Good day for the Young Egyptians in Rotterdam

1st November 2011

Back to full speed at Victoria

If you thought tournaments like this got quieter as they went on, think again. Today we were back to 32 matches over four courts as the men's and women's events both reached the round of 32 stage, and it turned out to be a good day for quite a few Young Egyptians.  Here's how it all unfolded ...

'Old guard' through as Kanzy KO's Kawy ...

The first two matches completed saw qualifiers Lauren Selby and Tesni Evans turn in creditable performances against Rachael Grinham and Samantha Teran, both having had a good tournament and doing themselves credit in today's openers.

"That was hard, she's a good player and very physical," said Tesni. "But I've enjoyed my week, it's been great to see the the top players together and to watch them play."

Selby was also satisfied: "I thought I did alright, considering the matches I've had so far this week. Rachael's not the easiest to play when you have heavy legs, she holds the ball so well and you have to stop and start and turn so often. But I'm pleased with my tournament, I thought I did credit to myself and I got my laundry done!!"

Teran was happy too: "I'm happy to get started, and to have a tough game to get me ready for the next round, Tesni played well. It's normally hard to adjust after the travel from Mexico, but I've been here a couple of days already and I feel quite comfortable, I'm in good rhythm and playing well.

Veteran performers and former world championsDavid Palmer and Thierry Lincou, who both survived by their skin in their teeth in the first round, won the opening men's matches of the day with less drama, although both dropped the second game, against Ryan Cuskelly and Stewart Boswell, before clinching 3/1 wins to set up a meeting in the next round.

There was a huge upset in the second batch of women's matches as teenage Egyptian qualifierKanzy El Dafrawy ousted eighth-seeded compatriot Omneya Abdel Kawy in three delicately poised games, 12/10, 11/9, 12/10.

"I can't believe it," said a delighted Kanzy, "I've never even taken a game off her before. But I was playing well, even if she isn't at her best at the moment, but when I was 10/6 down in the third I told myself I mustn't let an opportunity like this slip."

Kanzy thought she'd won it when Kawy left a ball that the refs called in. Cue two disbelieving faces and a let was decided on, but it didn't delay the victory for long.

"I never felt nervous the whole match, which is why I could play well," added Kanzy, "and I think I won today because I always believed I could win."

Another upset followed when Dipika Pallikal, who has just moved into the world's top twenty, took out 14th-seeded Kiwi Jaclyn Hawkes in four games.

"I started well then made too many errors in the second," said the Indian number one. "In the third and fourth I was trying to be more steady and I thought I did that well. I played Jackie in Malaysia in July so I knew what to expect, you have to be prepared to run and run like she does.

"Really happy to get through, it should be a good game against Kanzy ..."

The first upset in the men's event came when Borja Golan came from a game down to oust 14th seed Omar Mosaad in an unsurprisingly long 76 minutes, he now meets another Egyptian after third seed Karim Darwish beat Wael El Hindi in straight games.

"It was three-nil, but a hard three-nil," admitted Darwish, while Golan, who endured an extended injury layoff last yer, was doubly pleased: "We were pretty close squash wise today, but I had that 30% plus confidence in my game. It’s so good to be back."

The last four men's matches all saw the seeded players progress too, as defending champion Nick Matthew gained a measure of revenge on Tarek Momen for his shock defeat in Qatar, and he now meets another Egyptian in Mohamed El Shorbagy, who won a close three-game tussle with Simon Rosner 12/10, 11/7, 12/10.

Further English success followed as seventh seed Peter Barker came from a game down to beat South African Steve Coppinger, but Chris Ryder found Cameron Pilley too hot to handle as the Aussie went through in straight games to meet Barker in the next round.

There were no further upsets in the afternoon session women's matches, but none ofJenny Duncalf, Annie Au, Laura Massaro and Joelle King had particularly easy times of it even if they never looked in serious danger.

King found Swiss qualifier Gaby Huber a bit of a handful: "I'd never really seen her play, so it came as a bit of a surprise to find she hits the ball as hard as I do, which I'm not really used to," admitted the Kiwi commonwealth gold medallist, who won 11/7, 11/6, 11/6. "It's good to get started though and I'm very happy to win that one three-nil."

King now meets second seed Duncalf, who had just as tough a time of it against Line Hansen, coming through 11/9, 12/10, 11/7 in just over half an hour.

