qualifying round: Eun Chan Ahn (KOR) bt Emily Whitlock (ENG) 10-12, 11-9, 11-7, 11-8
(60m) Megan Craig (NZL) bt Sarah Cardwell (AUS) 7-11, 11-9, 11-4, 11-4
(48m) Heba El Torky (EGY) bt Rachel Arnold (MAS) 11-1, 11-7, 11-8 (23m) Deon Saffery (WAL) bt Tong Tsz-Wing (HKG) 12-14, 11-7, 11-2, 11-6
(47m) Siyoli Waters (RSA) bt Lotte Eriksen (NOR) 12-10, 8-11, 11-9,
9-11, 11-7 (58m) Lisa Aitken (ENG) bt Christine Nunn (AUS) 11-4, 11-7, 10-12, 11-4
(40m) Tesni Evans (WAL) bt Celine Yeap (MAS) 11-6, 11-5, 9-11, 11-6
(34m) Olga Ertlova (CZE) bt Liu Tsz-Ling (HKG) 12-10, 9-11, 11-4, 11-1
(39m) Milou van der Heijden (NED) bt Pushppa Devi (MAS) 13-11, 11-8,
11-1 (21m) Habiba Mohamed Ahmed Alymohmed (EGY) bt Delia Arnold (MAS) 11-5,
7-11, 11-5, 11-4 (46m) Salma Hany Ibrahim (EGY) bt Teh Min Jie (MAS) 11-1, 11-6, 11-5
(21m) Misaki Kobayashi (JPN) bt S Sivasangari (MAS) 11-5, 11-4, 11-6
(18m) Aparajitha Balamurukan (IND) bt Kylie Lindsay (NZL) 11-8, 11-8,
9-11, 5-11, 11-5 (53m) Samantha Cornett (CAN) bt Zulhijjah Binti Azan (MAS) 11-3, 11-2,
13-11 (26m) Lisa Camilleri (AUS) bt Zoe Foo (MAS) 11-7, 11-3, 11-4 (22m) Nour El Tayeb (EGY) bt Aika Azman (MAS) 11-3, 11-4, 11-6 (17m)
Eun Chan Ahn (KOR) bt Nur Aliah Anis (MAS) 11-4, 11-5, 11-6 (18m) Rachel Arnold (MAS) bt Sara Chew Rou-Yi (MAS) 14-12, 11-3, 11-2
(20m) Lotte Eriksen (NOR) bt Aifa Azman (MAS) 11-9, 11-5, 11-9 (27m) Christine Nunn (AUS) bt Nazihah Hanis (MAS) 11-5, 11-9, 11-5 (25m) Celine Yeap (MAS) bt Lim Jee Nee (MAS) 11-6, 11-8, 11-7 (25m) Pushppa Devi (MAS) bt Lai Wen Li (MAS) 8-11, 11-5, 11-9, 7-11,
16-14 (43m) Teh Min Jie (MAS) bt Zetty Zawannah (MAS) 11-8, 11-1, 11-6 (19m) S Sivasangari (MAS) bt Karina Heredia Gonzalez (MEX) 11-5, 11-4,
11-1 (16m) Aparajitha Balamurukan (IND) bt Andrea Lee (MAS) 8-11, 7-11, 11-2,
11-9, 11-9 (45m) Zulhijjah Binti Azan (MAS) bt Satomi Watanabe (JPN) 11-8, 7-11,
6-11, 11-6, 13-11 (54m) Zoe Foo (MAS) bt Teh Min Ern (MAS) 5-11, 9-11, 11-3, 11-3, 11-8
(40m) Aika Azman (MAS) bt Ooi Kah Yan (MAS) 11-7, 7-11, 11-7, 11-6 (33m)
Qualifying finals line-up: Eun Chan Ahn (KOR) v Megan Craig (NZL) Heba El Torky (EGY) v Deon Saffery (WAL) Siyoli Waters (RSA) v Lisa Aitken (ENG) Tesni Evans (WAL) v Olga Ertlova (CZE) Habiba Mohamed Ahmed Alymohmed (EGY) v Milou van der Heijden (NED) Misaki Kobayashi (JPN) v Salma Hany Ibrahim (EGY) Samantha Cornett (CAN) v Aparajitha Balamurukan (IND) Nour El Tayeb (EGY) v Lisa Camilleri (AUS)
England's Laura Massaro Wins Women's World
World number two Laura Massaro fought
off a courageous attack by teenage Egyptian giant-killer
Nour El Sherbini in today's final of the Penang CIMB
Women's World Squash Championship in Malaysia to become
the first Englishwoman to win the world title for 15 years.
