Friday, May 24, 2024

Qatar Squash Classic: Salma Hany scores first major upset

Doha — Salma Hany produced the biggest upset of the day at the Q Terminals Qatar Classic 2023 with a win over compatriot and tournament fifth seed Nour El Tayeb in the second round.

Hany, who has a career high world ranking of number 7, twice led but Tayeb managed to level things. In the decider, the first few points did the damage as Hany cruised on to take it comfortably 11-4.

Egyptian teenagers Amina Orfi and Fayrouz Abouelkheir played the match of the day, one that lasted 75 minutes and each of the five games going into the tiebreaker. The world junior champion fell two games behind before drawing all her experience to inch her way back to book a place in the last 16. While parts of the match were not as smooth sailing, the quality and intensity of the squash from the youngsters was a sight to behold.

Third seed Hania El Hammamy was forced to overcome a first game deficit against compatriot Hana Ramadan. Her win sets her up against Malaysia’s Sivasangari Subramaniam, who played with much more confidence in her straight games win over USA’s Olivia Clyne.

Clyne’s team-mate Sabrina Sobhy bit the dust too as she went down to an in-form Rowan El Araby in straight games. However, sister Amanda Sobhy, seventh seed of the event is through together with Olivier Fiechter.

Team England had a pair into round three, with Sarah-Jane Perry and Georgina Kennedy facing each other next, thus guaranteeing a quarter-finalist for England.

Nour El Sherbini
Nour El Sherbini won through in Doha

Top seeds Nouran Gohar and Nour El Sherbini, are through, along with all other seeds.

Abouelghar proves crowd favourite

In the men’s event’s opening round, four matches went the distance to five. Scotland’s Rory Stewart clawed back from a two-game deficit to upset the seedings against Spanish number one Iker Pajeras Berbabeu, to earn a place in the second round against Mohamed ElSherbini.

The other five-game winners are Karim El Hammamy, who played the longest match of the tournament so far, winning in 90 minutes over the Swiss Bullet Dimitri Steinmann. Scot Greg Lobban and Youssef Ibrahim were the other pair who were stretched to five.

On the glass court, Egypt’s Mohamed Abouelghar, a crowd favourite here in Qatar, cruised to a straight games victory over Hong Kong China’s Henry Leung. Having had an injury plagued year in 2022, he was happy with how things went.

“It’s been two years since I last been here, so it’s good to be here and have a good win. I think I played well. I took my time to recover and I had to accept that my game was not going to be at my best when I (first) come back. I needed to be patient and this is what I did”, Abouelghar said.

England’s Charlie Lee is also through with an impressive straight game win over seasoned French campaigner Gregoire Marche in the opening round.

The Qatari challenge will rest on Abdulla At Tamimi’s shoulders. The world number 23 won comfortably against France’s Lucas Serme on the final match on the glass court. His compatriots Syed Azlan Amjad and Salem Al Malki, the wild cards, both crashed out.

Speaking to the media later, Tamimi said: “It’s always an honour to be playing in front of the home crowd. I hope I am able to show them that it is possible for a Qatar to be playing at this stage.”

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