Men’s top two seeds ejected and Hong Kong women falter in qualifying finals
By Alex Wan – Squash Mad Asian Bureau Editor
Men’s qualifying top two seeds ejected as the Egyptians reigned supreme in the qualifying finals of the 2018 Macau Squash Open this afternoon. Karim El Hammamy, Mohamed Elsherbini and Yathreb Adel made it through to the main draw with the men turning the tables on the seeding, as they took out the qualifying top two seeds.
After surviving a stern match yesterday, Karim El Hammamy survived a much longer marathon today as he bounced back from being bagelled in first game to edge out top seed Todd Harrity of the United States in a long contest lasting 97 minutes. Having arrived just an hour before his opening match yesterday, playing through a five-setter and again today, a very happy Karim said,
“I am very tired! But I am also very happy to get through, as Todd is a very good player. There were lots of ups and down throughout the match, but today I did not want to lose more than usual and that is what pulled me through. I can’t wait to see what is in store for me in the main draw.”
Mohamed Elsherbini made it two for Egypt after taking out England’s qualifying second seed Nathan Lake in three entertaining games.
Mazen Gamal was the only Egyptian casualty of the evening as he was tamely beaten by Spain’s Edmon Lopez, who now faces 2015 champion Max Lee in the main draw.
Edmon will be joined in the main draw by compatriot Iker Pajares, who edged American Christopher Gordon in three close games in 52 minutes. However, a tough job awaits tomorrow as he has drawn the top seed and fellow countryman Borja Golan.
Things were different in the women’s event as all matches went to seeding. It was certainly not a day to savour for the Hong Kong camp as all four of their women were on the losing end of the matches.
Egypt’s world number 42 Yathreb Adel had another impressive display today as she saw off Hong Kong’s Tong Tsz-Wing in straight games. Having taken out top seeded compatriot Raneem El Weilily in the opening round last year, the 22 year old will now have another crack at the tournament top seed as she is drawn to face Camille Serme tomorrow.
“I’m very happy with my win today as Tong (Tsz-Wing) is one of the strong players. I have been focussing and getting ready for the match. You never know who you’re going to get tomorrow so hopefully, tomorrow is going to be a new day, a new match and I can keep going forward,” said Adel.
Hong Kong’s Lee Ka Yi would be disappointed to have come so close after just losing out to American Haley Mendez 12-10 in the decider. Having come back from a game down to take a 2-1 lead after a clinical 11-1 win in the third. However, the 24 year old New Yorker came back gutsily to force the decider, which went to the distance in her favour after 50 minutes.
“I had Olivia (Blatchford) and Nathan (Lake) coaching me, so they sort of gave me a game plan and keep me calm between games and I was able to refocus and play one point at a time,” said Mendez when asked how she managed to turn around in the fourth and fifth game after losing the third tamely.
Qualifying top seed Hollie Naughton made it into the main draw after she won clinically against Vanessa Chu in just 24 minutes and will take on England’s Emily Whitlock.
Second seed Milou van der Heijden did not have it as easy as she had to battle past a gutsy Ho Tze-Lok before winning 3-1 in 41 minutes in the final match of the evening. The win earned her a match against another Hong Kong player in Joey Chan tomorrow.
Karim El Hammamy (EGY) bt Todd Harrity (USA) 0-11, 14-12, 6-11, 12-10, 11-1 (97m)
Edmon Lopez (ESP) bt Mazen Gamal (EGY) 11-9, 11-8, 11-3 (39m)
Iker Pajares (ESP) bt Christopher Gordon (USA) 11-8, 11-8, 11-9 (52m)
Mohamed Elsherbini (EGY) bt Nathan Lake (ENG) 11-8, 11-6, 11-6 (41m)
Hollie Naughton (CAN) bt Vanessa Chu (HKG) 11-8, 11-3, 11-8 (24m)
Yathreb Adel (EGY) bt Tong Tsz-Wing (HKG) 11-6, 11-9, 11-3 (25m)
Haley Mendez (USA) bt Lee Ka Yi (HKG) 11-3, 8-11, 1-11, 11-9, 12-10 (50m)
Milou van der Heijden (NED) bt Ho Tze-Lok (HKG) 11-8, 13-11, 3-11, 12-10 (36m)
Pictures by Macau Squash