The 30-year-old from Preston's place in
squash history is also assured as the first Englishwoman to
hold both the British Open and World Championship
titles simultaneously. Furthermore, following compatriot
Nick Matthew's triumph in the men's championship in
November, England can now boast both men's and women's world
squash champions for the first time.
Massaro came into the climax of the
Women's Squash Association (WSA) event at the SPICE
Arena in Penang as the strong favourite after
unseeded El Sherbini stunned Malaysian superstar Nicol
David, the world No1 from Penang, in the semi-finals.
But the Lancashire lass (pictured above in
action with El Sherbini) had to work extra hard before
overcoming a resilient El Sherbini 11-7, 9-11, 11-6, 5-11,
11-9, with the final point coming from a stroke.
Both players started on a nervous note,
testing the court - but it was Massaro who managed to steal
ahead to put herself in a comfortable position.
El Sherbini, the three-time world junior
champion from Alexandria and the youngest player ever to
reach the world final, bounced back to take the second game
Massaro then went on to take the third, only
for Sherbini to come back firing in the fourth, including
taking seven straight points as the match went to a fifth
game once again.
The young Egyptian had the early advantage in
the decider, holding 4-0 and 6-2 leads - but the experienced
Massaro demonstrated her fighting spirit and determination
to pull level at eight-all.
She then had the advantage at 10-9, before
finally earning the championship point as El Sherbini
conceded a stroke.
The triumph makes Massaro only the third
Englishwoman to lift the world title - since Martine le
Moignan in 1989 and Cassie Jackman in 1999.
"To be honest I was really nervous," admitted
the jubilant champion after the match. "I've never really
felt this nervous even though I made the final of the 2012
worlds. It was probably because I didn't want the
opportunity to slip away.
"I think knowing that I had to play Sherbini
instead of Nicol in the final threw me off my game and it
made me a lot more nervous because it was a really good
opportunity for me.
"But it's been a really amazing win - and
it's massive to have both the World and British Open titles.
"As for celebrations, unfortunately I have an
early flight out so it'll just be dinner with the team and
probably a few days off when I get back home," added
Meanwhile El Sherbini, who was thrilled just
to be in the final, admitted that she was just as nervous
and had too many things running through her mind before the
"It's just so close isn't it? But I was just
too nervous. I was thinking a lot before the match and I
just didn't have that focus," said the teenager who missed
out on the opportunity to become the only player in history
to hold both the junior and senior world titles
WSA President Kasey Brown was
delighted with the first staging of the Association's
premier championship in Penang: "The final was a fitting
climax to the event," said the world No14 from Australia.
"High-quality and entertaining squash in front of a packed
and vocal crowd, which entirely reflects the work of the
"With only a couple of months to prepare,
Thomas Chan and his team have done an amazing job. Not only
did they do Penang and Malaysia proud, they also left an
impression on all the players that will not be forgotten
El Sherbini Shocks David In Major World
Egyptian teenager Nour El Sherbini
produced a stunning upset in today's semi-finals of the
Penang CIMB Women's World Squash Championship in
Malaysia by beating home heroine Nicol David, the
world number one and seven-time champion, to became the
first unseeded player to reach the premier Women's Squash
Association (WSA) event final in more than 20 years.
El Sherbini, the 18-year-old world No27 from
Alexandria who despatched Australian Kasey Brown,
England's Alison Waters and New Zealander Joelle
King - the 12th, 4th and 5th seeds, respectively - to
make the semis, silenced the home crowd at the SPICE
Arena in Penang with the 4-11, 11-9, 11-6, 2-11,
11-9 win in 61 minutes.
No one would have predicted such a scoreline
as David was in typical sublime fashion, taking the first
game in style.
But Sherbini (pictured above, right, in
action with David) took the second, and alarm bells rang
as the 30-year-old Penang superstar - bidding to extend her
record to eight titles - lost the third.
The Penangite, egged on by a 2,000 strong
crowd, rallied to take the fourth and force a decider.
But the Egyptian underdog, already the
youngest ever semi-finalist, held her nerve from 9-6 and
10-9 up to seal a historic win.
El Sherbini will be only the second ever
Egyptian, since Omneya Abdel Kawy in 2010, to make
the world championship final.
"I'm just so happy - I never thought I could
have won this match," said the jubilant Egyptian teenager.
"I always lose to Nicol 3/0 and it was never
easy getting points off her. But I thought since I had
nothing to lose, I just went out to enjoy my game," added
three-time world junior champion El Sherbini, now in her
sixth WSA World Tour final, but her first for more
than a year.
"I feel so sorry for her ... and bad too for
beating Nicol in front of her home crowd. But I think the
pressure was on her.