Meanwhile Duncalf's English team-mate Massaro managed to quell the lively young Egyptian Yathreb Adel 11/9, 11/7, 11/6 and she'll meet Annie Au, who won her all-Hong Kong match with Joey Chan in four games. "We play each other so often, it feels strange to come all the way over here just to play each other again," chuckled Au.
Night of the Young Egyptians ...

The evening session began with a welcome easy match for James Willstrop, who tends not to like playing on traditional courts, which are exactly the environment where Shahier Razik thrives. Fortunately for the fourth seed the Canadian was struggling with injury and retired shortly into the second game.

The ladies got their first outing on Victoria's showcourt as locals Orla Noom and Natalie Grinham started their campaigns. Noom, who won the qualifying competition for the wilcard spot, performed well enough but Australia's Kasey Brown was a tough opponent, and the sixth seed came through in straight games despite Noom's best efforts and a noisy partisan crowd.

"It's never easy playing the crowd's home favourite," admitted Brown, "and they were definitely against me and pretty loud too, but I thought I coped with it well and played pretty well too."

The following match, featuring four-time finalist Grinham against her qualifier training partner Aisling Blake, was one the crowd had altogether different expectations of, and they weren't disappointed as the former Aussie who has just returned to the world's top ten came through in straight games in front of her watching husband and son.

Meanwhile on court 9 where Daryl Selby and Marwan El Shorbagy had been moved to, great drama was unfolding. The world junior champion took the first two, the British champion took the next two and established a 9/6 lead in the decider.

Full story to follow, but the last few points were tense, hotly contested and disputed, both had match balls - Daryl was quite convinced he'd won it 11/10 - but it was Marwan who finally won 13/11 after 94 minutes.

Two more Egyptians followed Shorbagy into the third round as four-time champion Amr Shabana came from a game down to beat young compatriot Karim Abdel Gawad in a high quality match that was thoroughly enjoyed by a big crowd on court nine, while Hisham Ashour's shotmaking was too much for Martin Knight for two games but the Kiwi made it tough for Ashour in the third, only just missing out 16/14.

Two contrasting women's matches followed. France's seventh seed Camille Serme, having lost to one young Egyptian (Raneem) in Qatar was in no mood to lose to another today as she took a close first game against Nour El Tayeb, doubled her lead with more ease in the second and gratefully accepted the world junior champion's retirement with an ankle injury at 2/1 in the third.

Fourth seed Madeline Perry went two games up as well, but her opponent, Emma Beddoes, far from conceding stormed back to take the next two games. It was fairly comfortable for the Northern Irishwoman in the decider, who after an tough hour long match will be grateful for a day's rest before she takes on Natalie Grinham at the Luxor Theatre on Thursday.

More success for France as Gregory Gaultier ended the run of Mexican qualifier Cesar Salazar in straight games, while his prospective Luxor opponentLaurens Jan Anjema was having a little more trouble with India's Saurav Ghosal on the showcourt before eventually prevailing in four games after 65 minutes.

Meanwhile the ladies had resumed [if you're getting a little confused by now, imagine what it's like trying to follow 32 matches on four courts 'live', we actually lost the plot a while ago!] with Malaysian favourites on two courts.

Low Wee Wern had to work hard to secure a three-nil win over US veteran Latasha Khan, while five-time and defending champion Nicol David started off her defence on an outside court against compatriot Delia Arnold [and wad missed in its entirety by yours truly].

"Delia was struggling with the bounce on the court," said Nicol after her 11/3, 11/5, 11/6 win, "but I was too to start with, it took a little time to get comfortable on there. I had to remind myself it was the first round of the World Open and not let her get into it, she can be very dangerous if she does."

After Alister Walker put a bit of a dampener on Malaysian celebrations by coming from a game down to beat Azlan Iskandar, we were left with two matches at opposite ends of the Victoria club, both featuring young Egyptians and both going the full distance.

We probably forget that Ramy Ashour is only 24 - two years older than his Swiss opponent Nicolas Mueller, but still 'young' surely.

Anyway, it was Mueller who got the better of the first two games, both close, but the Egyptian magic proved too strong for the next three, to Mueller's obvious frustration and the Egyptian camp's obvious relief.

That left Donna Urquhart and Nour El Sherbini, who were by now into their fifth game too, Sherbini having taken the lead 2/1 after saving game balls in what proved to be a crucial third game. The fifth was a relative canter, the young Egyptian finally able to celebrate her 16th birthday with an 11/2 decider.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, was day five at the World Open ...

