an Egyptian double in today's WSF World Junior Individual Squash
Championships finals was a foregone conclusion, the winners were not
after top seed Rowan Reda Araby retained the women's title as
anticipated, but Mostafa Asal upset the seedings after defeating
favourite and defending champion Marwan Tarek in straight games
in the men's final at the Express Avenue Mall in the Indian city
The women's climax was a repeat of the 2017 final - for
the first time in the event's 37-year history. But despite boasting two
successive world junior championship wins over second seed Hania El
Hammamy, Araby had lost to her compatriot on the previous four
occasions - and trails world No.20 El Hammamy 11 positions in the PSA
Araby (pictured above in final action) took the opening
two games before a packed crowd at the Chennai shopping mall - then
failed to convert three match-balls in the third before Hammamy took the
game 12-10 to force a further game.
But the 17-year-old from Alexandria regained her
composure in the fourth to close out the match 11-4, 11-9, 10-12, 11-9
in 65 minutes to win the title for a second successive year.
Araby becomes the fourth Egyptian to win back-to-back
women's titles after Raneem El Welily in 2007, Nour El
Sherbini in 2013 and Nouran Gohar in 2016.
"It feels amazing," said Araby later. "I'm so happy!
That was my last World Juniors and if I hadn't won I know I would have
been so sad.
"When I got four match balls in the third I started
thinking about my birthday, about celebrating with my friends, I just
freaked out and went completely out of the court.
"I knew I had to get back to my game plan and
concentrate all the way in the fourth. I almost lost that too, at 9-7
down, I fought really hard to try to make it not go to five.
"Looking at the players who have won it twice, Nicol
(David), Ramy (Ashour), Raneem, Marwan (Elshorbagy), and especially
Mohamed (Elshorbagy) - he's my role model, I can't thank him enough,
he's helped me so much and is always there for me.
"That may be my last junior match, it depends on the
British next year, but if it is my last I'm happy to finish with that
The men's final (both pictured above) also featured the
top two seeds and whilst Asal was the second seed, the 17-year-old from
6th of October City is by far the highest-ranked player in the men's
field - at 71, compared with Tarek's 281.
Furthermore, the match was the pair's first clash in
international competition, though Egyptian sources report two wins by
'underdog' Asal over Tarek in recent national junior events.
Asal reached the final without dropping a game - and
continued his 'clean sheet' in Chennai as he romped to an 11-7, 13-11,
11-4 victory in 45 minutes over Tarek to claim the world junior title
for the first time.
"I'm overjoyed to become World Champion," said Asal.
"It's great that we had two all-Egyptian finals.
"I went into the match with confidence knowing I'd won
in Egypt, but I really had to fight hard in the second to keep the
"Thanks to Marwan for all the battles we had in Egypt,
and I hope he has a great time in Harvard, we'll miss him and he'll miss
us in Egypt! Thanks also to my coaches and family, and everyone who's
supported me, and especially Shaza Tamer."
The WSF Men's World Junior Team Championship gets
underway tomorrow (Tuesday) with Egypt seeded to reclaim the
title lost to Pakistan in 2016. Of historic interest is the first
appearance in any World Team Squash Championship of Saudi Arabia.
Asal added: "On to the teams now, let's hope we can get
that title back for Egypt."
After two days of Pool action, the top two teams in each
Pool progress to the last 16 knockout stage. The Pool line-ups
(including team seedings) are as follows:
After dramatic semi-finals at the Express Avenue Mall
in the Indian city of Chennai, the WSF World Junior Individual
Squash Championships will come to a climax in two all-Egyptian
finals - for the fourth time since 2011.
The first place in the finals was claimed by men's
defending champion Marwan Tarek. But the top seed from Cairo was
taken the full distance and kept on court for over an hour and a half
before finally subduing Cairo compatriot Omar El Torkey (both
pictured above) 11-9, 6-11, 11-8, 2-11, 11-8.
After "the longest match of my life", 18-year-old Tarek
- who is bidding to become the fourth Egyptian to win back-to-back
titles since the illustrious Ramy Ashour in 2006 - admitted: "I
was three points from going out of the tournament. It was long and tough
but I don't regret that, it's the semi-finals of the World Juniors.
