Ramy Ashour and Raneem El Weleily triumphed in contrasting Hurghada International finals to secure a popular home double in the international squash circuit event in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Hurghada.
In what he described as ‘one of the toughest matches we’ve played together’, world No2 Ashour faced his Egyptian team-mate and fellow former world number one Karim Darwish, currently ranked three in the world, in the climax of the men’s PSA World Tour International 70 event.
In a repeat of the 2010 final, 23-year-old defending champion Ashour came back from 2/1 down to overcome his Cairo compatriot 11-9, 9-11, 12-14, 11-9, 11-3 in 80 minutes to claim the title for the fourth year in a row.
“We both played well and we gave it 100 percent from all aspects,” exclaimed the champion after his marathon success. “I think it was one of the toughest matches we’ve played together.
“I wanted to finish the year with a good result, unlike the last one, and I think the effort I did paid off.
“I want to thank my fitness coach Mohammed El Sayed and my squash feeder Haitham Effat, and our National Coach Amir Wagih, and ATCO.”
The win marks up the 20th PSA World Tour title of Ashour’s career.
The final of the women’s WISPA World Tour Silver 20 event produced a breakthrough win for Raneem El Weleilyagainst her country’s number one Omneya Abdel Kawy.
Fourth seed El Weleily made her breakthrough in the previous round when she upset Australian favouriteRachael Grinham, a three-time Hurghada International champion.
But in her eighth Tour clash with world No8 Abdel Kawy since June 2006, El Weleily claimed her maiden victory – beating the title-holder and four times champion 11-5, 12-10, 11-9 in just 27 minutes.
“I am so happy to win – I dreamed of winning this title since so long,” said the 22-year-old world No12 from Alexandria.
“I want to thank all my family and friends for being here to support me, and of course a big thank you to all my coaches who made this possible.”
The triumph marks El Weleily’s second WISPA trophy.
El Weleily Sets Up All-Egyptian Finals In Hurghada
A major upset by Raneem El Weleily in the women’s semi-finals of the Hurghada International has set up all-Egyptian finals in the international squash circuit event in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Hurghada.
El Weleily was facing Australia’s three-time champion Rachael Grinham in the WISPA World Tour Silver 20event celebrating its tenth year in Hurghada.
In a match described by event spokesman Hesham El Attar as “a beautiful tactical battle”, fourth seed El Weleily, the world No12 from Alexandria, took just 31 minutes to defeat the top-seeded Queenslander 11-4, 12-10, 11-9.
Grinham was expected to reach the final for the seventh time – but the El Weleily’s second upset over the illustrious former world number one this year takes the 22-year-old Egyptian into her first Hurghada final, and the seventh Tour final of her career.
El Weleily will face national rival Omneya Abdel Kawy, the Egyptian number one bidding for her fourth successive title, beat fast-rising compatriot Nour El Tayeb, the 18-year-old world No18, 9-11, 15-13, 11-7, 11-7.
Abdel Kawy, the world No8 from Cairo, is celebrating her 27th appearance in a WISPA Tour final.
The climax of the men’s PSA World Tour International 70 event will be the battle between two of the top three players in the world predicted by the seedings.
Favourite Ramy Ashour fended off Gregory Gaultier, beating his third-seeded French rival 11-8, 12-10, 11-7 in 48 minutes.
It was the pair’s 14th Tour clash since December 2005, but world No2 Ashour was celebrating his seventh win in a row over the world No6 from Aix-en-Provence, but only his second straight-games victory.
In a repeat of the 2010 final, Ashour will line up against Cairo compatriot Karim Darwish, the world No3.
Darwish ended Olli Tuominen’s brave run in the event, beating the unseeded Finn 11-3, 11-6, 11-4 in just 29 minutes.
Tuominen, the world No22 from Helsinki who made his breakthrough in the first round where he toppled France’s No4 seed Thierry Lincou, was playing for the second time in the day after having to continue his quarter-final match after excessive humidity in the outdoor court the previous night caused the match to be halted.
