Monday, July 15, 2024

Qatar Squash Classic: Amina Orfi leads day of small upsets

Doha — The Khalifa Tennis and Squash Centre is the centre of attention of the PSA World Tour this week, as the 2023 edition of the Qatar Classic kicked off on Saturday. At 40C, this could well be the hottest city of the tour.

On a lovely opening day, 16 women’s matches took place for the first time since 2015. For most of the women, this would be their first time playing in the Qatar Classic.

England’s Lucy Turmel kicked off proceedings on the glass court with a 3-1 win against Egyptian Malak Khafagy and Hana Ramadan overpowered Scotland’s Georgia Adderley in straight games.

Egyptian prodigy Amina Orfi continues to shine on the PSA World Tour as she took out compatriot Nadine Shahin in four games in the first of four upsets of the day.

Playing in their maiden PSA match against each other, 16-year old Orfi was patient throughout the match and remained calm despite dropping the third. She stayed on course with her game plan and was through after 44 minutes.

“I feel so happy to be in the second round. It was going to be difficult from the first round because of my (lower) ranking, so I’m very happy to win today”, said Orfi.

In another upset, Hong Kong China’s Lee Ka Yi pulled through in five games from 2-1 down in a nail biting 48-minute thriller against Egyptian Hana Moataz. The win puts her in her second consecutive Platinum second round this season.

Lee’s compatriot Tong Tsz Wing made it two-for-two for the Hong Kong China team with a straightforward 3-0 win against French number two Enora Villard.

Other upsets of the day saw Malaysia’s Sivasangari Subramaniam beat Egyptian Sana Ibrahim and Salma El Tayeb winning against fellow-Egyptian Zeina Mickawy.

“I was a bit nervous in the beginning but as the game went on, I felt much better on court and found my corners. I think I played well in closing it in three games”, said Malaysia’s SIvasangari Subramaniam after her match.

Egyptian teenager Fayrouz Aboelkheir was in devastating form as she made easy work of Canada’s Nicol Bunyan, dropping just eight points in 18-minute match.

In an all-Egyptian duel, Nour Aboulmakarim halted a comeback from Menna Hamed to win just under 70 minutes in the longest match of the day. However, this included a 15-minute contributed injury break in the fifth game.

The last match of the day saw Egypt’s Nada Abbas beat former world number five and Low Wee Wern In four games.

Abbas, one of the few who played in the 2015 event, who was humble in her post-match interview, said: “I knew how tough Wee Wern is. She was a top five player and she has all the experience, so I was always on my toes and I knew that she could come back anytime.”

In the other matches, there wre mixed fortunes for the English camp, with wins for Katie Malliff, Lucy Beecroft and national champion Jasmine Hutton. South African Alexander Fuller won a tricky match against Egyptian teenager Zeina Zein, Wales’ Emily Whitlock won against Latvia’s Ineta Mackevica, and Mariam Metwally halted Millie Tomlinson.

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