"I felt he got a bit tired early in the fifth but he
still went ahead. I started thinking about anything but the match and
took it point by point. It feels good to have survived that and reach
the final again. I hope I'll play a good match tomorrow - let's see how
As predicted by the seedings, Tarek will face No.2 seed
Mostafa Asal in what will be the Cairo-born pair's first
Asal, aged 17 and the highest-ranked player in the draw,
recorded his fifth straight straight games win in the championship when
he despatched fellow countryman Mostafa El Serty (both pictured
above) 11-3, 11-7, 11-7.
"I felt comfortable today," said Asal, the world No.71
from 6th of October City. "It wasn't easy but I never felt in real
danger. I won the Egyptian U17 and U19 titles with 3/0 wins all through
so it's nice to keep that going!
"Tomorrow it's mental ...... whoever's mentally
strongest will win it!"
Lining up in the women's final will be top seed Rowan
Reda Araby and second seed Hania El Hammamy - who will make
history by becoming the first ever pair in the 37-year history of the
women's championship to contest successive finals.
Title-holder Araby, the 17-year-old world No.31 from
Alexandria, brushed aside fellow Alexandrian Jana Shiha (both
pictured above) 11-5, 13-11, 11-6 in 31 minutes - while El Hammamy, also
17 and ranked 20 in the world, ended non-Egyptian interest in the event
after battling to an 11-6, 8-11, 11-4, 11-4 win in 44 minutes over
England's Lucy Turmel.
On her close middle game, Araby said: "It's always the
second game. I had no pressure in the first, but I started to feel it in
the second. I wanted to win that one, I didn't want a long match if I
was to get to the final.
"I was so happy to win that second, it took the pressure
off. I'm pleased to make my third World Junior final, and obviously
hoping to keep the title."
El Hammamy (pictured in semi-final action above), who
despite losing to Araby in last year's final, boasts a 4/2 head-to-head
record over her rival: "I'm so happy to be in the final again," said the
event's No.2 seed. "I'm really enjoying the atmosphere in the Mall, and
I'm really looking forward to a good match against Rowan tomorrow."
The powerhouse that is Egyptian squash claimed seven of
the eight quarter-final victories in today's action in the WSF World
Junior Individual Squash Championships in India - but
England's Lucy Turmel denied the nation a clean sweep at the
Express Avenue Mall in Chennai after ending the run of
Singapore's Sneha Sivakumar in straight games in the women's
The 18-year-old from Ipswich scored her third successive
straight games win in the championship when she beat her unseeded
opponent (both pictured above) 11-5, 11-8, 11-8 in 27 minutes. Turmel, a
3/4 seed, is making her fourth appearance in the event, after making her
debut in 2015 - and is now celebrating her semi-final debut.
England's sole player left in the tournament will now
face Egypt's No.2 seed Hania El Hammamy for a place in the final.
"I am really happy to be through to the semis and am
looking forward to a big test tomorrow," said the reigning European
Junior Champion, England's first women's semi-finalist since 2012. "The
world championships is a great event and I am looking forward to playing
on the glass court in the Mall tomorrow as it is a brilliant venue."
National coach Lee Drew, who is supporting the
England players alongside former world No.1 Laura Massaro, added:
"Lucy has performed really well here and deserves the rewards. She is
very professional and consistent with her approach to the game and to
her development. Myself, Laura and all of the England players are
massively looking forward to watching the semi-finals tomorrow to
support her in what will be a great experience."
El Hammamy, who ended North American interest in the
event with an 11-2, 11-4, 11-7 defeat of 5/8 seed Marina Stefanoni
- thus making her third successive semi - said: "I'm happy with my
performance, especially against such a talented player as Marina. She
was pushing me to the front so I was happy to get to every one. Another
semi, hopefully I can go one better this time."
Egypt's top seed and defending champion Rowan Reda
Araby also earned her third semi-final appearance in a row by seeing
off compatriot Hana Moataz 12-10, 11-6, 11-3.
"I really enjoyed playing here," said the 17-year-old
from Alexandria (see venue picture above). "I loved the crowd watching
from all around. There was a bit of pressure when I was down in the
first but I managed to get through it and I'm really pleased to make a
third semi in a row."
Araby now takes on fellow countrywoman Jana Shiha,
a 5/8 seed who needed 51 minutes to overcome surprise opponent Farida
Mohamed 7-11, 11-6, 11-5, 7-11, 15-13.
"It's great playing in this venue," said Shiha. "But it
didn't feel so good when it got tight in the fifth! Farida and I have
played probably 50 times since we were nine, in the semis and finals of
events even when we're playing up an age, so we both knew it was going
to be tough."
