Two all-Egyptian finals secured in Doha

There will be two all-Egyptian finals in the Doha WSF World Junior championships in Qatar after a dramatic day of semi-final action saw both top seeds tested, a second unlikely comeback in a row from Mohamed Abouelghar, and an upset win for Yathreb Adel.

Semi-Finals:

[1] Nour El Sherbini (Egy) bt [5/8] Mariam Metwally (Egy) 11/2, 8/11, 11/9, 11/6 (38m)
[3/4] Yathreb Adel (Egy) bt [2] Emily Whitlock (Eng) 11/8, 13/11, 11/7 (45m)

[1] Marwan El Shorbagy (Egy) bt [3/4] Danish Atlas Khan (Pak) 12/10, 11/7, 5/11, 11/4 (57m)
[2] Mohamed Abouelghar (Egy) bt [3/4] Mazen Hesham (Egy) 2/11, 9/11, 11/8, 11/9, 14/12 (59m)

Semi-Final roundup

Top seed Nour El Sherbini was the first player to reach the finals, but the hot favourite didn’t have it all her own way as compatriot Mariam Metwally put up a real fight after scoring just two points in the opening game, towards the end of which Sherbini slipped and fell heavily against the sidewall.

The 15-year-old underdog built a lead in the second and levelled, but couldn’t hold on to 8/5 in the third as Sherbini, the 2009 champion, stormed back to take the match.

“Mariam played very well, we are from the same country, the same club, she is a friend, and it’s difficult to play against a friend,” said Sherbini. “She is an up and coming player, and I think that next year, she’ll be very dangerous indeed.”

Boys’ top seed Marwan El Shorbagy followed his female compatriot into the final as the defending champion overcame his third successive Pakistani opponent. Shorbagy thought he’d taken a close first game 11/9, was called back onto court after his final ball was called down but took the game 12/10 and then pulled away from 7-all in the second to double his lead.

Danish Atlas Khan rallied to take the third with some ease but Shorbagy returned the favour in the fourth to move within one match of emulating his elder brother Mohamed in winning the title twice.

“Danish is a great player, I played him in the British Open Junior, I was expecting a tough match, and it was,” said Marwan. “This title is everybody’s dream, and I’m one step away from living it for the second time.”

The third semi-final was interrupted when Yathreb Adel collided with Emily Whitlock in midcourt, leaving the English second seed needing time to recover. The Egyptian was leading 11/8, 9/7 at the time, and the second Boys’ semi-final was put onto court.

And what a match that was! For the second time in a row second seed Mohamed Abouelghar came from two-nil down, saved two match balls, again, to eventually beat compatriot Mazen Hesham 14/12 in the fifth after an hour’s play.

Abouelghar couldn’t stop finding the tin in the first game and a half, but even after he had settled it was far from easy as he just failed to pull back in the second and won the next three games from 9-7, 9-8 and saved two match balls in the decider.

“I wasn’t in the match really for the first two games, but slowly, slowly, my body started to get better,” said a delighted and relieved winner. “I’m in the final, again, against Marwan, again,” he added. “I don’t have any expectations for tomorrow, I’ll just enjoy my squash, my last junior event, and hopes it ends the right way.”

On the resumption of the girls’ match, at 9/7 to Adel, it was Whitlock who secured the first two points to level, but after missing game ball at 10/9 and saving one at 10/11 it was the Egyptian who took it 13/11 double her advantage.

Whitlock held a slender lead for the early part of the third game, but from 6-all Adel assumed the ascendancy to take the match and guarantee two Egyptian champions tomorrow.

Full coverage: www.wsfworldjuniors.com

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