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ATCO Junior Open 2010 25-29 June, Cairo    

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TODAY at the ATCO Junior Open
Man 29th, FINALS Day:

PHOTO GALLERIES

Down to the Finals

We're down to one club and one court today, as the finals of the inaugural ATCO Junior Open take place on Cairo Stadium's showcourt from 10am, concluding with the WISPA Miro Classic at 18.30. A long day, but a simple plan ... 

G13:  Mariam Metwalli (Egy) bt Salma Al Dafrawy (Egy)
                11/8, 11/6, 11/3
B13:  Ziad Roshdy (Egy) bt Mohamed Ayman (Egy)
                9/11, 11/7, 8/11, 11/7, 11/2
G15:  Yathreb Adel (Egy) bt Layla Omar (Egy)
               11/7, 11/4, 11/4
B15:  Seif Abo El Enein (Egy) btFadi Tharwat (Egy)
                8/11, 11/3, 11/4, 3/11, 12/10

G17:  Nada El Kalawi (Egy) bt Sherouk Ehab (Egy)
                11/7, 9/11, 11/4, 11/13, 11/6
B17:   Islam Adel (Egy) bt Marwan El Shorbagy (Egy)
                 6/11, 9/11, 17/15, 11/4, 11/4
G19:  Amanda Sobhy (Usa)  bt Catalina Pelaez (Col)
                13/11, 11/5, 7/11, 11/9
B19:  Amr Khaled Khalifa (Egy) bt  Karim Samy (Egy)
                11/5, 11/9, 11/8

B23:  Abdullah Al Mezayan (Kuw) bt Andrew Wagih (Egy)
                11/9, 11/4, 9/11, 13/11
WISPA:  [1] Engy Kheirallah (Egy) bt Nour El Sherbini (Egy)
                 11/8, 11/9, 7/11, 7/11, 11/7

G13:  Mariam Metwalli (Egy) bt Salma Al Dafrawy (Egy)
                11/8, 11/6, 11/3

Mariam takes the first

First up were two youngsters with ferocious hitting power, and as you'd expect good shotmaking and movement too. The first was close until the death, but after the taller Mariam (White top) had taken the lead she assumed increasing control, adding deft volleys and drops to her powerful drives.

Salma - the middle of the Dafrawy sisters - hung in gamely but today was Mariam's day.

B13:   Ziad Roshdy (Egy) bt Mohamed Ayman (Egy)
                    9/11, 11/7, 8/11, 11/7, 11/2

Little Ziad zooms through

Compared to the girls the U13 boys were tiny, especially little Ziad (in Black) who is 12 and a half but could be mistaken for much younger.

It wasn't the most   of openings - Mohamed took the full 90 seconds after the warmup to sort himself out and get some last minute coaching, and needed to retie his laces after the first point, Ziad whipped off his goggles every other rally to get some advice, and the ball burst after six points.



But once they got going they had a cracking match, Mohamed with a little more power, Ziad as quick as lightning around the court. For sure the stoppages had a bearing on it, but it was an hour into the match when Ziad levelled it at two games all.

He raced away with the decider though, to the delight of his Alexandria fan base (and the schedule) ...

G15:  Yathreb Adel (Egy) bt Layla Omar (Egy)
               11/7, 11/4, 11/4

Yathreb too good

Yathreb (Blue top) we know from the WISPA draw, where she scored an impressive first round win over Olivia Blatchford. Layla is one of the Elborolossy Academy stars, who won the German Junior Open U15 last week.

Today though Yathreb proved too strong as she claimed the ATCO title in straight games.

"Layla had a small injury from last week which was hampering her movement a little," said coach Omar, "but Yathreb was too good, she's always too good!".

B15:  Seif Abo El Enein (Egy) bt Fadi Tharwat (Egy)
                8/11, 11/3, 11/4, 3/11, 12/10

Seif saves the best for last

Another five-setter, but not a hugely long one, with most of the rallies short and sharp, ending sometimes with an error but mainly with a winner from one of these talented players, both particularly adept at finding the nick in the front left corner.

The first four games were shared, and in truth none of them was close, whoever got into the lead stayed ahead.

The fifth was a real nailbiter though. Never more than a point in it until 8-all, Fadi (White top) went to 10-8 with a cracking winner followed by a drop into the tin by Seif. The game deserved to go to extra points though, and Seif struck back, winning a tumultuous rally on the first match ball and saving the second with an accurate long drop.



A short kill took him to match ball and when Fadi's boast hit the tin boy, was Seif delighted.

G17:  Nada El Kalawi (Egy) bt Sherouk Ehab (Egy)
                11/7, 9/11, 11/4, 11/13, 11/6

Nada powers through

A tough match, contested by two very determined young ladies. Both had a tendency to overhit the ball, and a lot of the match was played off the back wall, but when they tighten up there was a lot of good squash in there.

Nada (Black top) thought she'd won it at 10/9 in the fourth when she put in a winning dropshot that was called down (it was down Nada, really), and that unsettled her enough for Sherouk to force a decider.

But Nada was quickly on top in the fifth, 8/2 was a winning lead and soon enough it was converted into the win.  

B17:   Islam Adel (Egy) bt Marwan El Shorbagy (Egy)
                 6/11, 9/11, 17/15, 11/4, 11/4

Islam back from the dead

As so often happens when a player has chances to win a match and can't take them, it gets into their heads and the momentum is gone.

That's exactly what happened in this final as Marwan El Shorbagy (in Black) - looking more and more like elder brother Mohamed every day - looked well in control for the first two games, and at 6/2 in the third the title looked in the bag.

