Tuesday, July 23, 2024

‘Man-up’ call helps Salma Hany sink Jenny Duncalf in Brooklyn

Young Egyptian now meets world champion Laura Massaro in Weymuller Open
By LINDA ELRIANI – Squash Mad Reporter at Heights Casino, Brooklyn

A happy Salma Hany Ibrahim is interviewed by Linda Elriani
A happy Salma Hany Ibrahim is interviewed by Linda Elriani

It was after telling herself to ‘man up’ in her opening match in the Carol Weymuller Open in the USA that Egyptian teenager Salma Hany Ibrahim was able to pull off a notable upset over England’s former world No.2 Jenny Duncalf to reach the quarter-finals of the long-established WSA Gold 50 squash event at Heights Casino in New York.

HCsalmajenFounded in 1993, the Carol Weymuller Open boasts a Roll of Honour featuring all the sport’s great names, including Michelle Martin, Sarah Fitz-Gerald and Nicol David.

Ibrahim, an 18-year-old qualifier and the youngest player in the draw, went into the match again sixth seed Duncalf – the event’s champion in 2009 and 2010 – having beaten the 31-year-old world No16 in five games in their previous encounter in Hong Kong.

Salma started the match so maturely, way beyond her years. She played a perfect combination of attacking shots and patience, without any errors. Jenny was trying to get the ball deeper but too many cross courts and unforced errors lead the way to Salma winning the first game 11-6.

The next two games were similarly tight, but the Alexandria youngster ultimately prevailed 11-6, 11-9, 12-10.

“I’m SO happy to win that match,” said the delighted Ibrahim, ranked 31 in the world (pictured above in action with Duncalf). “After the epic match yesterday I’m so glad to have held myself together, pushed myself to the limit and keep myself solid until the end.

“I didn’t want to drop a game as I knew my energy was not full. Jenny is a tough opponent and a very experienced player and I knew that if I let her into the game it would be very hard to win.

HClaura“I was so worried after the first game and kept thinking a lot and there was lots of stuff going on in my mind. Every time I felt the tiredness, I kept telling myself ‘MAN UP’ and it’s only a few points away and then you will have the whole day off!”

Ibrahim will now face world champion Laura Massaro (right), the top seed from England who held off a national challenge from Sarah Kippax, beating her England team-mate 11-5, 11-9, 11-8.

“I’m really happy to come off 3/0,” said world No2 Massaro afterwards. “I really feel Sarah is consistent in her play and she really gets a lot of balls back, so I had to stay calm and play the big points well.

“I’m looking forward to playing Salma, I’ve never played her before and she’s obviously playing really well so I’ll have to concentrate on playing the best I can.”

There was a further Egyptian upset on the opening night when qualifier Nour El Tayeb beat experienced Irish opponent Madeline Perry, the fourth seed ranked 13 in the world, 11-2, 11-4, 11-4.

HCnourmadBut it was strictly an upset on paper as El Tayeb (pictured right, with Perry) is now ranked eight in the world after a remarkable WSA Tour run over the past six weeks which saw the 21-year-old from Cairo reach the finals of the Malaysian Open and Hong Kong Open, both World Series championships.

“In the qualifying, I was feeling tense and I almost lost in the first round,” admitted El Tayeb. “All day today I was telling myself to enjoy the match. I slept as much as possible to release the tension.

“Madeline is one of the best players on tour and has beaten everyone! She can come up with great performances, but today she was tinning more than she usually does.

“I am playing Omneya next, I didn’t want to play her in the first round but I have to play her now. She’s like my big sister and I hope that we can play a great match.”

Omneya Abdel Kawy, the fifth seed, became the third Egyptian to make the last eight after dismissing Canadian qualifier Samantha Cornett 11-5, 11-6, 11-3.

“She gave me a hard time to win each point and I had to think for every shot,” said Abdel Kawy in response to Elriani’s suggestion that the world No14 from Cairo had made it look so effortless. “At times she got some openings and I was lucky because she made mistakes and I took advantage and kept on winning points.

“Hopefully on Saturday I’ll play good squash and enjoy the game and that’s all that matters now!” concluded the 29-year-old.

Carol Weymuller Open. Heights Casino, Brooklyn, New York, USA. (First Round):

Top half of draw:
[1] Laura Massaro (ENG) bt Sarah Kippax (ENG) 11-5, 11-9, 11-8
[Q] Salma Hany Ibrahim (EGY) bt [6] Jenny Duncalf (ENG) 11-6, 11-9, 12-10
[Q] Nour El Tayeb (EGY) bt [4] Madeline Perry (IRL) 11-2, 11-4, 11-4
[5] Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) bt [Q] Samantha Cornett (CAN) 11-5, 11-6, 11-3

Pictures by JEAN ERVASTI


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