Egyptians Tarek & Araby Score World Junior Double In New
was an Egyptian double - the fifth in the history of the tournament -
today in New Zealand where Marwan Tarek and Rowan Reda Araby won the
men's and women's titles, respectively, in the WSF World Junior Squash
Championships at the Devoy Squash & Fitness Centre in Tauranga.
16-year-old Araby, the runner-up in Poland a year ago, pulled off a
significant upset - leading in all games before beating top-seeded
compatriot Hania El Hammamy 11-7, 11-9, 11-8.
The pair had contested three British Junior Open finals since 2013, all
of them won by El Hammamy - but Araby made her breakthrough a year ago
in Poland, beating her older rival for the first time in the 2016 World
Spurred on by her most recent success, the Alexandria-based Araby
charged to her straight games triumph over world No.35 El Hammamy - also
16, but from Cairo - in 33 minutes, becoming the seventh successive
Egyptian winner of the women's title.
"I am so happy," said the 3/4 seed, ranked 15 places lower. "I worked so
hard for this title after coming second last year. "It's difficult
playing another Egyptian but there are no friends on the court and I
worked hard to stay calm.
"I didn't expect it to be three-nil. All the matches I play against
Hania are normally close. This is just amazing. I'm sorry, I don't
really have many words right now."
Both men's finalists pulled off upsets in the semis - leaving the climax
devoid of the event's top two seeds for the first time since 2004.
Incredibly, Tarek was facing Victor Crouin for the first time since
meeting the Frenchman in the British U13 Junior Open in January 2012!
The match went the full distance, with 18-year-old Crouin - bidding to
become the first ever world junior champion from France - twice drawing
level after 18-year-old Tarek won the first and third games.
But after losing the first point in the decider, Tarek reeled off eight
points in a row to take the match 11-9, 3-11, 11-6, 3-11, 11-2 in 58
"I can't think right now, I'm the world champion, I'm the world
champion," said the 17-year-old from Cairo repeatedly. "Dreams do come
Tarek revealed he was feeling the effects of his semi-final win against
top seed Youssef Ibrahim. "I wasn't 100 percent ready. My body was weak
but this is the world championships and you have to survive."
The Tauranga climax marked the first Egyptian double since 2013 - when
Karim El Hammamy & Nour El Sherbini won the titles in Poland - but the
fifth since the breakthrough success by Mohamed Elshorbagy and El
Sherbini in 2009.
The WSF World Junior Team Championship starts on Tuesday, with Egypt
favourites to claim the title for the sixth time in a row.
A men's final missing both of the top two seeds for the first time in 13
years* will bring the 2017 WSF World Junior Squash Championships to a
climax tomorrow in New Zealand after Egypt's Marwan Tarek and Frenchman
Victor Crouin - both 3/4 seeds - produced stunning semi-final upsets
today at the Devoy Squash & Fitness Centre in Tauranga.
Crouin, the reigning European Junior Champion, was the first to claim a
spot in the final after dismissing Mohammad Al Sarraj - denying the No.2
seed the chance to become the event's first finalist from Jordan.
The 18-year-old from Toulon emulated his distinguished compatriot
Gregory Gaultier - runner-up in 2000 - when he beat Al Sarraj 11-6,
8-11, 11-6, 11-6 in 53 minutes, dropping his first game in the
tournament in the process.
"I'm happy with my performance, I managed to play the way I have all
tournament, with good accuracy and managed to control a lot of the
rallies," said Crouin. "It's the third time we've played and the first
time I've beaten him, so I'm delighted with that and I still feel fresh
for the final.
"It's good to play in a venue like this in front of such a crowd. I'm
going to do my best to win this tournament, it would be a first for
France after Greg and Camille finished runners-up and it would be a
dream to win this title!"
In his first ever international clash with fellow countryman Youssef
Ibrahim, Tarek battled for 58 minutes to see off the event favourite
13-11, 11-7, 7-11, 12-10 - Ibrahim unable to convert three game balls in
the fourth to set up a decider.
"I'm extremely happy," said Tarek, 17, from Cairo. "He is like a brother
to me, we hang out together, we train together, we belong to the same
club, we've been in the national team since 2012 together so it was a
hard game for both of us.
"Our games are usually close, but inside the court there are no friends
so I'm happy to get through.
"I haven't played Victor since 2011, and I haven't watched him at all in
The women's event produced the seventh successive all-Egyptian final
after top seed Hania El Hammamy and Rowan Reda Araby, a 3/4 seed,
prevailed in the other semi-finals.
