Yathreb Adel makes a winning return to Macau
By Alex Wan – Squash Mad Asian Bureau Editor
There were no surprises on the opening day of the 2018 Macau Squash Open as all qualifying seeds made it through to the next round, but a few were stretched to the limits by their lower ranked opponents, with men’s top seed Todd Harrity of the United States leading the way with a straightforward 3-0 win over Hong Kong’s Wong Chi Him in slightly over half an hour of play.
Things were not as straightforward for Egyptian Karim El Hammamy who had travelled to the courts straight from the airport. The world number 71 was made to slog and had to twice come back from behind to edge out Lau Tsz Kwan from Hong Kong 3-2.
“I’m happy to survive my match today, especially after I had just arrived an hour before my match. It was hot in there, but all credit to my opponent who played very well today,” said the relieved Egyptian.
Spain’s Edmon Lopez and Egyptian Mazen Gamal both overcame young local hopefuls easily, winning in under 20 minutes, dispatching Austin Van and Manuel Gassmann respectively. Seventeen year old Gassmann however, was not too disappointed with his performance :
“I personally think I played better in this one (compared to the year before). Every tournament I feel I am improving, and my shot selections has been better than before. I still think my skills are not up to mark yet so it’s something I need to improve a lot.”
Iker Pajares and Christopher Gordon both also won against locals to double up Spain and United States’ representation in the next round, while Egyptian Mohamed Elsherbini and England’s qualifying second seed both won 3-0.
In the women’s event, four Hong Kong women made it to the next round in rather contrasting fashion. Vanessa Chu, fresh from her recent title at the Contrex HK Challenge Cup, was stretched to the limit by her much younger compatriot Chan Sin Yuk in a marathon match that went to the distance. The world number 56 twice came back from a game down and merely sneaked through the fourth before dominating the 15-year Sin Yuk in the decider.
Tong Tsz-Wing then had three close games against Dutch Ressa ter Sluis before winning in 31 minutes, while Ho Tze-Lok was in dominating form in taking out China’s Li Dongjin in 17 minutes. But it was Lee Ka Yi who had the easiest match of the afternoon as she took just 11 minutes to see off local Leong Ieng Lam 11-2, 11-2, 11-3.
Yathreb Adel, the Egyptian who stamped her mark back on the world tour after a long injury break here a year ago, is back in Macau for hopefully another giant killing run this year. She looked good in her straight game victory over Philippines’ Jemyca Aribado, winning in straight games in under 20 minutes.
“I’m very happy to be back here again. Last year I had a great tournament and hopefully this time it will even be better. Today’s match was good to start with, and I have to get focussed and I’m taking it step by step. Hopefully I will be getting better and better with each match to come,” said Adel.
Tournament secretary Liu Kwai Chi, a regular feature of the event, found time to participate once again but lost out to a much stronger opponent in Haley Mendez. “I think I performed a little better this time round. I’m playing in the qualifiers, so somehow there is a lot less pressure and I feel less tensed. My shots are more stable now after I’ve put in some work over the past few weeks, but I still made far too many mistakes, which I feel is the reason I lost,” said Liu of her performance today.
In the final match of the evening, Milou van der Heijden beat local Yeung Wai Leng 11-2, 11-6, 11-5 to wrap up the evening.
Qualifying First Round
Todd Harrity (USA) by Wong Chi Him (HKG) 11-5, 11-9, 11-4 (33m)
Karim El Hammamy (EGY) bt Lau Tsz Kwan (HKG) 11-13, 11-8, 8-11, 11-4, 11-6 (59m)
Edmon Lopex (ESP) bt Austin Van (MAC) 11-2, 11-3, 11-5 (20m)
Mazen Gamal (EGY) bt Manuel Gassmann (MAC) 11-1, 11-5, 11-2 (16m)
Iker Pajares Bernabeu (ESP) bt Wu Ka Chon (MAC) 11-3, 11-2, 11-6 (16m)
Christopher Gordon (USA) bt Carlos Chan Gasssmann (MAC) 11-5, 11-6, 11-3 (17m)
Mohamed Elsherbini (EGY) bt Dimitri Steinmann (SUI) 11-8, 11-7, 11-6 (31m)
Nathan Lake (ENG) bt Michael McCue (CAN) 11-8, 11-5, 11-5 (39m)
Vanessa Chu (HKG) bt Chan Sin Yuk (HKG) 6-11, 11-7, 7-11, 11-9, 11-3 (40m)
Tong Tsz-Wing (HKG) bt Ressa ter Sluis (NED) 11-8, 12-10, 11-8 (31m)
Yathreb Adel (EGY) bt Jemyca Aribado (PHI) 11-4, 11-5, 11-5 (17m)
Haley Mendez bt Liu Kwai Chi (MAC) 11-4, 11-3, 11-3 (16m)
Lee Ka Yi (HKG) bt Leong Ieng Lam (MAC) 11-2, 11-2, 11-3 (11m)
Ho Tze-Lok (HKG) bt Li Dongjin (CHN) 11-2, 11-3, 11-7 (17m)
Milou van der Heijden (NED) bt Yeung Wai Leng (MAC) 11-2, 11-6, 11-5 (18m)
Pictures by Macau Squash