Men’s Round Two – top half (in playing order)
[8] David Palmer (Aus) bt Ryan Cuskelly (Aus) 11/6, 11/13, 11/5, 11/5 (70m)
[10] Thierry Lincou (Fra) bt Stewart Boswell (Aus) 11/5, 8/11, 11/7, 11/7 (66m)
Borja Golan (Esp) bt [14] Omar Mosaad (Egy) 6/11, 11/7, 11/8, 11/7 (76m)
[3] Karim Darwish (Egy) bt Wael El Hindi (Egy) 11/9, 11/3, 11/4 (52m)
[1] Nick Matthew (Eng) bt Tarek Momen (Egy) 11/4, 11/9, 11/4 (47m)
[9] Mohamed El Shorbagy (Egy) bt Simon Rosner (Ger) 12/10, 11/7, 12/10 (49m)
[16] Cameron Pilley (Aus) bt Chris Ryder (Eng) 11/9, 11/3, 11/5 (46m)
[7] Peter Barker (Eng) bt Steve Coppinger (Rsa) 9/11, 11/5, 11/4, 11/8 (57m)

[4] James Willstrop (Eng) bt Shahier Razik (Can) 11/1, 4/1 (13m)
[Q] Marwan El Shorbagy (Egy) bt [11] Daryl Selby (Eng) 11/8, 11/7, 4/11, 4/11, 14/12 (92m)
[15] Hisham Ashour (Egy) bt Martin Knight (Nzl) 11/3, 11/8, 16/14 (38m)
[5] Amr Shabana (Egy) bt Karim Abdel Gawad (Egy) 5/11, 11/8, 11/5, 11/9 (50m)
[6] Gregory Gaultier (Fra) bt [Q] Cesar Salazar (Mex) 11/3, 11/9, 11/5 (49m)
[12] Laurens Jan Anjema (Ned) bt Saurav Ghosal (Ind) 11/4, 9/11, 11/6, 11/5 (65m)
Alister Walker (Bot) bt [13] Azlan Iskandar (Mas) 10/12, 11/8, 11/7, 11/5 (68m)
[2] Ramy Ashour (Egy) bt Nicolas Muller (Sui) 8/11, 9/11, 11/3, 11/8, 11/5 (60m)

Women’s Round ONE – bottom half (in playing order)
[3] Rachael Grinham (Aus) bt [Q] Lauren Selby (Eng) 11/7, 11/4, 11/5 (24m)
[15] Samantha Teran (Mex) bt [Q] Tesni Evans (Wal) 11/5, 11/3, 11/7 (24m)
Dipika Pallikal (Ind) bt [14] Jaclyn Hawkes (Nzl) 11/8, 9/11, 11/8, 11/7 (52m)
[Q] Kanzy El Dafrawy (Egy) bt [8] Omneya Abdel Kawy (Egy) 12/10, 11/9, 12/10 (35m)
[5] Laura Massaro (Eng) bt [Q] Yathreb Adel (Egy) 11/9, 11/7, 11/6 (41m)
[9] Annie Au (Hkg) bt Joey Chan (Hkg) 13/11, 11/6, 7/11, 11/6 (46m)
[10] Joelle King (Nzl) bt [Q] Gaby Huber (Sui) 11/7, 11/6, 11/6 (35m)
[2] Jenny Duncalf (Eng) bt Line Hansen (Den) 11/9, 12/10, 11/7 (32m)

[11] Raneem El Weleily (Egy) bt Sarah Kippax (Eng) 11/9, 11/9, 11/5 (30m)
[6] Kasey Brown (Aus) bt Orla Noom (Ned) 11/6, 11/5, 11/4 (32m)
[12] Natalie Grinham (Ned) bt [Q] Aisling Blake (Irl) 11/5, 11/3, 11/9 (37m)
[4] Madeline Perry (Irl) bt Emma Beddoes (Eng) 11/8, 11/4, 7/11, 7/11, 11/3 (58m)
[7] Camille Serme (Fra) bt Nour El Tayeb (Egy) 12/10, 11/7, 2/1 rtd (28m)
[16] Low Wee Wern (Mas) bt [Q] Latasha Khan (Usa) 11/6, 11/9, 11/8 (42m)
[1] Nicol David (Mas) bt Delia Arnold (Mas) 11/3, 11/6, 11/5 (29m)
[Q] Nour El Sherbini (Egy) bt [13] Donna Urquhart (Aus) 10/12, 11/8, 13/11, 9/11, 11/2 (61m)