El Hammamy, the 16-year-old world No.35 from Cairo, ended the brave run
of Satomi Watanabe, the 5/8 seed who yesterday became the first Japanese
player to reach the semi-finals. Watanabe won tie-breaks in two of the
games, but El Hammamy's experience proved decisive as the Egyptian
secured her anticipated place in the final with a 12-10, 11-4, 12-10 win
in 34 minutes.
"It was three-nil, but it was a tough three-nil," said El Hammamy. "I
was glad to take the first, the second went quickly, and I was feeling
comfortable in the third, going 10-7 up.
"But she came back well, played some good shots so I was happy to win in
"It's going to be an all-Egyptian final, which will be tough. It's
harder playing an Egyptian, there's no coaching when we play so you have
to do it all yourself, and I'll be playing a friend who usually supports
me but will be against me!
"But I'm so pleased to make the final for the first time - I hope I can
play well tomorrow."
Araby, also 16, earned her place in the final for the second year in a
row after beating compatriot Amina Yousry 11-7, 11-7, 11-5 in 27
"I'm so excited to make the final again," said the Alexandrian. "I just
wanted to go out to enjoy my squash today, stay calm, and that helped me
to play the squash I can play.
"I'm amazed how I played; I wasn't expecting this, our games are always
so tough against and it's hard to play against another Egyptian. We are
teammates and friends and now we have to be competitors.
"It's difficult, but I've said all week I want to go one better than
last year, so I just want to enjoy it and play my best."
Watanabe wrote her name into squash history today after beating US
opponent Marina Stefanoni in the women's quarter-finals of the WSF World
Junior Squash Championships in New Zealand to become the first ever
Japanese player to reach the men's or women's semi-finals of the
prestigious World Squash Federation championship.
Seeded to reach the last eight at the Devoy Squash & Fitness Centre in
Tauranga, the 18-year-old from Yokohama was making her fifth and final
appearance in the championship after making her debut in 2012 as a
Taken the full distance by Stefanoni - the 14-year-old who ousted 3/4
seed Nada Abbas in the biggest upset of the previous day - Watanabe
ultimately prevailed 13-15, 12-10, 11-8, 9-11, 11-4 in 48 minutes.
"I'm so happy to make the top four in the world for the first time,"
said the jubilant Japanese juvenile. "I didn't start well, 7-10 down in
the first two games, and I didn't think I could do it, she's so good and
"But I told myself that this is my last worlds and I had to make it, and
I did so I'm really happy!"
Watanabe now faces Hania El Hammamy after the top seed from Egypt also
survived a full-distance fight with Sivasangari Subramaniam before
finally beating the 5/8 seed from Malaysia 11-9, 9-11, 6-11, 11-6, 11-1.
There was another mighty women's upset earlier when Egypt's 5/8 seed
Amina Yousry defeated second-seeded compatriot Zeina Mickawy 12-10,
13-11, 11-8 - avenging a five-game loss to her higher-ranked fellow
countrywoman in the British Junior Open earlier this year.
"We have the utmost respect for each other, which makes it more special
for whoever wins," explained the delighted Yousry, a 17-year-old from
Cairo, later. "We always have close matches, even today it was three-nil
but so close, it depends who needs it more - it was Zeina in the
British, today I just had the edge.
"My aim today was to just go out and enjoy it, and I did! It was getting
a bit nervy in the third, I was 6-2 and 10-7 up but we both play better
when we're down. I was so glad when the referee called a stroke on the
Youssef Ibrahim ensured that there will be Egyptian representation in
the final of the men's championship for the 12th year in a row after
beating rising US star Andrew Douglas.
But it took the 18-year-old top seed from Cairo - ranked 121 in the
world - 53 minutes and five games to overcome Douglas and deny the
18-year-old from New York the chance to be the first ever US player to
reach the event's last four.
Ibrahim took the opening two games - but Douglas, ranked 50 places
lower, forced the next two to tie-breaks, saving a match-ball in the
fourth, before the Egyptian favourite ultimately prevailed 11-4, 11-3,
10-12, 10-12, 11-9.
The win sees Ibrahim line up against compatriot Marwan Tarek in the
semi-finals after the 3/4 seed earlier beat India's Abhay Singh 8-11,
11-4, 11-6, 11-6.
"So much pressure, I was winning comfortably then it became so tense,"
said Ibrahim after his victory. "I'm looking forward to playing a friend
There was delight too in the French camp when Victor Crouin won his
match in straight games to become the country's first male semi-finalist
since his illustrious compatriot Gregory Gaultier, currently the world
number one, reached the final in 2000.
