Significant upsets by Mostafa Asal and Aly Hussein – aged only 16 and 17, respectively – have led to Egypt having four players in the men’s quarter-finals of the WSF World Junior Squash Championships for the first time in seven years.
But there was a surprise Egyptian exit in the women’s event at the Devoy Squash & Fitness Centre in Tauranga, New Zealand, when Nada Abbas – a 17-year-old from Giza predicted to make the semi-finals – went down to USA’s 14-year-old Marina Stefanoni in the biggest upset of the day.
“After being 9-4 down in the first, I’m so happy to be the fourth Egyptian in the quarter-finals,” said 9/16 seed Asal after his shock 11-9, 11-7, 11-7 victory in 43 minutes over Kyle Finch, a 5/8 seed from England.
With Egyptian interest in each of the four men’s quarter-finals, Asal now faces No.2 seed Mohammad Al Sarraj. Bidding to become the first Jordanian to win a world squash title, Al Sarraj ended the giant-killing run of unseeded Colombian Matias Knudsen, beating the 17-year-old from Bogota 11-7, 9-11, 11-8, 12-10.
“That was close, he plays proper squash and made me work hard,” said a relieved Al Sarraj, ranked 89 in the world. “I didn’t play my best, but I needed that level of intensity to get properly into the tournament and to get used to the court. I’ll be ready tomorrow!”
Aly Hussein became the only unseeded player in the last eight after surviving a five-game battle with Adhitya Raghavan, beating the 5/8 seed from India 11-3, 8-11, 11-7, 4-11, 11-3.
The Cairo-born 17-year-old now lines up against Frenchman Victor Crouin for a place in the semi-finals.
“I’d never played her before, but I watched her play yesterday and saw how her opponent was winning points so I tried to replicate that,” said the Connecticut teenager. “I started well but she fought back and I had to try to catch up again.
“At 6-1 in the fourth I lost a bit of focus, thinking it would be pretty cool to be in the quarters, but at 7-6 down I knew I had to get back to my game.
“It feels great to be in the quarters, really excited about that!”
Stefanoni now plays 5/8 seed Satomi Watanabe, a Japanese player who she will also be meeting for the first time.
An Egyptian semi-finalist is assured at the bottom of the draw where Amina Yousry and Zeina Mickawy meet in the quarters. 5/8 seed Yousry beat Hong Kong’s Lui Hiu Lam 11-2, 4-11, 11-8, 11-2, while second seed Mickawy defeated Malaysian Aifa Azman 12-10, 13-11, 11-7.
“She’s an up and coming player and she’s going to be something, so all the pressure was on me,” said Mickawy of her 15-year-old opponent. “Happy to get through that in three.”
Men’s 4th round:
 Youssef Ibrahim (EGY) bt [9/16] Ong Sai Hung (MAS) 9-11, 16-14, 14-16, 11-7, 11-5 (66m)
[5/8] Andrew Douglas (USA) bt [9/16] Tom Walsh (ENG) 11-4, 11-9, 11-6 (36m)
[5/8] Abhay Singh (IND) bt [9/16] Mohamed Elshamy (EGY) 10-12, 11-7, 13-11, 11-8 (38m)
[3/4] Marwan Tarek (EGY) bt [9/16] Adam Corcoran (ENG) 11-5, 11-6, 14-12 (38m)
[3/4] Victor Crouin (FRA) bt [9/16] Darren Rahul Pragasam (MAS) 11-6, 11-6, 11-0 (27m)
Aly Hussein (EGY) bt [5/8] Adhitya Raghavan (IND) 11-3, 8-11, 11-7, 4-11, 11-3 (47m)
[9/16] Mostafa Asal (EGY) bt [5/8] Kyle Finch (ENG) 11-9, 11-7, 11-7 (43m)
 Mohammad Al Sarraj (JOR) bt Matias Knudsen (COL) 11-7, 9-11, 11-8, 12-10 (35m)
Women’s 4th round:
 Hania El Hammamy (EGY) bt [9/16] Chan Yiwen (MAS) 11-3, 11-5, 11-4 (22m)
[5/8] Sivasangari Subramaniam (MAS) bt [9/16] Zoe Foo Yuk Han (MAS) 11-5, 11-6, 11-9 (22m)
[5/8] Satomi Watanabe (JPN) bt [9/16] Lucy Turmel (ENG) 11-8, 11-4, 11-6 (28m)
[9/16] Marina Stefanoni (USA) bt [3/4] Nada Abbas (EGY) 12-10, 7-11, 11-7, 11-9 (41m)
[3/4] Rowan Reda Araby (EGY) bt Jana Shiha (EGY) 12-10, 11-5, 11-3 (24m)
[5/8] Andrea Lee (MAS) bt [9/16] Elise Lazarus (ENG) 11-9, 11-8, 11-8 (28m)
[5/8] Amina Yousry (EGY) bt [9/16] Lui Hiu Lam (HKG) 11-2, 4-11, 11-8, 11-2 (28m)
 Zeina Mickawy (EGY) bt [9/16] Aifa Azman (MAS) 12-10, 13-11, 11-7 (25m)
The WSF World Junior Championship is taking place in Tauranga, New Zealand …Colombian Knudsen Progresses In New Zealand
After producing the only seeding upset on the opening day of action in the WSF World Junior Squash Championships in New Zealand, Colombian outsider Matias Knudsen battled through to the men’s last 16 of the World Squash Federation event today at the Devoy Squash & Fitness Centre in the city of Tauranga.