The men's quarter-finals went according to seedings with
the top four seeds lining up in the semis as predicted. Top seed
Marwan Tarek eased into the last four after defeating fellow
Egyptian Mostafa Montaser 11-8, 11-1, 11-5 in just 31 minutes.
The defending champion from Cairo now faces compatriot
Omar El Torkey, the 3/4 seed who ended English interest in the
men's event when he beat 5/8 seed Nick Wall 11-6, 11-3, 11-7
(both pictured in action below).
"I didn't want another long match like my last ones,"
said a relieved Omar. "It's always a good match against Nick, but I felt
comfortable. I don't know what happened at the end when I gave away so
many points but thank God I made it through!"
The other semi will see No.2 seed Mostafa Asal,
the highest-ranked player in the event, take on Mostafa El Serty.
Asal needed just three games to overcome Mexican Leonel Cardenas
12-10, 11-7, 11-9, while El Serty was taken the full distance by
Darren Rahul Pragasam and had to save a match-ball in the fourth
against the Malaysian before prevailing 4-11, 13-11, 6-11, 12-10, 11-6.
"That was so, so hard," said El Serty. "I thought I'd
lost it and I'm so grateful to come through."
Egyptians stormed en-masse into the last eight of the
WSF World Junior Individual Squash Championships today in India
- where five men (for the first time since 2010) and five women (for the
eighth time in the past 15 years) will compete in the quarter-finals of
the premier World Squash Federation junior event which moves onto
an all-glass showcourt at the Express Avenue Mall in Chennai.
Farida Mohamed, a 13/16 seed,
produced the day's biggest third round upset at the Indian Squash
Academy when she defeated Malaysia's 3/4 seed Aifa Azman to
ensure an Egyptian finalist in the women's event.
The 16-year-old from Alexandria, the younger sister of
2014 champion Habiba Mohamed, took 59 minutes to see off the
renowned Malaysian (both pictured above) 15-17, 11-7, 11-7, 4-11, 11-6.
Mohamed junior will now face fellow countrywoman Jana Shiha, a
5/8 seed, for a place in the semi-finals.
Singapore's Sneha Sivakumar continued her
giant-killing run in the event to become her country's first
quarter-finalist since 1983. The unseeded 17-year-old, ranked 176 in the
world, came through a five game thriller to beat Egypt's 9/12 seed
Ingy Hammouda 7-11, 11-6, 13-11, 7-11, 11-9.
"I didn't think I had a good draw," said a delighted
Sivakumar (pictured above celebrating her triumph). "But it worked in my
favour after two tough matches yesterday and now I've got this far
without meeting a top four player.
"I never thought for a moment that I'd make the quarters
of the World Juniors, I just had to push as hard as I could - at
nine-all in the fifth it was crazy, my heart was beating like mad!"
Egypt's top two women's seeds Rowan Reda Araby
and Hania El Hammamy scored straightforward straight games wins
as they progressed towards their anticipated second successive meeting
in the final.
Both defeated Malaysians, favourite Araby defeating
Chan Yiwen 11-4, 11-5, 11-2, while Hammamy saw off Ooi Kah Yan
11-8, 11-8, 11-7.
"I'm not going into it with any pressure, I'm just
trying to enjoy the matches," said defending champion Araby. "India is
fascinating and the Mall looks fabulous, I'm really looking forward to
playing on there tomorrow."
In the men's event, top seed Marwan Tarek dropped
a game against Canada's George Crowne, but was happy with his
progress: "I think I've played better each day as I'm getting more used
to the conditions," said the defending champion from Egypt. "Now for a
practice at the Mall!"
The 18-year-old from Cairo will play fellow countryman
Mostafa Montaser, who survived a torrid five-game battle against
compatriot Yehia Elnaswany, saving a match ball before taking the
"It was so hard, we haven't played for two years, but he
played so well and I was lucky to win in the end," said Montaser.
"Hopefully I can be lucky in my next matches and this will be just the
At the other end of the draw, second seed Mostafa
Asal also eased into the last eight. The 17-year-old from 6th of
October City, the highest-ranked player in the championship, defeated
Swiss opponent Yannick Wilhelmi (both pictured above) 11-9, 11-5,
The world No.71 will now line up against the event's
sole remaining Mexican Leonel Cardenas after the 18-year-old 5/8
seed, ranked 39 places lower, overcame Canada's unseeded James Flynn
11-7, 8-11, 11-5, 11-3.