Ashour and Darwish have appeared in more than 60 PSA Tour finals between them – 23-year-old defending champion Ashour marking his 33rd, while 29-year-old Darwish is in his 35th.
Men’s quarter-finals (lower half of draw):
Olli Tuominen (FIN) bt [Q] Mohammed Abbas (EGY) 11-8, 11-7, 8-11, 11-5 (55m)
Second-seeded Egyptian Karim Darwish held off a determined quarter-final bid by Tarek Momen in theHurghada International – but needed almost an hour to overcome his young fellow countryman to book a place in the last four of the men’s PSA Tour International 70 event in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Hurghada.
Momen, the 23-year-old world No26 from Cairo, made an excellent start – leading 5-2 before going on to reach game-ball at 10-9, then again at 11-10.
But world No3 Darwish reclaimed the advantage to take the game after his own second game-ball.
“It was a very different Momen in the second game,” said event spokesman Hesham El Attar. “Darwish dominated and took the game 11-5 in just nine minutes.”
Momen was equal to the task up to eight-all in the third, then lost concentration as Darwish closed out the match 14-12, 11-5, 11-8 after 58 minutes.
“Tarek is one of those players coming up very strong, so there was no way that I would be taking this match lightly,” said 29-year-old Darwish, a former world No1, afterwards. “I had to stay focused to make sure that I could control the match throughout.”
Darwish’s semi-final opponent was unable to complete his quarter-final match last night.
“The final match of the evening had to be postponed due to humidity causing a slippery floor,” explained El Attar.
Finland’s Olli Tuominen led Egyptian qualifier Mohammed Abbas 2/1 when the match was stopped. When resumed this morning, the unseeded Finn went on to secure an 11-8, 11-7, 8-11, 11-5 win after 55 minutes.
Teenager Nour El Tayeb pulled off a notable upset in the women’s WISPA World Tour Silver 20 event to set up a surprise all-Egyptian semi-final in the lower half of the draw.
The 18-year-old fifth seed from Cairo recovered from a game down to beat France’s third seed Camille Serme11-13, 11-6, 11-8, 11-5 – repeating her win over the world No9 two years ago on the same court in Hurghada.
“My racket control was not great this evening so my main objective was to get the ball past her and not giving her much chance to volley or attack me from the middle of the court,” explained the rapidly-improving Egyptian who made her top 20 debut in December.
El Tayeb will now face top-ranked Egyptian Omneya Abdel Kawy. The second seed from Cairo, who is bidding to win the established WISPA title for the fourth year in a row, beat eighth-seeded compatriot Heba El Torky 11-8, 12-10, 11-4.
Men’s Semi-final line-up:
 Ramy Ashour (EGY) v  Gregory Gaultier (FRA)
 Karim Darwish (EGY) v Olli Tuominen (FIN)
Women’s semi-final line-up:
 Rachael Grinham (AUS) v  Raneem El Weleily (EGY)
 Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) v  Nour El Tayeb (EGY)
 Raneem El Weleily (EGY) bt  Line Hansen (DEN) 11-8, 11-4, 11-6 (25m)
Ramy Tested In Hurghada
Egypt’s top-ranked squash player Ramy Ashour remains on course to win his fourth successive Hurghada International title – but the world No2 from Cairo was stretched for 78 minutes before overcoming fellow countryman Omar Mosaad in the quarter-finals of the men’s PSA Tour International 70 event in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Hurghada
Unseeded Mosaad, the world No16 from Cairo, took full advantage of a series of errors from the top seed and had four game balls to open up a first game lead.
But Ashour held off the challenge, ultimately clinching the opener 17-15 before going on to recover from dropping the third game to win 17-15, 11-4, 8-11, 11-6.
Ashour’s next opponent will be career-long French rival Gregory Gaultier, also a former world number one. The third seed from Aix-en-Provence, ranked six in the world, brushed aside Egyptian opponent Mohd Ali Anwar Reda, beating the world No27 11-5, 11-4, 11-1 in 38 minutes.