The unranked 17-year-old from Bogota needed 54 minutes to see off Pakistan’s world No.482 Abbas Zeb 10-12, 11-9, 11-6, 6-11, 11-9.
“I was two-nil 10-7 down yesterday, and today I was 10-7 up in the third and it was very hard to finish,” said Knudsen, coached by recently-appointed Colombian national coach Martin Knight, the former world No.38 from New Zealand.
“I’m so excited to be in the last sixteen – this is my third world juniors, I’m getting further each time and I still have one more to go!”
Bidding to become the first Colombian ever to reach the event’s quarter-finals, Knudsen now faces No.2 seed Mohammad Al Sarraj. Al Sarraj, from Jordan, defeated USA’s Salim Khan 11-7, 11-9, 12-10.
There was a further upset in the men’s draw when Egypt’s unseeded Aly Hussein, a world championship debutant, despatched Roman Allinckx, a 9/16 seed from Switzerland, 11-6, 11-4, 11-5 in 48 minutes.
The Cairo-born 17-year-old, one of five Egyptians through to the men’s last 16, will need to overcome India’s 5/8 seed Adhitya Raghavan to secure a place in the quarter-finals.Egyptian top seeds Youssef Ibrahim and Hania El Hammamy
15-year-old Jana Shiha produced the standout upset in the women’s event after ousting 18-year-old Akanksha Salunkhe, a 9/16 seed from India.
The Alexandrian’s 11-6, 11-8, 11-4 victory in just 16 minutes takes Shiha through to the last 16 where she will face compatriot Rowan Reda Araby.
Runner-up in 2016, 16-year-old Araby – also from Alexandria – defeated Canadian Nicole Kendall 11-1, 11-2, 11-2.
Predicted semi-finalist Nada Abbas, however, was taken the full distance before claiming her anticipated place in the last 16. From 2/1 down, the 17-year-old from Giza finally got the better of India’s 18-year-old Aishwarya Bhattacharya 11-4, 8-11, 9-11, 11-6, 11-3.
16-year-old local hope Kaitlyn Watts was unable to pull off the upset she needed to reach the 4th round. The highest-ranked New Zealander in the women’s draw, Watts went down 11-4, 11-7, 11-4 to Malaysian Chan Yiwen, a 9/16 seed.
Men’s 3rd round:
 Youssef Ibrahim (EGY) bt Ronald Palomino (COL) 11-8, 11-7, 11-6 (26m)
[9/16] Ong Sai Hung (MAS) bt Ahmed Elmashad (EGY) 3-11, 5-11, 13-11, 11-5, 11-4 (46m)
[9/16] Tom Walsh (ENG) bt Nicholas Calvert (AUS) 11-2, 11-5, 11-5 (22m)
[5/8] Andrew Douglas (USA) bt Sanjay Jeeva (BEL) 8-11, 11-6, 11-9, 11-7 (38m)
[5/8] Abhay Singh (IND) bt Harrison Gill (USA) 11-6, 11-3, 14-12 (38m)
[9/16] Mohamed Elshamy (EGY) bt Cole Becker (USA) 11-5, 8-11, 9-11, 11-5, 12-10 (41m)
[9/16] Adam Corcoran (ENG) bt Finn Trimble (NZL) 11-4, 10-12, 11-5, 11-7 (59m)
[3/4] Marwan Tarek (EGY) bt Yash Fadte (IND) 11-5, 11-4, 11-6 (25m)
[3/4] Victor Crouin (FRA) bt Shahrul Izham Nurhaqiem (MAS) 11-4, 11-3, 11-4 (21m)
[9/16] Darren Rahul Pragasam (MAS) bt Tiber Worth (USA) 11-5, 9-11, 11-9, 11-8 (46m)
Aly Hussein (EGY) bt [9/16] Roman Allinckx (SUI) 11-6, 11-4, 11-5 (48m)
[5/8] Adhitya Raghavan (IND) bt In Woo Lee (KOR) 11-5, 11-6, 4-11, 11-9 (50m)
[5/8] Kyle Finch (ENG) bt Hafiz Zhafri (MAS) 11-6, 11-3, 11-4 (24m)
[9/16] Mostafa Asal (EGY) bt Inaki de Larrauri (COL) 11-1, 11-4, 11-7 (24m)
Matias Knudsen (COL) bt Abbas Zeb (PAK) 10-12, 11-9, 11-6, 6-11, 11-9 (54m)