"I'm also the second player from my country
to make the final after Omneya so I'm really happy and I
hope Egypt will be proud of me too," said Sherbini.
Defending champion and top seed David
admitted that El Sherbini deserved the win.
"It's never easy losing in front of the fans
here, but it was a bit of an up and down game for me and I
just lacked the focus," said Nicol bravely.
"I just wasn't as sharp in the end but I did
my best and gave it everything I could but it just wasn't my
day. Fair play to Sherbini, she really deserved to win so
all the best to her in the final."
There will be no all-Egyptian final, however,
as England's world No2 Laura Massaro had earlier worn
out Raneem El Welily, the world No3 from Cairo, 11-9,
11-7, 6-11, 11-7 in the other semi-final.
Massaro, the No2 seed from Preston in
Lancashire (pictured above, right, in action with El
Welily), is marking her second successive appearance in
the world final - and the 29th Tour final of her career.
"Against Raneem it was more tough mentally
because I didn't know whether she was going to hit a nick or
the tin," said Massaro, the reigning British Open
"But I felt that I was better physically and
it definitely feels great to be in the final once more."
The final will represent only the second ever
meeting between Massaro and El Sherbini - the Englishwoman
having triumphed in their only earlier clash, in the
Malaysian Open quarter-finals in September 2012.
Home Favourite Nicol David Survives Record-Breaking
Home favourite Nicol David survived a mighty scare against
France's Camille Serme in today's quarter-finals of the
Penang CIMB Women's World Squash Championship - but the world
number one did just enough to scrape through to the last four of the
premier Women's Squash Association (WSA) event at the
SPICE Arena in Penang, Malaysia.
The seven-time world champion and Penang's own star found herself on
the back foot early on against world No6 Serme, but recovered to win
9-11, 11-5, 11-5, 6-11, 11-4 in 76 minutes.
David (pictured above in action with Serme) toiled in the
first game as Serme gained the upper hand but regained her composure
to move 2/1 ahead after winning the second and third games by
But Serme - who has never beaten Nicol in 12 previous WSA meetings,
and has never before taken more than two games off the Malaysian -
proved that she was far from done by grittily taking the fourth.
Nicol however upped the pace in the decider as Serme ran out of
ideas, sealing her sixth successive semi-final appearance at the
worlds since 2008.
"You train for moments like this and you have to expect anything,"
said 30-year-old David. "Camille has beaten so many top players and
she just came at me.
didn't want to go five, but sometimes it happens and I managed to
dig deep and come through."
Malaysian interest in the 29th championships was whittled down to
just Nicol, however, after world No7 Low Wee Wern squandered
four match balls in the fourth game to lose 14-12, 6-11, 11-6,
11-13, 7-11 to world No2 Laura Massaro of England.
"It's a bit hard to lose in Penang," said the Malaysian and Penang
number two. "But I really gave it everything I had," said Wee Wern
after her fourth successive appearance in the quarter-finals.
had my chances in the fourth game, but Laura used all her experience
and made the better play on the crucial points. That's something
that I have to learn."
Massaro (pictured above with Wee Wern) meanwhile gave credit
to Wee Wern for pushing her to the limits.
"This was definitely Wee Wern's best showing against me as she put
me under so much pressure. It's a sign of how much she's improved -
but I'm proud of myself for pulling through," said the England
Massaro's victory took 105 minutes - making it not only the longest
match of her career, but also the longest match on the WSA World
Tour for three years, and the second longest match in the
35-year history of the world championships (the longest on record
being in 1981, in the 'hand-in-hand-out' nine-points-per-game era).
Meanwhile, a further record was set when Egypt's unseeded Nour El
Sherbini becoming the youngest ever semi-finalist at 18 - after
upsetting world No5 Joelle King 11-9, 8-11, 13-11, 11-6.
World No3 Raneem El Welily then made it a first for Egypt
after surviving a solid challenge from Ireland's experienced
Madeline Perry, winning 10-12, 14-12, 11-3, 7-11, 11-7, to
confirm two Egyptian semi-finalists for the first time.
"The pace of the match was really fast although I'm really happy to
be in the semis," said 25-year-old El Welily, a semi-finalist for
the second year in a row.
"It's also really great for Egypt, to have Sherbini in the top four
too. She's the youngest ever in the worlds semis, and now it's a
record for us to have two semi-finalists!
"But I definitely need to be more consistent, more relaxed and get a
feel of the game in my next match," said Welily, who will meet
After her historic triumph, El Sherbini (pictured above in Penang
action) told her Facebook fans: "So happy to be in Semi Final of
the Women World Open for the first time in my career after beating
Joelle 3/1 in the quarters - and to be the youngest ever to reach
the World Championship semi finals.