Crouin, 18, from Toulon, ended unseeded Aly Hussein's run, beating the
Egyptian 11-8, 11-4, 11-4 in his fourth successive straight games win in
"I'm pleased to make the semis for the first time - as a 3/4 seed, that
was my minimum target. I didn't feel any pressure, I just wanted to play
my game and I was quite happy with how I played. Now I hope the others
have a brutal battle!"
Crouin now faces second seed Mohammad Al Sarraj after the Jordanian also
recorded a straight games win, beating Egypt's Mostafa Asal 11-8, 11-6,
Significant upsets by Mostafa Asal and Aly Hussein - aged only 16 and
17, respectively - have led to Egypt having four players in the men's
quarter-finals of the WSF World Junior Squash Championships for the
first time in seven years.
But there was a surprise Egyptian exit in the women's event at the Devoy
Squash & Fitness Centre in Tauranga, New Zealand, when Nada Abbas - a
17-year-old from Giza predicted to make the semi-finals - went down to
USA's 14-year-old Marina Stefanoni in the biggest upset of the day.
"After being 9-4 down in the first, I'm so happy to be the fourth
Egyptian in the quarter-finals," said 9/16 seed Asal after his shock
11-9, 11-7, 11-7 victory in 43 minutes over Kyle Finch, a 5/8 seed from
With Egyptian interest in each of the four men's quarter-finals, Asal
now faces No.2 seed Mohammad Al Sarraj. Bidding to become the first
Jordanian to win a world squash title, Al Sarraj ended the giant-killing
run of unseeded Colombian Matias Knudsen, beating the 17-year-old from
Bogota 11-7, 9-11, 11-8, 12-10.
"That was close, he plays proper squash and made me work hard," said a
relieved Al Sarraj, ranked 89 in the world. "I didn't play my best, but
I needed that level of intensity to get properly into the tournament and
to get used to the court. I'll be ready tomorrow!"
Aly Hussein became the only unseeded player in the last eight after
surviving a five-game battle with Adhitya Raghavan, beating the 5/8 seed
from India 11-3, 8-11, 11-7, 4-11, 11-3.
The Cairo-born 17-year-old now lines up against Frenchman Victor Crouin
for a place in the semi-finals.
Unranked Stefanoni was facing 3/4 seed Nada Abbas for the first time -
but played the game of her life to overcome an opponent ranked 37 in the
world 12-10, 7-11, 11-7, 11-9 in 41 minutes.
"I'd never played her before, but I watched her play yesterday and saw
how her opponent was winning points so I tried to replicate that," said
the Connecticut teenager. "I started well but she fought back and I had
to try to catch up again.
"At 6-1 in the fourth I lost a bit of focus, thinking it would be pretty
cool to be in the quarters, but at 7-6 down I knew I had to get back to
"It feels great to be in the quarters, really excited about that!"
Stefanoni now plays 5/8 seed Satomi Watanabe, a Japanese player who she
will also be meeting for the first time.
An Egyptian semi-finalist is assured at the bottom of the draw where
Amina Yousry and Zeina Mickawy meet in the quarters. 5/8 seed Yousry
beat Hong Kong's Lui Hiu Lam 11-2, 4-11, 11-8, 11-2, while second seed
Mickawy defeated Malaysian Aifa Azman 12-10, 13-11, 11-7.
"She's an up and coming player and she's going to be something, so all
the pressure was on me," said Mickawy of her 15-year-old opponent.
"Happy to get through that in three."
Progresses In New Zealand After producing the only seeding upset on the opening day of action in
the WSF World Junior Squash Championships in New Zealand, Colombian
outsider Matias Knudsen battled through to the men's last 16 of the
World Squash Federation event today at the Devoy Squash & Fitness Centre
in the city of Tauranga.
The unranked 17-year-old from Bogota needed 54 minutes to see off
Pakistan's world No.482 Abbas Zeb 10-12, 11-9, 11-6, 6-11, 11-9.
"I was two-nil 10-7 down yesterday, and today I was 10-7 up in the third
and it was very hard to finish," said Knudsen, coached by
recently-appointed Colombian national coach Martin Knight, the former
world No.38 from New Zealand.
"I'm so excited to be in the last sixteen - this is my third world
juniors, I'm getting further each time and I still have one more to go!"