 Mohammad Al Sarraj (JOR) bt Salim Khan (USA) 11-7, 11-9, 12-10 (35m)
Women’s 3rd round:
 Hania El Hammamy (EGY) bt Ka Wing Ho (HKG) 11-4, 11-3, 11-2 (19m)
[9/16] Chan Yiwen (MAS) bt Kaitlyn Watts (NZL) 11-4, 11-7, 11-4 (24m)
[9/16] Zoe Foo Yuk Han (MAS) bt Charlotte Orcutt (CAN) 11-5, 11-2, 11-8 (23m)
[5/8] Sivasangari Subramaniam (MAS) bt Anika Jackson (NZL) 11-4, 11-2, 11-5 (15m)
[5/8] Satomi Watanabe (JPN) bt Saskia Beinhard (GER) 11-3, 11-5, 11-4 (18m)
[9/16] Lucy Turmel (ENG) bt Alice Green (ENG) 11-5, 11-4, 11-7 (26m)
[9/16] Marina Stefanoni (USA) bt Jasmine Hutton (ENG) 14-12, 11-8, 11-6 (32m)
[3/4] Nada Abbas (EGY) bt Aishwarya Bhattacharya (IND) 11-4, 8-11, 9-11, 11-6, 11-3
[3/4] Rowan Reda Araby (EGY) bt Nicole Kendall (CAN) 11-1, 11-2, 11-2 (13m)
Jana Shiha (EGY) bt [9/16] Akanksha Salunkhe (IND) 11-6, 11-8, 11-4 (16m)
[9/16] Elise Lazarus (ENG) bt Chan Sin Yuk (HKG) 11-8, 11-5, 11-9 (24m)
[5/8] Andrea Lee (MAS) bt Grace Doyle (USA) 11-5, 11-8, 11-3 (22m)
[5/8] Amina Yousry (EGY) bt Kristýna Fialová (CZE) 11-2, 11-5, 11-5 (20m)
[9/16] Lui Hiu Lam (HKG) bt Cheng Nga Ching (HKG) 11-3, 11-3, 11-7 (19m)
[9/16] Aifa Azman (MAS) bt Sunayna Kuruvilla (IND) 11-4, 11-6, 11-6 (24m)
 Zeina Mickawy (EGY) bt Faith Sithole (RSA) 11-6, 11-3, 11-7
The sport of Squash has been confirmed as a showcase sport at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in October 2018.
The Games Organising Committee has emphasised a desire to feature participation as a key component as part of their ‘festivals of sport’ created in four ‘parks’ across the city. Buenos Aires 2018 want people to “experience a fusion of elite sport competition, music, culture and arts festivals, sport initiation, showcasing and educational programmes”.
The World Squash Federation, in conjunction with the Argentinean Squash Federation, were warmly received by the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games Organizing Committee (BAYOGOC) during the extended period in which discussions took place leading to this superb outcome.
Welcoming the news, WSF President Jacques Fontaine commented: “Youth are our future, and so a priority for squash. We hugely admire the participation policy of the Buenos Aires 2018 Organizing Committee are grateful to the hosts in recognising that squash will be a vibrant addition, and are delighted to be a part of the promotion.
“We, in collaboration with the Argentinean Squash Federation, look forward to bringing an all-glass showcourt to Technopolis Park.
“To be added to the Youth Olympic Games for 2018 is a great moment for squash and a step in the right direction towards our ultimate aim of Olympic Games inclusion. The Youth Games displays the very best in rising sporting talent as well as the very best in youth sports. We believe we have one of the most unique sporting products in the world and some of the most compelling athletes in the world; and we look forward to working closely with the host in the build up to Buenos Aires 2018 to ensure we make the most of the opportunity.”
The dates for the squash, within the 6-18 October 2018 overall programme and the format of the junior ‘showcase’ event, will be announced later.