"It was an amazing match and I am glad I managed to win it at the
end," continued the Alexandria teenager who boasts three World
Junior Championship titles. "Playing the Squash Queen and World no.1
Nicol David tomorrow in her hometown!"
Penang squash stars Nicol David and Low Wee Wern
delighted the packed and partisan crowd watching today's second
round action in the Penang CIMB Women's World Squash Championship
when they despatched their opponents in straight games to reach the
quarter-finals of the premier Women's Squash Association (WSA)
event in Penang, Malaysia.
But it was Egypt's three-time world junior champion Nour El
Sherbini who stole the show at the SPICE Arena.
The 18-year-old, who is ranked only No27 in the world from a career
high of four following a lengthy injury layoff last year, was highly
impressive as she doused the challenge of current world No4
Sherbini took charge in the middle and made the Englishwoman work
the corners as she chalked up a shock 11-3, 11-9, 7-11, 11-3 win in
"I'm very happy because this is the first time that I have beaten
Alison, and this is also the first time that I have progressed to
the quarter-finals of the worlds," said Sherbini, who will go on to
meet world No5 Joelle King of New Zealand for a place in the
"It's a really good win for me and it's for my mother (Randa) who
was so nervous watching me play. I'm definitely hoping to keep this
Waters who celebrated her 30th birthday on Wednesday admitted that
Sherbini was the better player on the day.
"Not the best way after my birthday but Sherbini played really
well," said the Londoner. "She was confident and was controlling the
T. The headstart she had was just too much for me."
Penang superstar and seven-time world champion Nicol David
had no problems overcoming Egyptian qualifier Heba El Torky.
Nicol romped to an 11-6, 11-3, 11-4 win in 24 minutes.
was probably nervous, but she came back pretty strong. Still I'm
glad I managed to keep it pretty tight," said Nicol, who will next
meet France's Camille Serme.
Malaysian No2 Low Wee Wern also came through, but not before
surviving a third-set charge by Canadian No1 Samantha Cornett,
the second qualifier to make the last 16.
World No7 Wee Wern (pictured above with Cornett) proved her
worth as she delighted the crowd with the 11-8, 11-3, 11-9 win.
didn't know what to expect against Sam as I've never played and she
gave everything she had in the third game," said Wee Wern.
"But I'm pleased with the result and I'm playing well. Hoping to go
further tomorrow," added the young Penangite who will make her
fourth straight quarter-final appearance since 2010.
She will however be in for a massive challenge, going up against
world No2 Laura Massaro in the last eight. Massaro
overpowered fellow Englishwoman and doubles partner Jenny Duncalf
11-9, 11-6, 11-4 in 34 minutes - denying the former world No2 a
seventh successive appearance in the quarter-finals.
the day's other results, Ireland's 37-year-old Madeline Perry
defied age and logic as she battled hard from two games down to beat
England's unrelated Sarah-Jane Perry 7-11, 10-12, 11-9, 11-9,
"I'm still only 37, so I feel fine," joked Madeline. "But really,
I'm not as tired because the rallies were not so long and I'm
definitely looking forward to the quarter-finals."
Canada's Samantha Cornett became the second qualifier to claim an
unexpected place in the last 16 of the Penang CIMB Women's World
Squash Championship when she upset Line Hansen, the 16th seed
from Denmark, in today's second day of first round action in the premier
Women's Squash Association (WSA) event at the SPICE Arena
in Penang, Malaysia.
feeling is great, just great," said the world No38 from Ottawa after her
shock 11-5, 11-7, 11-7 win in 32 minutes over the higher-ranked Hansen.
"I don't know what else to say. I almost cried to be honest.
never really thought about making the top 16 and I didn't have the best
results prior either.
know I felt confident and comfortable as the match went on. But I'll
probably have to change my flight now because I'm supposed to fly home
on Friday," added Cornett, now North America's sole representative in
the last 16 round.
23-year-old will now face local star Low Wee Wern, the No6 seed
from Penang who will join fellow Penangite Nicol David in the
second round after seeing off Australian Donna Urquhart.
on by the partisan crowd, Wee Wern - who has struggled for some form
lately - was slow off the blocks but returned strongly for an 11-7,
11-6, 11-8 win.
Urquhart who was once ranked as high as No13 in the world, only really
came into the match in the third game, as she held an 8-7 lead over the
Wern, who turns 24 in July, however regained her composure for four
straight points before sealing her ticket into the top 16.
score seemed easy but it was never easy with Donna. We've had some close
matches in the past and I had to be really on my toes at all times,"
said Wee Wern.
actually trying to go for a 3/0 win instead of staying on court longer
because I wanted to be as fresh as I could for the next round.
were some good rallies too and I'm really pleased with the result.
