Kawy Retains Hurghada Crown
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Ousts Serme For Place In Hurghada Final
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.
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.
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."
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!"
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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."
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."
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.
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.
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."
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.
Stoehr, the record 11 times French national champion from Montpellier, took a
surprise two-game lead against Raneem El Weleily, the fourth seed from
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.
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."
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."
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.
Abdel Kawy, a three times champion, is looking to reach her seventh successive
final since making her debut in the inaugural event in 2002
For European Championship Competitors In Hurghada
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.
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.
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.
Stoehr fended off the challenge of another young Pharaoh, Kanzy Emad El-Defrawy
- overcoming the 15-year-old 11-8, 12-10, 11-7.
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
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
Egyptian trio of Omneya Abdel Kawy, Engy Kheirallah and Raneem
El Weleily were comfortable winners.
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.