Bidding to become the first Colombian ever to reach the event's
quarter-finals, Knudsen now faces No.2 seed Mohammad Al Sarraj. Al
Sarraj, from Jordan, defeated USA's Salim Khan 11-7, 11-9, 12-10.
There was a further upset in the men's draw when Egypt's unseeded Aly
Hussein, a world championship debutant, despatched Roman Allinckx, a
9/16 seed from Switzerland, 11-6, 11-4, 11-5 in 48 minutes.
The Cairo-born 17-year-old, one of five Egyptians through to the men's
last 16, will need to overcome India's 5/8 seed Adhitya Raghavan to
secure a place in the quarter-finals.
15-year-old Jana Shiha produced the standout upset in the women's event
after ousting 18-year-old Akanksha Salunkhe, a 9/16 seed from India.
The Alexandrian's 11-6, 11-8, 11-4 victory in just 16 minutes takes
Shiha through to the last 16 where she will face compatriot Rowan Reda
Runner-up in 2016, 16-year-old Araby - also from Alexandria - defeated
Canadian Nicole Kendall 11-1, 11-2, 11-2.
Top seed Hania El Hammamy brushed aside Hong Kong's Ka Wing Ho 11-4,
11-3, 11-2 to lead six Egyptians into the fourth round.
Predicted semi-finalist Nada Abbas, however, was taken the full distance
before claiming her anticipated place in the last 16. From 2/1 down, the
17-year-old from Giza finally got the better of India's 18-year-old
Aishwarya Bhattacharya 11-4, 8-11, 9-11, 11-6, 11-3.
16-year-old local hope Kaitlyn Watts was unable to pull off the upset
she needed to reach the 4th round. The highest-ranked New Zealander in
the women's draw, Watts went down 11-4, 11-7, 11-4 to Malaysian Chan
Yiwen, a 9/16 seed.
After an action-packed opening day's play in the WSF World Junior Squash
Championships in New Zealand featuring 84 matches, 64 players will line
up in Thursday's third round of the men's and women's events at the
Devoy Squash & Fitness Centre in the city of Tauranga.
Colombian Matias Knudsen produced the day's sole seeding upset after
fighting back from two games down to dismiss Pakistani Mansoor Zaman (Jnr),
a 9/16 seed, 7-11, 9-11, 12-10, 11-6, 11-9.
The 17-year-old from Bogota will now face further Pakistan opposition in
Abbas Zeb for a place in the last 16.
Men's favourite Youssef Ibrahim eased into the third round after
defeating Canadian Salaheldin Eltorgman 11-2, 11-6, 11-3.
The Egyptian's anticipated opponent in the final needed four games to
get over his first hurdle. Second seed Mohammad Al Sarraj, bidding to
become the first player from Jordan to win a world title, beat home hope
Mitchell Kempton 5-11, 11-4, 11-7, 11-3.
Kaitlyn Watts, the top-ranked New Zealander in the women's draw,
delighted home supporters with an 11-4, 11-2, 11-6 defeat of Australian
Courtney Mather in just 18 minutes.
The 16-year-old from Palmerston North now faces Malaysian Chan Yiwen, a
Al Sarraj is poised to make history next week in New Zealand by becoming
the first Jordanian to win a world squash title.
The 18-year-old from the Jordan capital Amman is the No.2 seed - but the
highest-ranked player - in the WSF Men's World Junior Squash
Championship. The annual World Squash Federation event, together with
the women's championship, will take place at Devoy Squash & Fitness
Centre in the city of Tauranga from 19-24 July - followed by the Women's
World Junior Team Championship from 25-29 July.
Currently boasting a career-high world No.89 ranking, Al Sarraj will be
appearing in the championship for the fourth year in a row, after making
the last 16 both in 2015 and 2016. Expected to meet Egyptian favourite
Youssef Ibrahim in the final, he begins his 2017 campaign against the
winner of the first round match between South African Luke van Vuuren
and home hope Mitchell Kempton.
Teenagers from 26 nations will take part in the 2017 edition of the
championships which were first staged in 1980 - with five champions
going on to reach No.1 in the men's PSA World Rankings, and seven
topping the women's list.
16-year-old Hania El Hammamy is top seed in the women's event - in a
draw which suggests that she and three fellow Egyptians will dominate
the semi-final line-up!
Local interest is likely to be focussed on Kaitlyn Watts, a 16-year-old
from Palmerston North who is the highest-ranked unseeded player in the
women's draw. The world No.152, who made her debut in the 2015
championship and won the Oceania Junior U19 title earlier this year, is
expected to face her first seeded opponent, Malaysian Chan Yiwen, a 9/16
seed, in the second round.