Islam fought back well though, recovered to take the lead 8/6 and earned himself a game ball at 10/9. Marwan saved that, and had five match balls in extra points before finally tinning it on Islam's second game ball.

You could feel the momentum shift, and Islam took advantage to open up a quick lead in the fourth, and from 5/1 down Marwan gave the game up.

He didn't have that option at 6/1 down in the decider, and although he pulled it back to 6/4 that was as far as it would go, Islam taking the next five points to clinch the title.
 

G19:  Amanda Sobhy (Usa)  bt Catalina Pelaez (Col)
                13/11, 11/5, 7/11, 11/9

Happy Birthday Amanda

It's been a busy week for Amanda Sobhy (Blue top), competing in the U19 and the WISPA event, and to cap it all today is her 16th birthday, so what better way to celebrate than to take the Girls' U19 title!

Top seed Catalina Paleaz didn't make it easy for her though, and so nearly took the match into a decider. The American squeezed home in the first, and her extra power forced the Colombian into errors as she doubled her lead.

Catalina started to get a handle on the game in the third, controlling the rallies well to reduce the deficit. The fourth was close all the way - 4-all, 6-all, 9-all, with Catalina diving and recovering to win the rally to keep Amanda off match ball.

At 9-all another full-length dive (no, by this time I was at the back of the court, sorry) but she returned the ball back over herself for a stroke and match ball to Amanda.

Only one chance was needed, a volley into the tin sealed Catalina's fate and made Amanda's day.

"It's a nice end to a hard week, and a good birthday present!

"She changed her game in the third, she started lobbing it and slowing it down. That was my rest game, I knew I'd have to fight for everything in the fourth.

It's the world juniors next for me. Unfortunately I play Laura Gemmell in the round of 32, but this will be my first time and I'll have another couple of chances, so I'm just looking forward to the experience.

B19:  Amr Khaled Khalifa (Egy) bt  Karim Samy (Egy)
                11/5, 11/9, 11/8

The Big 'un  wins this time ...

They say that a good big 'un will always beat a good little 'un, and while that's not always true it's certainly what happened in this final.

Amr Khaled (Red top) came out on top, and while he was never behind, Karim Samy made him work all the way, particularly in the third game where he threatened to level time after time, but the big 'un somehow managed to keep his nose in front to see it out.

"It was a tough match, too hot and too bouncy. I think I needed to win that third one, I'm not sure what would have happened in the fourth.

"I was so upset after I hit him on the leg in the third, I told the ref I was happy to play a let, but he gave me the point and I lost concentration for a while after that.

"I'm happy with my performance, I'll play the Mega Italia and then it's the world juniors. I have a tough draw, but I hope to do well ..."

"That was unbelievably tough! You just couldn't finish the ball off. I was trying so hard to finish it in the fourth and in the end I got lucky.

"I'm very happy to win this tournament, it will give me confidence to try and win some others now. For the moment though I'm staying in  Egypt to train, getting ready for the world open in Kuwait."


B23:  Abdullah Al Mezayan (Kuw) bt Andrew Wagih (Egy)
                11/9, 11/4, 9/11, 13/11

Brutal

That's the only word to describe it. A high quality match full of amazing skill, especially from Abdullah's (Blue top) magic racket hand, and dogged determination, especially from Andrew whenever he was behind.

But the conditions were so hot, so bouncy - the VIPs in the crowd were waving their invites to keep themselves cool - that making a winning shot was virtually impossible, whatever the level of skill in attempting them.

And there were so few errors too, both of them played their hearts out, and even if the television schedule didn't want a fifth, Andrew deserved one for the way he hung in, but it wasn't to be as Abdullah hit one off the frame on his third match ball to finish it off.

It must have hurt, but I'm sure that deep down Andrew was grateful that such a brutal match was over ...

WISPA: 
[1] Engy Kheirallah (Egy) bt Nour El Sherbini (Egy)
                 11/8, 11/9, 7/11, 7/11, 11/7

Engy edges it

Nour El Sherbini (light top) may have been the youngest ever WISPA finalist at the tender age of 13, and she may have been playing one of Egypt's most experienced players in Engy Kheirallah, but this was definitely not adult versus senior squash ... no way.

Far from overawed, Nour held her own with Engy for four games of high quality squash. Engy was playing better than she had in the earlier rounds, because she had to. She took the first two games but it wasn't a comfortable lead, as proved in the third and fourth as Nour levelled.

The rallies were long and tough. I don't have a time for the match but I'd guess at 70 minutes, and there was no goggle-wiping or persistent let-asking interludes in that, they just got on with it.

Come the decider Engy finally pulled away, working out to a 7/1 lead. She ended up being grateful for that advantage, because Nour came all the way back to 8/7, at which point the match was anyone's.

Eventually it was Engy's though as she finished off with a winning return of serve, a drive glued to the wall and a boast that was just too tight. What a relief that was for her, and although Nour will be disappointed, it's a fair bet she won't be waiting too long for that first senior title ...



"I'm so glad I got that start in the fifth, I wouldn't have won without it.

"After I got to 7/1 I was rushing to finish it, but these juniors, they have no pressure, they just go on playing until the end.

"She's such a good player, one of the best U19s in the world already, you really can't call her a junior any more playing like that, she doesn't play junior squash.

"She played really well in the third and fourth, I lost concentration a little and panicked after a few calls went against me, but in the end I'm happy to get away with that one."


ATCO Junior Open 2009 ... The End

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