Monday, May 20, 2024

Rising stars to meet in Carol Weymuller Open final at Heights Casino

Siva wins feisty all-College battle to set up Sunday showdown with world No.8 Rowan
By ALAN THATCHER – Squash Mad Editor

Two rising stars will meet in the Carol Weymuller Open final at Heights Casino today when Sivasangari Subramaniam from Malaysia challenges top seed Rowan Elaraby, the world No.8 from Egypt.

Elaraby, aged 21, won an all-Egyptian semi-final against Nadine Shahin in just 25 minutes, while Subramaniam triumphed in a feisty all-College clash against Farida Mohamed. Subramaniam is a student at Cornell University in Ithaca, in upstate New York, while Mohamed attends Columbia University in Manhattan.

Top seed Elaraby began nervously as world No.15 Shahin played attacking squash from the off and quickly built a 6-1 lead with her trademark kills. However, Elaraby soon found her rhythm and length and dominated the rest of the game to win 11-9.

She continued to control the second game with a succession of immaculate length shots dying in the back corners to mop up 11-3.

Elaraby built a 9-4 lead in the third but Shahin gave it one last push and managed to win three more points before Elaraby used a wonderfully disguised backhand trickle boast to give her match ball.

The last rally of the match was a long and dramatic battle as both players left it all on the court, with Elaraby finally winning it with a superb forehand drop to clinch it 11-7.

A smiling Rowan said: “I wasn’t finding my drop shots in the first game she was on them all the time. So I focused on my length game until I found my winning shots at the end of the first.

“Nadine is great athlete and she has good movement so I had to make sure I moved her around the court to get the better of her. I think this is the biggest final for me so far and I think I’ll just concentrate on my match and not get excited.”

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The second semi-final featured two college squash players who are already ranked 22 and 26 in the world.

Subramaniam won a curious opening game 11-8 with most points won by outstanding winners or disappointing mistakes.

In the second, Subramaniam was 9-7 up when Mohamed got a no let that she didn’t agree with and promptly hit a volley drop tin off the serve to gift her opponent an 11-7 win to open up a two-game lead.

The third game became fractious and tournament director Linda Elriani said: “The third game was very exciting but the momentum changed and there started to be more lets and strokes than the previous games.

“It seemed that Farida’s tactic was to almost sandwich Siva in between herself and the ball to try and get strokes and lets. There was some pushing and shoving and Siva started to get frustrated and lost her focus.

“Siva’s length was too short and if you give the skilful Farida an inch, she will take a mile! There were many errors in this game and in the end Farida got in front and kept the control enough to win 11-6.”

Mohamed built an early 5-1 lead as she dominated the start of the fourth game but Subramaniam hit back and reeled in the points to reach match ball at 10-8. It was then that Mohamed fell awkwardly in the front left corner and took a three-minute break.

When the Egyptian returned to court she hit a great backhand drop to get to 9-10, followed by a backhand back wall nick to even up the game at 10-10.

The Malaysian regained her focus and won two crucial points to take the game and the match 12-10 with the help of a no let from the ref.

Reflecting on the match, Elriani added: “Farida has an incredible presence on the court and her power is second to none. Siva is so light on her feet and almost seems to glide around the court. She still has enough power in her games but her strength is more in shot creativity and placement.

“Siva managed to find the spaces on the court to get Farida out of position. Farida can reach almost everything with one large lunge so Siva really have to find the corners to expose her.”

A smiling Subramaniam said: “I feel really really happy, this is my biggest final. In February I lost in the semis of a 50k and I’m so happy to make it through.

“It’s always tough to play Farida. She’s a huge fighter. It was more of a mental game today and I think I did really well to hold one and finish in four.

“I’ve played Rowan a couple of times and ever since juniors we’ve been playing and I just hope to stick to my game plan and do my best.”

$51,250 Women’s Carol Weymuller Open 2022, Heights Casino, Brooklyn, New York, USA.

[1] Rowan Elaraby (EGY) bt [3] Nadine Shahin (EGY) 11-9, 11-3, 11-7 (25m)
[6] Sivasangari Subramaniam (MAS) bt [5] Farida Mohamed (EGY) 11-8, 11-7, 6-11, 12-10 (46m)
[1] Rowan Elaraby (EGY) v [6] Sivasangari Subramaniam (MAS)

Pictures courtesy of JEAN ERVASTI


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