Squash's National Federations will be making full use of the WSF
Regional Federation management of their regional junior championships -
not only to compete for the titles but also to select and prepare squads
for the 2017 WSF World Junior Squash Championships in New Zealand in
First this year will be European U19 Junior Individual & Team
Championships, which will take place at both Lisboa Racket Centre and
Lisboa Club Squash Olaias in the Portugal capital Lisbon from 8-16
April. The 2017 championships will feature 18 teams and more than 90
individual entries, with England bidding to defend their three titles.
Also in April, and in New Zealand, the Oceania Junior Championships will
take place in Auckland between 14-17 April - three months ahead of the
World Championships in the nearby city of Tauranga.
Paraguay will host the PanAmerican Junior Championships in Asuncion from
24-30 June - which will feature players from the breadth of North,
Central and South America, plus the Caribbean.
But it will be after the World Championships in New Zealand that the
Asian Junior Individual Championships will take in the Jordan capital
Amman from 15-19 August at the El Hassan Squash Complex.
Dating back to 1983 in Singapore, the Asian Junior Individual
Championships include legends Jansher Khan (Pakistan, 1985 & 1987) and
Nicol David (Malaysia, 1999 & 2001) amongst its champions.
Also in August, the African Junior Open will take place in Cape Town,
South Africa, from 18-20 August.
"The five WSF regions do a great job in provided an integrated structure
for juniors, complementing the work of member nations," said Andrew
Shelley, CEO of the World Squash Federation. "There are regional
championships in younger age groups too, while WSF link it all together
with the national and regional championships forming the WSF World
"We take Under-19 results from national junior opens, along with the
Regional and World Championships, to provide WSF World Junior Rankings.
The Circuit is very much where the rising stars of the sport can make
their mark as the best transition towards the PSA World Tour."
Egyptians are seeded to win both individual titlesin
the WSF World Junior Squash Championships next month in New Zealand –
claiming a seventh successive women’s title and reclaiming the men’s
trophy after three years in Peruvian or Malaysian hands.
The annual World Squash Federation event
will take place at Devoy Squash & Fitness Centre in the city of Tauranga
from 19-24 July – followed by the Women’s World Junior Team Championship
from 25-29 July.
Youssef Ibrahim and Hania El
Hammamy are top
seeds in the men’s and women’s events, respectively – and both reached
the semi-finals of the 2016 championships in Poland.
18-year-old left-hander from Cairo, is ranked 119 in the world – and is
expected to face second seed Mohammad Al Sarraj in the final. The
18-year-old from Amman would be the first Jordanian to reach the event’s
El Hammamy, also from Cairo but only 16 years old, will arrive in New
Zealand as the reigning British Junior U19 Open champion. The world
No.36 is predicted to line up against compatriot Zeina Mickawy in the
final. From Alexandria, the 18-year-old was runner-up to El Hammamy in
the British Junior Open final in January.
Devoy Squash & Fitness Centre is New Zealand’s premier squash club and
will be the main base and Hub for the Championships. This modern
facility features six glass-back courts, access to a fully-catered
gymnasium, pro-shop and a bar with fully stocked refreshments. During
the Championships, the Centre will also provide a range of catering
options and medical services (massage, physiotherapy).
QUEEN ELIZABETH YOUTH CENTRE (“QEYC”)
71 Eleventh Avenue, Tauranga
The QEYC will provide an eye-catching backdrop to the glass-court
action. With a seating capacity near to 1000, fans will be treated to
masterclass performances on the court by the world’s best junior squash
players. Off the court, players will be enthralled by the local and
international support that’s sure to create a fantastic atmosphere. The
glass-court will be fully utilised during the Championships with
MOUNT MAUNGANUI SQUASH CLUB
51 Miro Street, Blake Park, Mount Maunganui
In the heart of a number of sporting codes that operate at Blake Park,
the Mount Maunganui Squash Club is home to three squash courts (1
glass-back) with led-lighting, a large lounge area, chill-out zone for
players, warm up/down facilities and a bar with fully stocked
TE PUKE SQUASH CLUB
Landscape Road, Te Puke
Nestled on beautiful grounds on the south of Te Puke township, Te Puke
Squash Club boasts three courts (1 glass-back) with led-lighting, a
large lounge area, warm up/down room, new deck, newly renovated change
facilities and a bar with fully stocked refreshments.