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Omneya Abdel Kawy Retains Hurghada Crown

Hurghada International 2009
01-08 May, Cairo & Hurghada, $26k
Round One
03 May
04/05 May
06 May
08 May
[1] Omneya Abdel Kawy (Egy)
11/4, 11/9, 11/3 (23m)
Fiona Moverley (Eng)
Omneya Abdel Kawy
11-6, 11-9, 11-5 (30m)
Line Hansen
Omneya Abdel Kawy
10-12, 11-2, 11-6, 11-8 (38m)
Raneem El Weleily
Omneya Abdel Kawy
11-4, 11-8, 14-12 (36m)
Engy Kheirallah
[8] Line Hansen (Den)
11/7, 11/7, 11/7 (21m)
[Q] Salma Hatem Youssef (Egy)
[4] Raneem El Weleily (Egy)
11/9, 11/1, 11/2 (20m)
[Q] Yathreb Adel (Egy)
Raneem El Weleily
10-12, 10-12, 11-6, 12-10, 11-7 (50m)
Isabelle Stoehr
[5] Isabelle Stoehr (Fra)
11/8, 12/10, 11/7 (37m)
Kanze El Dafrawy (Egy)
[Q] Heba El Torky (Egy)
11/8, 4/11, 11/3, 11/2 (40m)
[6] Sarah Kippax (Eng)
Heba El Torky
11-9, 19-17, 11-6 (53m)
Engy Kheirallah
Engy Kheirallah
11-13, 11-9, 11-8, 11-5 (47m)
Camille Serme
[Q] Farah Abdel Meguid (Egy)
11/6, 11/8, 11/3 (28m)
[3] Engy Kheirallah (Egy)
Nour El Sherbini (Egy)
15/13, 11/9, 11/3 (44m)
[7] Aisling Blake (Irl)
Nour El Sherbini
11-9, 9-11, 11-3, 12-10 (48m)
Camille Serme
Nour El Tayeb (Egy)
11/7, 11/5, 11/7 (31m)
[2] Camille Serme (Fra)

Omneya Abdel Kawy Retains Hurghada Crown

Omneya Abdel Kawy celebrated her seventh successive appearance in the final of the Women's Hurghada International by winning the $26,200 WISPA World Tour squash title for the fourth time at the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Hurghada.

Top seed Abdel Kawy faced third seed Engy Kheirallah on the all-glass court sited on the Promenade in the first all-Egyptian final in the event's nine-year history.

And - remarkably - despite being ranked ahead of her Egyptian team-mate throughout her career, Abdel Kawy had lost to Kheirallah in all their previous five Tour meetings since September 2005.

It was an eagerly-anticipated clash which was screened live on Egyptian TV and watched by a packed crowd which included the Egyptian Minister for Sport.

But, as ever when two home players were competing, the noise level was muted. The applause was initially for trademark black-clad Abdel Kawy, as the 'Queen of Hurghada' found an early rhythm and punished loose shots - romping to the first game against a clearly nervous opponent.

Clearly boosted by advice between games by husband Karim Darwish, the former world number one, Kheirallah came back fighting, more judicious in going short and holding her own against the defending champion.

"But when you can slot three backhand volleyed returns of serve into the opposite nick, as Abdel Kawy breathtakingly did to close out the second game, what can you do?" said a spokesman for the event.

The difference in the third was not obvious, excepting that this time Kheirallah was flowing a little more freely and getting her nose just in front. The underdog reached 10-9 only to have failed to learn the lessons of the second and find her opponent's serve nestling in the same nick!

A match ball was saved on a stroke, as was the second on an athletic stretching volley drop, but the third was simply too good - a straight drop to give Abdel Kawy an 11-4, 11-8, 14-12 victory after 36 minutes. The lady in black's losing run had been stopped - and a third Hurghada title in a row, and a fourth in all, was in the hands of the world No6 from Cairo.

As she left the arena with her father, the winner was smiling as much with relief as pleasure: "This is the first time I have beaten her in WISPA. Maybe I am thinking of the ranking as I am higher," said Abdel Kawy. "But everybody knows she is a good player and we have hard matches.

"This time, when we started, I saw Engy was not moving, her legs were tight so I took advantage of this. But she came back tough and I had to work really hard to win," added the victor after her fourth WISPA Tour final in a row this year, but her first win.

