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El Weleily Celebrates Maiden Tour Success At Heliopolis

Heliopolis Open 2009
04-09 Apr, Cairo, $20k
Round One
06 Apr
07 Apr
08 Apr
09 Apr
[1] Rachael Grinham (Aus)
11-4, 9-11, 11-6, 11-6 (38m)
Dipika Pallikal (Ind)
Rachael Grinham
11-5, 11-3, 11-9 (18m)
Orla Noom
Rachael Grinham
8-11, 13-11 ret.
Raneem El Weleily
Raneem El Weleily
7-11, 12-10, 11-6, 11-5 (60m)
Engy Kheirallah
[7] Orla Noom (Ned)
11-7, 11-6, 1-11, 11-5 (20m)
Joey Chan (Hkg)
[3] Raneem El Weleily (Egy)
11-4, 11-8, 11-6 (18m)
Elise Ng (Hkg)
Raneem El Weleily
11-7, 11-5, 9-11, 11-8 (41m)
Heba El Torky
[6] Tenille Swartz (Rsa)
3-11, 11-5, 11-9, 11-5 (36m)
Heba El Torky (Egy)
[Q] Nour El Tayeb (Egy)
11-9, 9-11, 11-4, 2-11, 11-6 (37m)
[5] Manuela Manetta (Ita)
Nour El Tayeb
11-7, 11-7, 11-4 (33m)
Engy Kheirallah
Engy Kheirallah

11-6, 3-11, 11-8, 11-4
Rebecca Chiu

[Q] Nour El Sherbeny (Egy)
11-5, 5-11, 11-8, 11-7 (38m)
[4] Engy Kheirallah (Egy)
[Q] Lucie Fialova (Cze)
12-14, 11-7, 12-10, 11-8 (49m)
[8] Christina Mak (Hkg)
Christina Mak
11-6, 11-6, 11-0 (19m)
Rebecca Chiu
[Q] Kanzy El Defrawy (Egy)
11-9, 11-3, 11-3 (22m)
[2] Rebecca Chiu (Hkg)

El Weleily Celebrates Maiden Tour Success At Heliopolis


Egypt's world junior squash champion Raneem El Weleily celebrated her long-awaited maiden Tour title success in stunning style at the On The Run Heliopolis Open when she beat compatriot Engy Kheirallah in the final of the women's $20,000 WISPA World Tour event at the Heliopolis Sporting Club in Cairo.


The 20-year-old third seed from Alexandria, who studies in Cairo, is based at the host club - so the gallery was packed with fans eager to see the first ever final in the 14-year history of the event featuring two Egyptians.


The more experienced Kheirallah, a former world No12, took the opening game and, at 10-all, was poised to move into a two-game lead.


But the local club star drew level - and then began to take control of the match until, after exactly one hour, she clinched her breakthrough title in a 7-11, 12-10, 11-6, 11-5 scoreline.


"Its my first WISPA title - I am so happy to take the title in my home club," said the tearful El Weleily after rushing straight from the court to hug her mother and father in the crowd.


"I want to thank my mother, father and brother - and my coach Cherin Adel and Ahmed Mataany," added the new champion - whose third attempt to qualify for a Tour event was at the last staging of this event, six years ago.


I want to thank you for holding the event as I remember the last Heliopolis Open was in 2003 - I played in it, I was almost 14 years old, and now winning in my club that is great!"


The triumph marks the latest milestone in El Weleily's impressive brief career to date - which has included title successes in six British Junior Open Championships (at U13, U15, U17 and U19); victory in the senior Egyptian National Championships; and, in August 2007, the second successive World Junior Championship crown, repeating the 'double' only achieved once before, by today's world number one Nicol David.


Top Seeds On The Run In Cairo


The shock departure of both top seeds in the On The Run Heliopolis Open not only provides the first local interest in the final in the 14-year history of the event but also guarantees an Egyptian winner of the women's $20,000 WISPA World Tour squash event at the Heliopolis Sporting Club in Cairo.


Fourth seed Engy Kheirallah served up the first semi-final upset when the 27-year-old from Cairo beat Rebecca Chiu, the No2 seed from Hong Kong, 11-6, 3-11, 11-8, 11-4.


"Its the first or second time I've played Rebecca which is why I didnt know how to play her at the beginning - but I became more confident later and in the fourth I became aggressive and managed to take the game," said Kheirallah, celebrating her seventh WISPA final, but her first since August 2007.


"I am still fresh - and hope it will be an all Egyptian final!" added the triumphant Egyptian.


Chiu was not happy with her performance:  I didnt play well today, lots of errors and I was impatient.  I am not happy," said the former Asian Games champion.


