Three top seeds crash out in semi-finals
By DONNA HELMER – Squash Mad Correspondent
It was a good day for the hosts as Sam Todd (B17), Yusuf Sheikh (B15) and Mariam Eissa (G11) all advanced to the finals of the Dunlop British Junior Open at the University of Birmingham with comfortable wins. Katie Malliff couldn’t add to the tally as she retired injured halfway through her G15 semi-final.
There was plenty of drama and more upsets as three top seeds perished in the G11, B13 and the G17, where Malaysia’s Aira Azman was beaten in a thrilling finish by Egypt’s Nour Khaled Aboulmakarim.
Aira’s sister Aifa Azman made it through to her fourth BJO final in dramatic fashion as she held off a comeback from Egypt’s Farida Mohamed, winning when a no let on match ball to the Malaysian was overturned by the video ref into a stroke.
Malaysia’s [3/4] Harleein Tan struck the first major upset when she overpowered Egyptian favourite Jana Mohamed 3-0 in the GU11’s, then BU13’s top seed Mohamed Zakaria (Egypt) was taken out 3-0 in a whirlwind 21 minutes by compatriot [9/16] Ahmed Rashed.
And in the day’s second-longest encounter, GU17’s  Aira Azman met her match in [3/4] Nour Khaled Aboulmakarim who won 3-1 (12-10, 8-11, 11-8, 16-14) in 47 minutes, a result carrying extra special significance for the Egyptian after Azman’s own U15 upset in 2018.
“I lost to Aira in the quarters when I was top seed, so it was nice to get a bit of revenge,” said Aboulmakarim. “When I was 7-10 down in the fourth, I was so tired but I kept saying to myself ‘you can make it, it’s only the fourth game.’”
The upset put fire in the belly of Azman’s older sister  Aifa who kept her nerve to defeat GU19’s [3/4] Farida Mohamed (Egypt) 3-1 in a physical and compelling tussle as she moved one step closer to a fourth BJO title.
She will play Egyptian top seed Jana Shiha, who looked ominous in a brief encounter with Team USA’s [3/4] Marina Stefanoni and will be itching for her maiden BJO crown.
“I’ve played in the British Junior Open five or six times and I’ve never won a title and this is my last chance so hopefully I can win tomorrow,” said the World No. 84.
BU19 Egyptian top seed Moustafa El Sirty outhit India’s [3/4] Veer Chotrani 3-1 to reach his first BJO final before he was joined by three-time champion  Yahya Elnawasany, the winner of an all-Egyptian semi against [5/8] Karim El Barbary 3-1.
Malaysian boys U17’s [5/8] Ishant Shah put on a patient display to outmanoeuvre and ultimately frustrate his talented Egyptian opponent [5/8] Ahmed Aly 3-1 in 55 minutes to set up a clash with home favourite  Sam Todd, who is seeking a third BJO title.
GU17 second seed Sana Ibrahim expended little energy in pencilling in Monday’s all-Egypt final when English [3/4] opponent Katie Maliff retired in the second due to injury.
Boys under 15 second seed Muhammad Humza Khan was rewarded for his persistence at this event as he set up a final with England’s [5/8] Yusuf Sheikh, who followed yesterday’s upset with a straight-games defeat of Khan’s fellow Pakistani Muhammad Ammad.
“I got to the semis two years ago and the quarters last year so it feels great to finally reach a final,” said Khan.
GU15 second seed Fayrouz Abouelkheir looked the pick of the bunch by needing just 18 minutes to dispatch compatriot [9/16] Habiba Hani Diab (Egypt) after [5/8] Malak Taha showed little sign of fatigue after yesterday’s surprise win against the favourite as she sent Team USA’s Caroline Fouls home.
BU13 second seed Youssef Salem won 3-0 when fellow Egyptian [3/4] Eyad Hossam retired in the third while girls under 13s [3/4] Anahat Singh (India) caused another Sunday shock with a 3-2 win over Egypt’s  Janna Galal in 39 hard-fought minutes to move into Monday’s final with  Amina Orfi.
GU11  Mariam Eissa of England warmed up for Monday’s final against Tan with another straight-games victory while BU11 [3/4] Seif Belal El Shal set up another all-Egypt final against  Yassin Kouritam.
Eissa, 10 said: “I’m very happy to reach the final beating really tough players from my first match all the way to the final. I have been working very hard and winning my fist BJO title would be great!”
Dunlop British Junior Open 2020, University of Birmingham, England.
[3/4] Harleein Tan (Mas) 3-0  Jana Mohamed (Egy) 11-4, 11-5,11-7 (21m)
 Mariam Eissa (Eng) 3-0 [3/4] Maya Mandour (Egy) 13-11, 11-7, 11-6 (23m)
[3/4] Seif Belal El Shal (Egy) 3-0 [9/16] Yassin Azouz (Egy) 11-7, 11-8, 11-1 (22m)
 Yassin Kouritam (Egy) 3-0 [5/8] Farouk Mohamed (Egy) 11-6,11-9,11-7 (22m)
 Amina Orfi (Egy) 3-0 [9/16] Barb Sameh (Egy) 11-4, 11-3, 11-0 (17m)
[3/4] Anahat Singh (Ind) 3-2  Janna Galal (Egy) 7-11, 11-7, 13-11, 5-11, 17-15 (39m)
[9/16] Ahmed Rashed (Egy) 3-0  Mohamed Zakaria (Egy) 11-3, 11-9, 11-9 (21m)
 Youssef Salem (Egy) 3-0 [3/4] Eyad Hossam (Egy) 11-5, 14-12, 8-3 rtd (26m)
[5/8] Malak Taha (Egy) 3-1 [5/8] Caroline Fouls (Usa) 4-11, 11-7, 11-7, 11-8 (29m)
 Fayrouz Abouelkheir (Egy) 3-0 [9/16] Habiba Hani Diab (Egy) 11-4, 11-4, 11-6 (18m)
[5/8] Yusuf Sheikh (Eng) 3-0 [9/16] Muhammad Ammad (Pak) 11-9, 11-6, 11-7 (22m)
 Muhammad Humza Khan (Pak) 3-0 [5/8] Yassin Shohdy (Egy) 11-5, 11-8, 11-7 (22m)
[3/4] Nour Khaled Aboulmakarim (Egy) 3-1  Aira Azman (Mas) 12-10, 8-11, 11-8, 16-14 (47m)
 Sana Ibrahim (Egy) 3-1 [3/4] Katie Maliff (Eng) 11-3, 5-0 rtd (11m)
 Sam Todd (Eng) 3-0 [9/16] Noor Zaman (Pak) 11-6, 11-1, 11-1 (18m)
[5/8] Ishant Shah (Mas) 3-1 [5/8] Ahmed Aly (Egy) 11-13, 11-9, 11-9, 11-9 (55m)
 Jana Shiha (Egy) 3-0 [3/4] Marina Stefanoni (Usa) 11-6, 11-6, 12-10 (23m)
 Aifa Azman (Mas) 3-1 [3/4] Farida Mohamed (Egy) 11-5, 11-9, 6-11, 12-10 (32m)
 Moustafa El Sirty (Egy) 3-1 [3/4] Veer Chotrani (Ind) 7-11, 11-2, 11-6, 11-8 (33m)
 Yahya Elnawasany (Egy) 3-1 [3/4] Karim El Barbary (Egy) 8-11, 11-6, 11-7, 11-6 (43m)
Report by DONNA HELMER (ES). Edited by ALAN THATCHER.
Pictures by STEVE CUBBINS courtesy of England Squash