Definitely the best start to the worlds."
was however no such joy for Malaysian junior Vanessa Raj who just
seemed to enjoy the occasion despite losing to world No2 Laura
18-year-old Vanessa, also from Penang, received a wildcard to compete in
the main draw and gave a creditable performance despite losing 7-11,
4-11, 1-11 to the second-seeded Englishwoman.
Massaro will go on to meet England team-mate Jenny Duncalf in the
second round. Duncalf, the former world No2 who played alongside Massaro
when England won the 2001 World Junior Team Championships in the same
arena, was sublime as she eliminated Kiwi qualifier Megan Craig
11-8, 11-4, 11-3.
Egypt's third seed Raneem El Welily; seventh seed Madeline
Perry, from Ireland; India's 10th seed Dipika Pallikal; and
15th seed Sarah-Jane Perry from England all made the second round
in straight games.
Perry pair (no relation) will meet each other for a place in the
Thousands Cheer Penang Star Nicol David Onto Opening
a sparkling opening ceremony for the Penang CIMB Women's World Squash
Championship which attracted a huge crowd of over 3,000 spectators,
Penang's world number one Nicol David provided the perfect
response with a straight games win in her opening match in the premier
Women's Squash Association (WSA) event at the SPICE Arena
in Penang, Malaysia
Despite a cold start against Emma Beddoes, the world No22 from
England, the seven-time world champion didn't disappoint - stepping up
her game to win 11-9, 11-5, 11-8.
amazing to have so many people here on the first round of the worlds,"
said defending champion David (pictured above in action with Beddoes)
with her eye on a record eighth title. "It's really thanks to the crowd
that I managed to pull through."
Meanwhile the day's action was off to an explosive start with three
seeds getting knocked out in the first round.
Kong's 11th seed Annie Au, 12th seed Kasey Brown of
Australia and 14th seed Rachael Grinham, also of Australia, were
all early victims.
came into the tournament high on confidence following a final appearance
at the Cleveland Classic last month, in which she defeated
England's top three players - Laura Massaro, Alison Waters
and Jenny Duncalf.
she was not prepared for feisty Egyptian qualifier Heba El Torky
who played the match of her life, staying calm and focused for a 13-11,
4-11, 11-7, 11-8 win.
23-year-old Heba, who has already won two Tour titles this year, will be
Nicol's next opponent.
extremely happy ... words can't even describe how I feel right now,"
said the Alexandria-based El Torky. "I've never got through to the main
draw of the worlds in the past and now to be in the top 16 is really
unbelievable. It's definitely my best performance so far.
key was really staying came and listening to the advice of my coach. I
tend to hit hard and without focus so staying calm really helped me
while El Torky was in control of her match, Guyana's Nicolette
Fernandes had to resort to her animal instincts to fight back from
two games down before beating Grinham, the only other former world
champion in the fray who made her debut in the event 20 years ago!
world No.20 Fernandes dug deep before coming away with a 4-11, 6-11,
12-10, 11-8, 11-7 win over the 37-year-old Grinham.
key to winning was really me telling myself to be a lion on the court,"
said the 30-year-old Fernandes. "I was too passive at the start and I
know I needed to get on it more and be an animal, growl more in order to
I'm really just relieved to win because it's not easy to come back from
Fernandes will go on to meet France's world No6 Camille Serme in
the second round. Serme earned a hard-fought 11-6, 12-10, 11-7 win over
14-year-old qualifier Habiba Mohamed Ahmed Alymohmed of Egypt.
third upset saw three-time world junior champion Nour El Sherbini
- playing in only her fourth tournament since a lengthy injury layoff -
beat WSA president Brown 12-10, 12-10, 8-11, 11-5.
were also wins for fourth seed Alison Waters of England, fifth
seed Joelle King of New Zealand and 13th seed Omneya Abdel
Kawy of Egypt.
Earlier, the 3,000 spectators, probably one of the biggest for squash in
recent times, were treated to a grand opening ceremony with fireworks,
3D mapping projection and vertical walkway.
