World Junior Squash C’ships: Sneha continues golden run

Singapore’s Sneha Sivakumar ousts Egypt’s Ingy Hammouda in a five-game thriller to enter quarterfinals.

Fiesty contest: Sneha Sivakumar (right) of Singapore in action against Egypt’s Ingy Hammouda.   -  S. R. Raghunathan

Singapore’s Sneha Sivakumar stole the limelight yet again in an otherwise regular day of Egyptian domination at the World Junior Squash Championships in Indian Squash Academy on Friday.

After packing off 5/8 seed Elise Lazarus in a four-game battle the previous evening, the Indian-origin player ousted Egypt’s Ingy Hammouda in a five-game thriller 7-11, 11-6, 13-11, 7-11, 11-9 to enter the quarterfinals. “At 9-9 in the fifth game, I just wanted to hang in there and allow her to make a mistake. Thankfully, it worked. This week has been my best in squash,” an elated Sneha said.

Egyptians dominate

But for Sneha’s efforts, Egypt would have had all six players from its squad reaching the quarterfinals in the junior women’s category. An all-Egyptian top half of the draw in the quarterfinal has already assured the mighty squash nation of a finalist in the women’s section. The top seed Rowan Reda Araby cruised to an easy 11-4, 11-5, 11-2 win over Malaysia’s Chan Yiwen and looks quite unstoppable in her quest for a second consecutive world junior title.

DAY TWO REPORT: Indian challenge ends

It was a similar script in the junior men’s category as five of the six Egyptians progressed to the quarterfinals. With one of the last-16 clashes being an all-Egyptian affair, Yehia Elnawasany lost to his higher-ranked compatriot Mostafa Montaser 9-11, 11-9, 11-7, 8-11, 12-10.

Top seed Marwan Tarek was stretched to four games by Canada’s George Crowne in a quality matchup that saw multiple rallies and great retrieves from both the players. Tarek showed signs of weariness after high-paced rallies, but dug deep and came up with some exquisitely angled shots to finish on the right side of the scoreline.

‘Not an easy match’

“At this stage of the tournament, I have to be prepared for a tough contest. Canadians are physically fit and he was moving around the court and playing good rallies. It was not an easy match but I did okay,” Tarek analysed after the match.

Interestingly, the biggest upset of the day was also caused by an Egyptian. Farida Mohamed overcame the challenge of 3/4-seeded Malaysian Aifa Azman in a feisty contest. The players engaged in physical blocks with Farida Mohamed even requiring a medical timeout after a particularly forceful shove from the Malaysian. Azman won the highly volatile first game 17-15 but the warning from the referee seemed to affect her mentally and she lost steam in the subsequent games. Though Azman tried to make a match of it and won the fourth game, it was an easy ride for the physically stronger Egyptian who prevailed 15-17, 11-7, 4-11, 11-6.

“I couldn’t really focus on my game because of the way she played. She blocked a lot. She was physical and it is very hard to pick up all the ball because she keeps standing in the middle. I should have played more tight balls, it would have been good. I didn’t think I will lose today. My target was reaching the final but it didn’t go well as I planned," Azman, who is the reigning British U-17 Junior Open champion, conceded.

The action shifts to the Express Avenue shopping mall from Saturday.

  • Results (Round of 16)
  • Men: [1] Marwan Tarek (Egy) bt George Crowne (CAN) 11-6, 11-6, 9-11, 11-4 ; [5/8] Mostafa Montaser (EGY) bt [9/12] Yehia Elnawasany (EGY ) 9-11, 11-9, 11-7, 8-11, 12-10 ; [5/8] Nick Wall (ENG) bt [9/12] Matias Knudsen (COL) 11-8, 9-11, 11-5, 11-8; [3/4 ] Omar El Torkey (EGY) bt [13/16] Julien Gosset (CAN) 11-7, 11-3, 9-11, 10-12, 11-9; [3/4] Mostafa El Serty (EGY) bt [13/16] Siow Yee Xian (MAS) 11-7, 11-9, 9-11, 11-9 ; [5/8] Darren Rahul Pragasam (MAS) bt [9/12] James Wyatt (ENG) 7-11, 11-7, 11-13, 11-1, 11-8 ; [5/8] Leonel Cardenas (MEX) bt James Flynn (CAN) 11-7, 8-11, 11-5, 11-3 ; [2] Mostafa Asal (EGY) bt [13/16] Yannick Wilhelmi (SWISS)11-9, 11-5, 11-8.
  • Women: Rowan Reda Araby (1), EGY, bt Chan Yiwen (13/16), MAS, 11-4 11-5 11-2; Hana Moataz (5/8), EGY, bt Alice Green (9/12), ENG, 11-8 11-3 11-9; Jana Shiha (5/8), EGY,bt Wen Li Lai (9/12), MAS, 11-6 9-11 11-5 11-4; Farida Mohamed (13/16), EGY, bt Aifa Azman (3/4), MAS, 15-17 11-7 11-7 4-11 11-6; Lucy Turmel (3/4), ENG, bt Jessica Keng, MAS, 11-8 11-6 13-11; Sneha Sivakumar, SING, bt Ingy Hammouda (9/12), EGY, 7-11 11-6 13-11 7-11 11-9; Marina Stefanoni (5/8), USA, bt Georgia Adderley (9/12), SCO, 11-8 4-11 11-9 11-8; Hania El Hammamy (2), EGY, bt Kah Yan Ooi (13/16), MAS, 11-8 11-8 11-7.