The second match was between the first seed Rachael Grinham, the world No3 from Australia who was based at the Heliopolis club for eight years, and Egyptian Raneem El Weleily, the third seed who currently plays for the host club.


Grinham won the opening game and was leading 6-3 in the second when, wrong-footed by her opponent, she fell and injured the tibialis posterior tendon in her ankle. 


After a three-minute injury break, the Australian returned to the court and finished the game won by El Weleily before instructing the referee that she was unable to continue.


The unexpected success takes 20-year-old El Weleily into her fifth Tour final where the world junior champion from Alexandria will be looking for her maiden title triumph.


Past winners of the Heliopolis Open, which was launched in 1995, include some of the biggest ever names in the women's game including Michelle Martin, Leilani Joyce, Sarah Fitz-Gerald and Carol Owens.


Grinham Forges On At Heliopolis


Rachael Grinham is one match away from extending her lead as the current player with the most WISPA World Tour final appearances after despatching Dutch opponent Orla Noom in the quarter-finals of the On The Run Heliopolis Open, the women's $20,000 WISPA World Tour squash event at the Heliopolis Sporting Club in Cairo.


The top seed from Australia took just 18 minutes to overcome the No7 seed 11-5, 11-3, 11-9 and will now face Egyptian Raneem El Weleily for a place in her second final in Egypt in a week, and the 52nd of her career.


Third seed El Weleily was made to battle for 41 minutes before getting the better of unseeded compatriot Heba El Torky, the 18-year-old world No44 from her own hometown Alexandria, 11-7, 11-5, 9-11, 11-8.


El Torky was unable to repeat two recent wins over her higher-ranked opponent, who is based at the Heliopolis club:  "Raneem is playing in her club besides, I dont like to play her as we are team-mates!   I was also breathless in the first two game, but I continued.  She played very well, and thank God I played well too as I changed my game.  Now I will take a rest as I have played nine matches in the last month," explained teenager El Torky.


There will also be hometown interest in the other semi-final where fourth seed Engy Kheirallah takes on Hong Kong's Rebecca Chiu, the No2 seed.  Kheirallah - originally from Alexandria but now living in Cairo with her husband Karim Darwish, the men's world number one beat 16-year-old qualifier Nour El Tayeb, also from Cairo, 11-7, 11-7, 11-4.


"I am happy I won in three - I was very sharp, I played well," said 27-year-old Kheirallah afterwards.  "Nour is a very talented player - I had to be focused so that I didnt give her any easy balls as she has very sharp shots."


Chiu beat long-time national rival Christina Mak, the eighth seed, 11-6, 11-6, 11-0.


We know each other's game, we are team mates," said 30-year-old Chiu, the world No14.  "We train and play a lot against each other - almost a hundred times - so I dont like to play her!  I am happy to pass through to the semis."


El Torky & El Tayeb Tie Up Heliopolis Upsets


Significant upsets by local teenagers Nour El Tayeb and Heba El Torky in the first round of the On The Run Heliopolis Open have ensured that half of the players lining up for the quarter-finals of the women's $20,000 WISPA World Tour squash event at the Heliopolis Sporting Club in Cairo are Egyptian.


El Tayeb, a 16-year-old qualifier from the Egyptian capital, twice stemmed fight-backs by fifth seed Manuela Manetta to beat the Italian 11-9, 9-11, 11-4, 2-11, 11-6 in 37 minutes.


"It was the most difficult match of my life, she is fit and fast," admitted the reigning British Junior U17 Open champion.  "I was impatient, but I played well in the third - I changed my game as my coach Hatem Hassan told me.  He told me to keep her behind me and be patient, which I did!  I am happy with the win as it is in my club."


El Tayeb will now face compatriot Engy Kheirallah after the fourth seed from Alexandria beat promising Egyptian Nour Elsherbini.  The 13-year-old, also from Alexandria, was making her WISPA Tour debut after beating two higher-ranked fellow countrywomen in the qualifiers.


But 27-year-old Kheirallah, ranked 21 in the world, was too strong for the youngster, winning 11-5, 5-11, 11-8, 11-7.


"It was a good match - we both played a good game," said Elsherbini afterwards.  "I was very happy to play Engy as it is the first time."


Unseeded Heba El Torky stopped South African Tenille Swartz, the sixth seed, 3-11, 11-5, 11-9, 11-5 to set up another all-Egyptian quarter-final clash with third seed Raneem El Weleily, an 11-4, 11-8, 11-6 victor over Hong Kong's Elise Ng.


"It is difficult to beat Tenille as she beat Engy last week - that was all what I had on my mind," said the triumphant El Torky later.  "She is a very difficult player as she goes for every point.  I had to change my game and be patient and persistent."