Quarter-finals of the WSF World Junior Championships at the Hasta La Vista Club in Wroclaw, Poland, started with contrasting wins for two of the six Egyptian girls in the last eight.
Yathreb Adel, runner-up in last year’s event but seeded 3/4 here, despatched Belgium’s Nele Gilis in just 25 minutes, while Mariam Metwally needed three times that long to overcome second-seeded compatriot Nouran Gohar.
Metwally recovered from a deficit to take the lead, and had a match ball in the fourth game before Gohar levelled again. Metwally, seeded 5/8, kept ahead in the decider to finally clinch a second consecutive place in the semi-finals 11/8 after 74 minutes.
“I actually have a good record against Nouran, I’ve played her perhaps 20 times in Egypt not losing many of those,” said Mariam. Today I let that chance at 2-1 up slip and she won the game, luckily I wasn’t made to rue that later on.”
An Egyptian champion was guaranteed when 14-year-old Habiba Mohamed produced a second successive upset as she overpowered American 3/4 seed Sabrina Sobhy in straight games, leaving it to defending champion Nour El Sherbini to beat Salma Hany in straight games to finalise the semi-final lineup.
“Perhaps I was expecting to win a bit yesterday and much more today,” said Habiba. “It’s a big deal as I’m younger than her and at only 14 I’m in the semis! Am I nervous? Not at all, why should I be, there’s no pressure on me from now on!”
The Egyptian bandwagon looked like it would keep on rolling when 9/16 seed Mohamed El Gawarhy took a 6-1 lead in the fifth against Richie Fallows, but the 3/4 seeded Englishman fought back to 9-all, then delightedly claimed a place in the semi-finals courtesy of a lucky winner followed by a final forced error from his opponent.
“It was a really tight game which almost slipped away from me,” said Fallows. “I think God was on my side today, especially when I think about that backhand shot that went of my frame and helped me win the point at 9 all in the fifth.”
That was only a temporary blip for the Egyptians though, as second seed Karim El Hammany recovered from a game down to beat Kuwait’s Yousef Nizar to set up a semi-final against Fallows.
“Losing the first game was disappointing, but I was still getting into the game,” explained Karim. “I’m that sort of player who gets better as the match progresses.”
Boys’ top seed Fares Dessouki claimed the last semi-final place with a hard-fought win over Diego Elias. The Peruvian fought back strongly to level the match one-all, but Dessouki took the next two games with increasing authority to make it six Egyptian winners on the day.
Boys’ Quarter-Finals: Fares Dessouki (Egy) 3-1 [5/8] Diego Elias (Per) 11/9, 9/11, 11/5, 11/4 (65m)
[5/8] Abdulla Al Tamimi (Qat) 3-0 Lyell Fuller (Eng) 12/10, 11/8, 11/6 (32m)
[5/8] Richie Fallows (Eng) 3-2 [9/16] Mohamed El Gawarhy (Egy ) 7/11, 11/4, 11/13, 11/8, 11/9 (80m)
 Karim El Hammamy (Egy) 3-1 [5/8] Yousif Nizar Saleh (Kuw) ..9/11, 11/5, 11/8, 11/7 (62m)
 Nour El Sherbini (Egy) 3-0 [5/8] Salma Hany Ibrahim (Egy) 11/9, 11/3, 11/6
[3/4] Sabrina Sobhy (Usa) 3-0 [9/16] Habiba Mohamed (Egy) 11/7, 11/7, 11/8 (24m)
[3/4] Yathreb Adel (Egy) 3-0 [5/8] Nele Gilis (Bel) 11/4, 11/5, 11/1 (25m)
[5/8] Mariam Metwally (Egy) 3-2  Nouran Gohar (Egy) 7/11, 11/7, 11/5, 11/13, 11/8 (74m)
Here to stay: don’t think the Egyptian girls are going away any time soon – here’s the ages of today’s six quarter-finalists, all of whom have at least one more world juniors to play:
Sherbini 17, Mohamed 14, Metwally 16, Hany 16, Adel 17, Gohar 15