Malaysian crowd will still have more to cheer with world No7 Low Wee
Wern due to take the courts against Australia's Donna Urquhart
Egyptian Quartet Storms Into World Championship Main Draw
14-year-old sensation Habiba Mohamed Ahmed Alymohmed, four
Egyptians stormed into the main draw of the Penang CIMB Women's World
Squash Championship after successes in today's qualifying finals of
the premier Women's Squash Association (WSA) event at the
Nicol David International Squash Centre in Penang, Malaysia.
after dumping higher-ranked Malaysian No3 Delia Arnold in the
second qualifying round, teenager Mohamed was in good shape as she
defeated Holland's Milou van der Heijden of the Netherlands in
four-time British Junior Open champion dropped the first game against
the 23-year-old Dutch national champion, ranked 51 in the world, but
recovered strongly to win 10-12, 13-11, 11-8, 11-6.
the reward for Habiba - who has been enjoying an outstanding week of
squash, further demonstrating her ability on the world stage - will be a
meeting in the main draw with world No6 Camille Serme of France.
performance today was not really up to par even though it was not as
tough as facing Delia," said the Alexandria-based Habiba. "I was not
really concentrating at first and that made me lose the first game but I
really happy to win because it was my target to make the main draw and I
managed to achieve that. Right now I just want to soak in the
experience, and if I beat anyone else, it's a huge bonus for me," added
more Egyptians - all young and talented players, Nour El Tayeb,
Heba El Torky and Salma Hany Ibrahim - also came through
their final qualifying matches.
17-year-old Salma took 43 minutes to end the hopes of Japanese No1
Misaki Kobayashi, who was fiercely backed by the home crowd, winning
11-8, 11-9, 11-9.
qualifying seed El Tayeb also didn't sweat too much in beating
Australia's Lisa Camilleri 12-10, 11-6, 11-5 - although El Torky
had to slog before overcoming Welsh opponent Deon Saffery 11-6,
9-11, 11-8, 15-13 in 61 minutes.
Another significant result saw New Zealand's 21-year-old Megan Craig
end the challenge of South Korea's Eun Chan Ahn in five games.
who is set to follow in the footsteps of compatriot and world No5
Joelle King won 11-8, 6-11, 12-14, 11-3, 11-7, and will go on to
meet ninth seed Jenny Duncalf of England in the first round of
the main draw.
was tiring after beating Emily (Whitlock) yesterday and I felt it in my
legs," said Ahn, bidding to become the first Korean to make the event's
main draw. "Despite leading 2/1, my legs were unable to push on and it's
sad because I would have wanted to be in the main draw too."
others who also made it through to the main draw are Canada's
Samantha Cornett, Wales number one Tesni Evans and England's
Meanwhile the home crowd will finally get to see world No1 and defending
champion Nicol David in action.
seven-time world champion will take to the glass court at 9.30pm after
the opening ceremony at the SPICE Arena. She will face England's
the world No7 and another Penang favourite, will be in action on
Wednesday, against Australia's Donna Urquhart.
Habiba Stuns Top Local Hope To Make Penang Qualifying
Egyptian teen sensation Habiba Mohamed Ahmed Alymohmed despatched
top local hope Delia Arnold in today's second day of qualifying
action in the Penang CIMB Women's World Squash Championship to
claim an unexpected place in the qualifying finals of the premier
Women's Squash Association (WSA) event at the Nicol David
International Squash Centre in Penang, Malaysia.
only 14 years old and already a four-time British Junior Open champion,
Mohamed gave the strong home crowd something to ponder upon as she
scored a convincing 11-5, 7-11, 11-5, 11-4 win over the qualifying
draw's highest-ranked Malaysian in 46 minutes.
a pulsating match which kept the crowd on their toes - but it was also a
big blow to the recently-married Delia, ranked 37 in the world, as she
struggles with her form.
Habiba, the world No54, certainly deserves the plaudits as she seeks to
follow in the footsteps of compatriots Raneem El Welily and
Nour El Sherbini who have made the mark on the senior stage.
was really exciting to beat a great player like Delia," said Habiba. "My
main was to make the main draw and I am now one step closer. If I can
get that far it's really good enough for me."
will go on to meet Dutchwoman Milou van der Heijden for a place
in the main draw. The world No.51 from Eindhoven got the better of
Malaysian Pushppa Devi, winning 13-11, 11-8, 11-1 in 21 minutes.
were a further two notable upsets - none more so than the 10-12, 11-9,
11-7, 11-8 victory in 60 minutes achieved by unheralded South Korean
Eun Chan Ahn over England's Emily Whitlock, the world No25
and top seed in the qualifying draw.
Seoul-born 28-year-old made an impressive WSA World Tour comeback
earlier this month in the Malaysian Tour Squash Circuit 1 after a
four-month absence - winning the title as the No8 seed!