Despite Egyptians securing their anticipated six places
in the WSF World Junior Individual Squash Championships men's
last 16 round in India today, it was a trio of Canadians
who stole the limelight on the second day of action in the premier
World Squash Federation junior event at the Indian Squash Academy
Julien Gosset, a 13/16 seed
from Toronto, claimed his predicted place in the fourth round after
despatching Hong Kong's Chung Yat Long 11-5, 11-4, 11-4 in just
19 minutes. But the 18-year-old was soon unexpectedly joined in the
'pre-quarter-finals' by unseeded compatriots James Flynn and
George Crowne, both 17.
Flynn, from Toronto, defeated US rival Daelum Mawji,
a 9/12 seed, 11-9, 11-7, 11-9 (both pictured in action above) and will
now face Mexico's 5/8 seed Leonel Cardenas for a place in the
Meanwhile Crowne, also from Ontario, recovered from a
game down to upset Englishman Curtis Malik, a 13/16 seed, 4-11,
13-11, 11-4, 11-6 - and progresses to line up against Egypt's defending
champion Marwan Tarek, the top seed.
There were two significant upsets in the women's event
which got underway today with two rounds. Unseeded Sneha Sivakumar
made history for Singapore by beating England's 5/8 seed Elise
Lazarus 10-12, 11-4, 11-6, 11-6 (both pictured in action below),
thereby becoming the first woman from her country to make the event's
last 16 round for 35 years!
Jessica Keng took the
Malaysian count in the women's third round to five when the unseeded
15-year-old ousted Hong Kong's 13/16 seed Chan Sin Yuk 11-9,
12-10, 4-11, 10-12, 11-9 in 50 minutes.
The plucky youngster from Kota Kinabalu will now face
England's Lucy Turmel, a 3/4 seed, for a place in the
While Egypt's defending champion and event favourite
Marwan Tarek led all the top 16 seeds safely through to the men's
last 32 round of the WSF World Junior Individual Squash Championships
in Chennai today, three unseeded Indians survived the first two
rounds at the Indian Squash Academy and will provide significant
local interest for the hosts on day two.
171 U19 athletes from 27 countries are competing in the
premier annual World Squash Federation junior championships for
men and women which got underway today (with the women's event starting
tomorrow) and will reach their finals on Monday 23 July - and this will
be followed by the biennial Men's World Junior Team Championship
from 24-29 July.
Tarek began his title defence with a straightforward
11-5, 11-7, 11-7 second round victory over local player Advait Adik
(both pictured in action above). The 18-year-old from Cairo now faces
Malaysian Muhammad Amir Amirul Azhar for a place in the last 16.
Event debutant Rahul Baitha, a 17-year-old from
India's largest city Mumbai, earned his place in the third round after
overcoming Swiss opponent Nils Roesch 11-5, 12-10, 11-8.
Meanwhile compatriots Veer Chotrani and Yash
Fadte, both 16, are making their second appearances in the
championships. Chotrani dismissed South African Mikael Ismail
11-8, 11-8, 13-11, while Fadte, from Goa, recovered from a game down to
beat Germany's Abdel-Rahman Ghait 10-12, 11-7, 11-7, 11-6.
Egyptians Marwan Tarek
and Rowan Reda Araby are set to retain their titles in the WSF
World Junior Individual Squash Championships next month in India
according to the draws revealed today by the World Squash Federation.
The Men's & Women's individual
championships will take place at the Indian Squash Academy in
Chennai from 18-23 July, followed by the biennial Men's World
Junior Team Championship from 24-29 July.
It was after ousting the top
seed in last year's semi-finals that Tarek (pictured below with Araby at
the 2017 trophy presentations) went on to claim the 2017 men's title in
New Zealand. The 18-year-old from Cairo also won the 2018 British
Junior U19 Open title early this year.
But Tarek, ranked 280 in the
world, will have a tough job on his hands if he meets second seed
Mostafa Asal, as predicted, in the final. His 17-year-old
compatriot, also from Cairo, has made great strides on the PSA World
Tour this year, winning three titles as a qualifier in May after
clinching the British Junior U17 Open title in January. This
month he leapt more than 100 places in the senior world rankings to
Araby, still only 17, has
already claimed five PSA titles and is expected to make the world junior
final this year for the third time in a row. Her success in the 2017
final came against top seed Hania El Hammamy, the compatriot whom
she is again predicted to face in the 2018 climax.
All Egyptian semi-finals are
predicted in both events - and an Araby success would take Egyptian
ownership of the women's title into an eighth successive year.