open and Hong Kong Open – both WSA World Series events and both from the position of 16th seed!

Seeded three in this WSA Silver 25 event at the Alexandria Sporting Club, El Tayeb defeated her experienced 29-year-old opponent 11-9, 9-11, 11-3, 13-11 to secure the seventh WSA Tour final appearance of her career.

In an all-Egyptian final, the 2012 champion will line up against Alexandria teenager Habiba Mohamed Ahmed, the 15-year-old prodigy who stunned second-seeded Dane Line Hansen 11-1, 13-11, 11-5. 

Egyptians Flourish In Alexandria Openers

Five home players claimed places in the quarter-finals of the Atlantis Sporting Club Open after successes in the first round of the WSA Silver 25 squash event at the Alexandria Sporting Club in Alexandria, Egypt.

Favourite Omneya Abdel Kawy, the world No14 from Cairo, defeated France’s Laura Pomportes 11-3, 12-10, 11-4 and will now face compatriot Salma Hany Ibrahim for a place in the semi-finals.

Ibrahim, 18, from Alexandria, beat 15-year-old Egyptian qualifier Zeina Farid Mickawy 11-8, 11-5, 11-7.

Third seed Nour El Tayeb, the 2012 champion who has leapt to No8 in the world rankings after reaching the finals of the Hong Kong Open and Malaysian Open last month, ousted fellow Egyptian Farah Abdel Megid 11-9, 11-9, 12-10.

The 21-year-old from Cairo now meets Milou van der Heijden, the No8 seed from the Netherlands who took four games to overcome Austrian Birgit Coufal 11-6, 16-14, 8-11, 11-9.

Second seed Line Hansen is the leading non-Egyptian in the field. The world No25 from Denmark despatched German qualifier Sina Wall 11-4, 11-8, 11-5 and progresses to meet seventh-seeded Czech Lucie Fialova in the quarter-finals.

For all the latest WSA Tour news:

Atlantis Sporting Club Open, Alexandria, Egypt:

1st round:
[1] Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) bt Laura Pomportes (FRA) 11-3, 12-10, 11-4
5] Salma Hany Ibrahim (EGY) bt [Q] Zeina Farid Mickawy (EGY) 11-8, 11-5, 11-7
[3] Nour El Tayeb (EGY) bt Farah Abdel Megid (EGY) 11-9, 11-9, 12-10
[8] Milou van der Heijden (NED) bt Birgit Coufal (AUT) 
11-6, 16-14, 8-11, 11-9
[6] Habiba Mohamed Ahmed (EGY) bt Nadine Shahin (EGY) 11-4, 11-0, 11-7
[4] Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt [Q] Mariam Metwally (EGY) 11-5, 11-9, 2-11, 0-2 ret.
[7] Lucie Fialova (CZE) bt [Q] Hana Basem Ramadan (EGY) 12-10, 9-11, 11-5, 11-8
[2] Line Hansen (DEN) bt [Q] Sina Wall (GER) 11-4, 11-8, 11-5

[1] Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) bt [5] Salma Hany Ibrahim (EGY) 5-11, 11-7, 7-11, 11-6, 11-8
[3] Nour El Tayeb (EGY) bt [8] Milou van der Heijden (NED) 11-4, 11-6, 11-6
[6] Habiba Mohamed Ahmed (EGY) bt [4] Nouran Gohar (EGY) 11-7, 11-6, 5-11, 11-6
[2] Line Hansen (DEN) bt [7] Lucie Fialova (CZE) 11-4, 7-11, 11-9, 11-8

[3] Nour El Tayeb (EGY) bt [1] Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) 11-9, 9-11, 11-3, 13-11
[6] Habiba Mohamed Ahmed (EGY) bt [2] Line Hansen (DEN) 11-1, 13-11, 11-5 

[6] Habiba Mohamed Ahmed (EGY) bt [3] Nour El Tayeb (EGY) 11-13, 11-8, 11-5, 11-7


Picture courtesy of WSA


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