Egyptians fill seven out of last eight spots in Chennai
By HOWARD HARDING – Squash Mad International Correspondent
The powerhouse that is Egyptian squash claimed seven of the eight quarter-final victories in today’s action in the WSF World Junior Individual Squash Championships in India – but England’s Lucy Turmel denied the nation a clean sweep at the Express Avenue Mall in Chennai after ending the run of Singapore’s Sneha Sivakumar in straight games in the women’s event.
The 18-year-old from Ipswich scored her third successive straight games win in the championship when she beat her unseeded opponent 11-5, 11-8, 11-8 in 27 minutes. Turmel, a 3/4 seed, is making her fourth appearance in the event, after making her debut in 2015 – and is now celebrating her semi-final debut.
England’s sole player left in the tournament will now face Egypt’s No.2 seed Hania El Hammamy for a place in the final.
“I am really happy to be through to the semis and am looking forward to a big test tomorrow,” said the reigning European Junior Champion, England’s first women’s semi-finalist since 2012. “The world championships is a great event and I am looking forward to playing on the glass court in the Mall tomorrow as it is a brilliant venue.”
National coach Lee Drew, who is supporting the England players alongside former world No.1 Laura Massaro, added: “Lucy has performed really well here and deserves the rewards. She is very professional and consistent with her approach to the game and to her development. Myself, Laura and all of the England players are massively looking forward to watching the semi-finals tomorrow to support her in what will be a great experience.”
El Hammamy, who ended North American interest in the event with an 11-2, 11-4, 11-7 defeat of 5/8 seed Marina Stefanoni – thus making her third successive semi – said: “I’m happy with my performance, especially against such a talented player as Marina. She was pushing me to the front so I was happy to get to every one. Another semi, hopefully I can go one better this time.”
Egypt’s top seed and defending champion Rowan Reda Araby also earned her third semi-final appearance in a row by seeing off compatriot Hana Moataz 12-10, 11-6, 11-3.
“I really enjoyed playing here,” said the 17-year-old from Alexandria (see venue picture above). “I loved the crowd watching from all around. There was a bit of pressure when I was down in the first but I managed to get through it and I’m really pleased to make a third semi in a row.”
Araby now takes on fellow countrywoman Jana Shiha, a 5/8 seed who needed 51 minutes to overcome surprise opponent Farida Mohamed 7-11, 11-6, 11-5, 7-11, 15-13.
“It’s great playing in this venue,” said Shiha. “But it didn’t feel so good when it got tight in the fifth! Farida and I have played probably 50 times since we were nine, in the semis and finals of events even when we’re playing up an age, so we both knew it was going to be tough.”
The men’s quarter-finals went according to seedings with the top four seeds lining up in the semis as predicted. Top seed Marwan Tarek eased into the last four after defeating fellow Egyptian Mostafa Montaser 11-8, 11-1, 11-5 in just 31 minutes.
The defending champion from Cairo now faces compatriot Omar El Torkey, the 3/4 seed who ended English interest in the men’s event when he beat 5/8 seed Nick Wall 11-6, 11-3, 11-7.
“I didn’t want another long match like my last ones,” said a relieved Omar. “It’s always a good match against Nick, but I felt comfortable. I don’t know what happened at the end when I gave away so many points but thank God I made it through!”
The other semi will see No.2 seed Mostafa Asal, the highest-ranked player in the event, take on Mostafa El Serty. Asal needed just three games to overcome Mexican Leonel Cardenas 12-10, 11-7, 11-9, while El Serty was taken the full distance by Darren Rahul Pragasam and had to save a match-ball in the fourth against the Malaysian before prevailing 4-11, 13-11, 6-11, 12-10, 11-6.
“That was so, so hard,” said El Serty. “I thought I’d lost it and I’m so grateful to come through.”
WSF World Junior Squash Championships, Chennai, India.
 Marwan Tarek (EGY) bt [5/8] Mostafa Montaser (EGY) 11-8, 11-1, 11-5 (31m)
[3/4] Omar El Torkey (EGY) bt [5/8] Nick Wall (ENG) 11-6, 11-3, 11-7 (36m)
[3/4] Mostafa El Serty (EGY) bt [5/8] Darren Rahul Pragasam (MAS) 4-11, 13-11, 6-11, 12-10, 11-6 (57m)
 Mostafa Asal (EGY) bt [5/8] Leonel Cardenas (MEX) 12-10, 11-7, 11-9 (50m)
 Rowan Reda Araby (EGY) bt [5/8] Hana Moataz (EGY) 12-10, 11-6, 11-3 (28m)
[5/8] Jana Shiha (EGY) bt [13/16] Farida Mohamed (EGY) 7-11, 11-6, 11-5, 7-11, 15-13 (51m)
[3/4] Lucy Turmel (ENG) bt Sneha Sivakumar (SGP) 11-5, 11-8, 11-8 (27m)
 Hania El Hammamy (EGY) bt [5/8] Marina Stefanoni (USA) 11-2, 11-4, 11-7 (26m)
 Marwan Tarek (EGY) v [3/4] Omar El Torkey (EGY)
 Mostafa Asal (EGY) v [3/4] Mostafa El Serty (EGY)
 Rowan Reda Araby (EGY) v [5/8] Jana Shiha (EGY)
 Hania El Hammamy (EGY) v [3/4] Lucy Turmel (ENG)
Follow the live action via the official website www.wsfworldjuniors.com
Pictures from www.wsfworldjuniors.com courtesy of WSF