Furthermore, 19-year-old Aparajitha Balamurukan of India got the
better of experienced world No.48 Kylie Lindsay when she beat the
30-year-old from New Zealand 11-8, 11-8, 9-11, 5-11, 11-5. Ranked 104 in
the world, Balamurukan becomes the lowest-ranked player through to the
Qualifying second seed Nour El Tayeb however had no such problems
as the Egyptian brushed aside the challenge of Malaysian junior Aika
Azman with an 11-3, 11-4, 11-6 win in 17 minutes.
my best performance, but it was good experience for me," said
17-year-old Aika. "It was also nice that us juniors got a taste of what
the world championships felt like."
a bad day for the hosts, with all nine Malaysians in contention bowing
lass Celine Yeap gave the best fight but was still no match for
Tesni Evans, losing 6-11, 5-11, 11-9, 6-11 to her Welsh opponent.
first round of the main draw will start on Tuesday at the
Subterranean Penang International Conference & Exhibition Centre (SPICE
Malaysian Octet Survive First World Championship
Qualifiers In Penang
Asian Youth Games gold medallists Rachel Arnold and Celine
Yeap, eight Malaysians survived today's first qualifying round of
the Penang CIMB Women's World Squash Championship, the $120,000
Women's Squash Association (WSA) event at the Nicol David
International Squash Centre in Penang, Malaysia.
Arnold, who turns 18 in April, put in a solid performance to see off a
gutsy challenge from compatriot Sara Chew Rou-Yi.
Rachel, the younger sister of Malaysian No.3 Delia Arnold, won
her match 14-12, 11-3, 11-2 in 20 minutes.
is the biggest event for me this year and my career as well so I was a
little nervous in the beginning," said the world No.70.
struggled a little but I managed to bring myself back in the second game
and I pretty much settled down after that.
will be facing Egypt's Heba El Torky next, so it's not the best
draw for me. But I will try my best and hopefully aim for a shot at
making the main draw," added Rachel.
23-year-old El Torky, who is the world No.31 and third seed in the
qualifiers, received a first round bye.
lass Celine, who along with Rachel played a crucial role in winning the
team gold for Malaysia at the AYG last August, also looked sharp as she
edged out another Penangite, Lim Jee Nee, 11-6, 11-8, 11-7 in 25
who is ranked No.115 in the world will go on to meet world No.35
Tesni Evans of Wales next.
other Malaysians who made it past the first round include British Junior
U15 champion S Sivasangari, Aika Azman, Zulhijjah Binti
Azan, Zoe Foo, Teh Min Jie and Pushppa Devi.
had to fight back from two games down to overcome compatriot Teh Min
Ern 5-11, 9-11, 11-3, 11-3, 11-8.
India's Aparajitha Balamurukan also staged a might comeback,
recovering from a 0/2 deficit to see off Malaysia's Andrea Lee
8-11, 7-11, 11-2, 11-9, 11-9 in 45 minutes.
highlight of the day was certainly the performance of 15-year-old
Satomi Watanabe who nearly upstaged the more experienced Zulhijjah
Azan before going down in five games.
Watanabe, who hails from Japan but trains in Penang, was a handful for
23-year-old world No.64 Zulhijjah, before eventually losing 11-8, 7-11,
6-11, 11-6, 13-11 in 54 minutes.
seed Emily Whitlock of England and second seed Nour El Tayeb
of Egypt both received first round byes.
To Extend Australian Record In Penang
Former world No5 Kasey Brown is leading the Australian
attack in next week's Penang CIMB Women's World Squash Championship in
Malaysia and hoping to extend the country's record of seven winners of the
premier event on the Women's Squash Association (WSA) World Tour.
The $120,000 championship is being staged in Penang for
the first time in its 35-year history. After qualifying at the Nicol David
International Squash Centre, the first round gets underway on an all-glass
showcourt at the SPICE Arena on Tuesday (18 March), leading to the final
on Sunday 23 March.
Australia's legendary Heather McKay became the inaugural
women's world champion in 1979, and was followed by a distinguished line of
fellow Australian winners including Rhonda Thorne, Vicki Cardwell,
three-time champion Michelle Martin, Carol Owens, five times
champion Sarah Fitz-Gerald and Rachael Grinham.
"I feel my form has been good leading into the World
Championships but the level of the WSA players is increasing so rapidly, which
is great for the sport," said Brown (pictured above) as she prepared to
travel to Penang.
"The competition is tough so it will be a very exciting event.
Squash is a constant learning process and is why the game is so great.
"Every game you play gives you a little more insight into what
you need to do to improve and you have to take that information and apply it to
your training and upcoming matches."
Brown, the No12 seed, will face Egypt's Nour El Sherbini
in the World Championship's first round.
El Sherbini is unseeded for this event, but in their two meetings
last year the Egyptian triumphed over the Australian.