"Thank God, as it was the fourth final this year, and the first to win!"

A for the runner-up, she was mixing delight with having reached the final but disappointed not to have done better. "Hats off to Omneya, she played really well. I normally play a certain way against her but on this court I didn't feel comfortable or confident. I would have loved to have won but I played well to reach the final so I am quite happy," said Kheirallah, the Alexandria-born world No14.

Kheirallah Ousts Serme For Place In Hurghada Final

The Women's Hurghada International will climax in an unexpected all-Egyptian final after third seed Engy Kheirallah overcame Camille Serme, the second seed from France, in the semi-finals of the $26,200 WISPA World Tour squash event staged on an all-glass court sited on the Promenade in the Red Sea resort of Hurghada.

Kheirallah, the world No14 from Alexandria but now based in Cairo, recovered from a game down to beat the rising French star - ranked four places higher - 11-13, 11-9, 11-8, 11-5 in 47 minutes.

The 28-year-old, supported by husband Karim Darwish, the world No4, was ecstatic: "I have never done really, really well in Hurghada and I am so happy to be in my first final here. Today my length was much better and I was really focussed and alert."

Kheirallah, a semi-finalist in 2006 and 2007, then revealed another element colouring the match: "She beat me at my own club in front of my friends in a WISPA, so today was revenge day. It was special!"

Serme affirmed what had been clear to see: "I played worse than yesterday as I am so tired. It was one match too much and I am mentally exhausted," added the 21-year-old, referring to the rigours of the European Team Championship which immediately preceded the Hurghada week.

Kheirallah will face Egyptian team-mate Omneya Abdel Kawy, the defending champion now one match away from her fourth title success since 2006.

Abdel Kawy had gone short too early in the first game against fourth-seeded compatriot Raneem El Weleily but recovered to win 10-12, 11-2, 11-6, 11-8 in 38 minutes.

Kheirallah is marking the tenth final appearance of her career - while the 24-year-old top seed is celebrating her fourth WISPA Tour final appearance in 2010, but looking for her first title win this year.

Serme Sees Off Sherbini In Hurghada

Rising French star Camille Serme became the only non-Egyptian to claim a place in the last four of the Women's Hurghada International in Egypt - but the new world No10 had to be at her best to hold off the challenge of Egypt's 14-year-old World Junior Champion Nour El Sherbini in the quarter-finals of the $26,200 WISPA World Tour squash event staged on an all-glass court sited on the Promenade in the Red Sea resort of Hurghada.

The prodigiously-talented El Sherbini exudes a composure that belies her years. The teenager, who became the sport's youngest ever world champion in India last year, walks around the court with a joyful exuberance, but purposely too.

But Serme, voted by her fellow WISPA members as 'Most Improved Player for 2009', has also enjoyed a steady rise - and earlier this month celebrated reaching the WISPA top ten. But the 21-year-old from Paris was finding the Alexandrian hard to handle, especially with the packed crowd cheering on the local girl.

They traded the first two games, with the precocious Egyptian pouncing on anything less than a good length from her opponent. But then Serme surged. The pressure from her solid driving and slotted volleying took her to an easy game and the likelihood that she would wrap up the match swiftly.

But the fourth reverted to the earlier pattern with both players chasing the rallies - and El Sherbini reaching game ball at 10-8 as the crowd reached a crescendo. A traffic stroke saved it for the Parisian and a drop saved the second. Serme then reeled off the two points required to ensure that the top four seeds had survived.

"I was very nervous to start with and I didn't know why so I became even more nervous," said Serme after her 11-9, 9-11, 11-3, 12-10 victory in 48 minutes. "I had to find a good length as she has some very good shots."

El Sherbini, who now has to return to school exams before training for the World Juniors in Germany next month, was not unhappy with her performance: "I am happy because I played better than last time I played her. She is better than me; she is a professional and it is not easy to play on the glass court, but I played okay."

Serme will face Engy Kheirallah, the third seed from Cairo who beat the highly-talented and mobile Heba El Torky, also an Egyptian, 11-9, 19-17, 11-6 in 53 minutes.

"I didn't think my length was the best and she played some really nice shots and was relaxed," said Alexandria-born Kheirallah, supported in the match by husband Karim Darwish, the former world number one.