Raneem El Weleily provided local success in the quarter-finals of the women’s WISPA World Tour Silver 20eventaftertriumphing in straight games against Dane Line Hansen.
It was nip and tuck in the opening game which reached eight-all before fourth seed El Weleily, the world No12 from Alexandria, moved ahead to take the game.
It took just 25 minutes for the Egyptian to book her place in the semi-finals, winning 11-8, 11-4, 11-6 to set up a clash with three-time former champion Rachael Grinham.
The top-seeded Australian, who was based for many years in Egypt, took on Egyptian rival Engy Kheirallah, the No7 seed from Cairo currently ranked 33 in the world.
Grinham, ranked three in the world, took control of the opening exchanges and soon built up a two-game lead.
“Rachael was controlling the pace and using the forehand boast and volley boast very well,” said respected Egyptian coach Hesham El Attar. “Apart from two errors, she dominated and looked the stronger of the two when attacked.”
But Kheirallah, a former world No11, came back in the third – and finally clinched her fourth game ball to reduce the deficit.
The fourth game was again close – but it was Grinham who ultimately prevailed, winning 11-4, 11-5, 11-13, 11-8 after 43 minutes to earn her eighth appearance in the event’s last four.
Finland’s Olli Tuominen recorded his first ever win over France’s former world number one Thierry Lincou when he beat the fourth seed in the Hurghada International to claim the biggest upset in the first round of the men’sPSA Tour International 70 squash event in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Hurghada.
The two PSA Tour stalwarts have been doing battle with each other for more than a decade – but this time it was the 32-year-old from Helsinki who finally triumphed, winning 11-8, 15-13, 11-5 in 46 minutes to inflict the first early round exit on Lincou for 14 months.
Tuominen, the world No22, will now face Egyptian Mohammed Abbas for a place in the semi-finals. Abbas, a 30-year-old former world No13, is also celebrating an unexpected quarter-final berth after first battling through the qualifiers – then upsetting Pakistan’s world No29 Aamir Atlas Khan 11-9, 13-15, 11-3, 11-3 in 49 minutes.
Abbas is mounting a major comeback after a long-term foot injury – and has recovered more than 30 ranking positions since falling to a ten-year rankings low of 66 at the end of 2009.
Egyptian interest is already guaranteed in both men’s semi-finals after rising star Tarek Momen, the 23-year-old world No26 from Cairo, beat experienced Malaysian Ong Beng Hee 11-13, 13-11, 11-7, 11-4.
Momen will face second seed Karim Darwish, the world No3 from Cairo who defeated Swiss qualifier Nicolas Mueller 11-8, 11-5, 11-1.
An all-Egyptian quarter-final clash in the top half of the draw will see favourite Ramy Ashour, the world No2 from Cairo bidding to win the title for a fourth successive year, take on unseeded Omar Mosaad.
There were no surprises in the first round of the women’s WISPA World Tour Silver 30 event when all eight seeds progressed safely through to the quarter-finals.
Australia’s top seed Rachael Grinham, winner of the title three times until 2007, defeated Egypt’s Kanzy Emad El-Defrawy 11-4, 11-8, 11-4 – while defending champion Omneya Abdel Kawy, the second seed from Cairo looking for her fourth successive title, recovered from a game down to beat 18-year-old compatriot Salma Hany, a qualifier, 8-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-7.
Men’s quarter-final line-up:
 Ramy Ashour (EGY) v Omar Mosaad (EGY)
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v Mohd Ali Anwar Reda (EGY)
Olli Tuominen (FIN) v [Q] Mohammed Abbas (EGY)
 Karim Darwish (EGY) v Tarek Momen (EGY)
Women’s quarter-final line-up:
 Rachael Grinham (AUS) v  Engy Kheirallah (EGY)
 Raneem El Weleily (EGY) v  Line Hansen (DEN)
 Camille Serme (FRA) v  Nour El Tayeb (EGY)
 Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) v  Heba El Torky (EGY)