Brown's three first-round losses this year stands in stark
contrast to her barnstorming start to 2013, when she made the final of the
Tournament of Champions and the semis at the Greenwich Open.
It's not that her form has dropped off. It's more a reflection of
the extraordinary depth in women's squash now.
"You can't just look at the top five because there are so many
dangerous players on the women's tour," said the 28-year-old, currently ranked
14 in the world.
"It's about being consistent and that is why the top five are
ranked where they are."
It's been an interesting journey for the girl from Taree in New
South Wales who now calls Greenwich in the United States home.
She fell in love with the sport helping her mum out at the local
squash court she managed, and quickly progressed through the Australian junior
and senior rankings.
In January, Brown was elected President of the Women's Squash
Association, a role she's really looking forward to.
Brown, winner of three medals including gold in the 2010
Commonwealth Games in Delhi, was a logical choice for the role. She's shown in
the past she's prepared to stand up for herself and for women's squash
generally, and is setting some pretty important goals for her term in the top
"I've learnt a lot since being elected as the President of WSA
and have been overwhelmed by the amount of support the association has
received," Brown said.
"It is challenging but everyone has the sport's best interest at
heart and wants to see the tour and squash as a whole grow and evolve. My aim is
to grow the tour and the sport and see players rewarded more for all of the hard
work they put in.
"WSA aims to work closely with all Associations to increase the
profile of the sport and I'd love to see the sport be granted a place in the
Two other Australians have made the main draw in Penang:
Queensland's former world number one Rachael Grinham and Donna
Urquhart from New South Wales - ranked 15 and 26, respectively, in the
Next week marks a significant milestone for Grinham: it's 20
years this year since she contested her first World Championship.
Whitlock & El
Tayeb Head World Championship Qualifying Draw
Players from 16 nations - covering five continents - will be
fighting for the eight qualifying slots in next week's Penang CIMB Women's
World Squash Championship in Penang, Malaysia, according to the draw
released today by the Women's Squash Association (WSA).
Qualifying in the $120,000 event gets underway at the Nicol
David International Squash Centre this Saturday before main draw action
moves to the SPICE Arena from Tuesday (18 March) when play will be
conducted on an all-glass showcourt through to the final on Sunday 23 March.
England's Emily Whitlock(pictured above) is the
top seed in the qualifying competition. The 20-year-old world No25 from Colwyn
Bay in Wales is bidding to make her World Championship debut. After a bye in the
first round, Whitlock takes on the winner of the match between local hope Nur
Aliah Anis and Korea's Eun Chan Ahn, winner of the Malaysian Tour
Squash Circuit 1 earlier in the month.
Egypt's Nour El Tayeb is the highest-ranked player in the
qualifying draw. The 21-year-old world No18 from Cairo also has a bye in the
opening round before beginning her world championship campaign against either of
the Malaysian teenagers Aika Azman or Ooi Kah Yan.
A successful qualifying campaign in Penang will see El Tayeb
(pictured above) make a fifth successive appearance in the event's first
round since 2009.
Powerhouse David Set For Eighth
World Title At Home
After an unprecedented 25-match unbeaten run in the event since
2007, world number one Nicol David is set to begin her bid for a record
eighth title in the Penang Women's World Squash Championship when she
faces England's Emma Beddoes in the first round of the premier WSA
World Tour event which is being staged in Penang, Malaysia, from
Boasting a $120,000 prize-fund, the joint Women's Squash
Association (WSA) and World Squash Federation (WSF) championship
opens at the Nicol David International Squash Centre before moving onto
an all-glass showcourt at the 10,000-seater Penang International Sports Arena.
Success in the event will fulfil a lifelong dream for the
Malaysian squash queen to win a senior world title in front of a home crowd in
Today's draw in Penang lined home favourite David up against
world No23 Beddoes for their first meeting for more than three years. A likely
second round meeting with Asian rival Annie Au, the No11 seed from Hong
Kong, could lead to the predicted quarter-final clash with eighth seed
Camille Serme, the world No8 from France whom David has faced five times in
the past seven months!
David is drawn in the same half as England's world No4 Alison
Waters - and is expected to face world No2 Laura Massaro, also from
England, in a repeat of the 2012 final.
David will be supported in the event by fellow Penangite Low
Wee Wern, the sixth seed who begins her campaign against Australia's
Tour veteran Rachael Grinham will be celebrating a notable
milestone in Penang after making her World Championship debut 20 years ago in
the 1994 championship in Guernsey. The 37-year-old 14th seed and former world
number one from Australia - winner of the title in 2007 - takes on Guyana's
world No19 Nicolette Fernandes in the first round.