"On this court, if your length is not good and your opponent's shots go in you can be in trouble. I was really happy to get away with the second."

Raneem Rallies To Hurghada Win

The packed and partisan crowd cheered on anticipated local success on the first day of quarter-final action in the Women's Hurghada International on an all-glass court sited on the Promenade in Hurghada, but French star Isabelle Stoehr almost upset the script in the $26,200 WISPA World Tour squash event in its 13th year in the Egyptian Red Sea resort.

Fifth seed Stoehr, the record 11 times French national champion from Montpellier, took a surprise two-game lead against Raneem El Weleily, the fourth seed from Alexandria.

However, the 21-year-old Egyptian breezed through the third to the increasing delight of the spectators. But, as the fourth unfolded, it seemed that an upset was on the cards as Stoehr fought through to match-ball at 10-6.

A combination of deft shots and a deceptive frame brought El Weleily level and then - to a cacophony - it was two games all!

El Weleily now had the initiative and raced to 9-4 before Stoehr recovered three points to reduce the deficit. But after 50 minutes, it was El Weleily who finally celebrated a 10-12, 10-12, 11-6, 12-10, 11-7 victory.

"I thought I was going back home in my head," said El Weleily when asked about the fourth game. "It has been a lot of pressure, especially being the first match and I should have played my game from the start not near the end. She is a very good player and I have never beaten her before so pressure."

Stoehr was also quizzed by the media about the squandered match balls. "I kind of stepped back when I got to match ball instead of keeping attacking," explained the 30-year-old. "In the fifth I was down physically and mentally, then I said that it is the last game and to push hard. She is a very good player and I knew it would be hard with the crowd."

The other quarter in the top half, pitching top seed Omneya Abdel Kawy against eighth seed Line Hansen, was more straightforward. Abdel Kawy, queen of the court from Cairo, did her deft stuff against an improving Dane, winning 11-6, 11-9, 11-5 in 30 minutes.

"It was nice to play here, but I was never really comfortable. I was struggling to read her," said Hansen, from Odense, afterwards.

Title-holder Abdel Kawy, a three times champion, is looking to reach her seventh successive final since making her debut in the inaugural event in 2002

Mixed Fortunes For European Championship Competitors In Hurghada

French internationals Camille Serme and Isabelle Stoehr put the rigours and disappointment of Saturday's European Team Championship final defeat by Netherlands behind them and survived tricky encounters to reach the quarter finals of the Hurghada International, the $26,200 WISPA World Tour squash event in the Red Sea resort of Hurghada in Egypt.

But for Ireland's Aisling Blake and England's Sarah Kippax, the race from Aix-en-Provence to Cairo for the first round action at the Shooting Club was in vain as the seeded pair fell to lower-ranked players.

Second seed Camille Serme, celebrating her elevation to ten in the world, had to reverse her WISPA Creteil final defeat against Nour El Tayeb by beating the 17-year-old from Cairo 11-7, 11-5, 11-7.

Meanwhile Stoehr fended off the challenge of another young Pharaoh, Kanzy Emad El-Defrawy - overcoming the 15-year-old 11-8, 12-10, 11-7.

But Sarah Kippax, who made her England debut at the European Championships, was unable to get to grips with the physicality of Heba El Torky who has a tendency to bounce off her opponent if unchecked. The 19-year-old from Alexandria came through to beat sixth seed Kippax 11-8, 4-11, 11-3, 11-2.

"I am very, very happy to have won," said qualifier El Torky, ranked more than 50 places below her opponent. "Sarah is a very good player and I really had to focus very well to make a good match.

"I have now missed five exams, and maybe more by the time I get home," added the pharmacy student.

Aisling Blake was always likely to find the extravagantly talented World Junior Champion Nour El Sherbini a handful; and with the 14-year-old on home turf exploiting the travel-weary Irish girl, El Sherbini made it five of the last eight having "EGY" after their names with an 15-13, 11-9, 11-3 victory over Blake.

"I knew she was a talented player but I am still disappointed," said the Dublin-born seventh seed.

The top Egyptian trio of Omneya Abdel Kawy, Engy Kheirallah and Raneem El Weleily were comfortable winners.

Title-holder Abdel Kawy, the top seed and three times champion, is looking to reach her seventh successive final since making her debut in the inaugural event in 2002.