07-13 May, Egypt,
 Rachael Grinham (Aus) bt  Omneya Abdel Kawy (Egy)
9/4, 9/6, 9/4 (44m)
A musical prelude ...
reports from the Red Sea
Last night the town of Hurghada teemed with literally tens of
thousands of people thronging the central square and surrounding
areas to listen to a pop concert staged there. Headed by
Tamer Hosany; young, apparently fanciable and certainly
famous in these parts, it was fiesta time.
Now after the night off the carnival moved to the Promenade for
the denouement of the Hurghada International. A smaller
attendance than the concert, but full and festive, and hoping
for a home victory by Omneya Abdel Kawy over Rachael
Of course they had contested the last three finals so nothing
new here. Indeed Grinham had played the 2003 one too, going down
to Carol Owens.
An intro game to be played first. Karim Darwish had been
present to support fiancé Engy Kheirallah, but now he was joined
by Ramy Ashour to play a best of three before the final.
Ashour, the hottest property on the men's tour, a warm-up act!
It will certainly have made the two finalists feel even more
important - as if live national TV was not already doing so.
"It was a real
relief. I was just happy to have played well and to have been
really focused. If anything it was better than yesterday.
"Sometimes it has been a bit disappointing to come off court
recently knowing I could have played a bit better but didn't.
"I wasn't confident coming into the event but I played well
against Engy and carried it forward tonight. The mental thing is
very important when you are playing a top player."
"She was too fast
and getting everything today and not making mistakes. I couldn't
find my game and even when I played okay she was getting
"When you want something really badly it can turn the other way
like for me today.
"I was so tired at the end, even with the crowd trying to help
me I couldn't do anything."
Not the first time ...
With the two semi final pairings and their outcomes mirroring
last year these two make a compelling case for playing the final
on the first day and working backwards to reach the possible
surprises and upsets at the end!
But the outcome here tonight was anything but certain. Grinham
had won their first two final meetings; Abdel Kawy raced into a
2/0 lead last year before being pegged back and getting home in
the deciding game of a pulsating final. Everybody, not least the
hosting Sindbad Hotel staff, had a view on who would win. Media,
officials and referees tended very marginally towards Grinham,
but the hotel group despite only the haziest idea about squash
were not surprisingly very solid behind the Egyptian.
The difference this year has been the increased expectation on
the 21 year old from Cairo. She was going into the final as
holder and would welcome the catharsis of a victory. And perhaps
Grinham was already through her recent dip when self-doubt was a
little more to the fore. She had certainly been relaxed enough,
comfortable with the heat, the lively conditions and the crowd
behind her foe.
As rackets were spun a loud shout of ‘Rachael, you are the best’
in a distinctly non-Egyptian accent brought smiles from both
players and a raucous response from the hundreds who outnumbered
The Main Match ...
The early exchanges saw Grinham patient and Abdel Kawy looking
for opportunities to volley. The quiet, punctuated by babies
crying (which may have been a local fad in ringtones instead)
told a story. Grinham was building an early lead. The home
volume rose as Abdel Kawy slotted away a few nifty volleys to
move into a 4/3 lead.
By the normally adventurous standards of both players, the
rallying was more restrained, though not to the point of
negativity. This suited the Australian as she had her eye in and
was pressuring her opponent into missing by small margins. Just
down, very slightly out, Grinham was slowly winning the game in
The top seed decided not to follow the adage of not changing a
winning formula as she started the second driving lower and
allowing the Egyptian, black clad as ever, to get in front more.
She developed a 4/0 lead before Grinham threw the float switch
and moved into lobbing mode; time and time again. The dynamics
were speedily changed as she moved from 0/4 down to 8/4 up,
again in one hand. While there was a recovery of sorts it was
not a comeback and another drifting ball could only be scraped
back by Abdel Kawy to allow Grinham to go two games up with the
easiest of short kills.
We were now at the reverse of the first two games from the final
twelve months ago. But this time there would be no comeback.
Chanting of her name welcomed the Egyptian number one back onto
the court, and the cheers seemed to buoy her as winners were
slotted home and another early lead achieved. Four love again.
The same Australian climb as more errors found their way into
the Egyptian’s repertoire. Back to four all again. Now the
stands resonated with encouraging chanting for their girl.
Grinham’s single voluble supporter was silent but as in the
previous games the momentum had shifted decisively.
Grinham reached match ball, and took the title on the second
with a drop played with her opponent pinned behind.
A flamboyant ending ...
Formal tribute was made to Mr Ibrahim Hegazy, Chief
Editor of Al Ahram Sports Weekly and driving force behind the
enduring event before Tamer Hosany was smuggled into view to
He serenaded the players and crowd before leading his fans along
the Promenade singing all the way like a pied piper.
A flamboyant end to an enervating week.
 Rachael Grinham (Aus) bt  Engy Kheirallah (Egy)
9/2, 9/7, 3/9, 9/2 (67m)
 Omneya Abdel Kawy (Egy) bt  Raneem El Weleily (Egy)
9/7, 9/2, 9/3 (28m)
It's Rachael & Omneya again ...
WISPA reports from the Red Sea
A 35c day made the conditions a little more equable as evening
became night (though quite when one actually turns into the
other is a mystery!).
As for the semi finals of the Hurghada International being
played on a glass court straddling a promenade which winds down
between hotels and beach, the top four seeds had made it
through, and with three of the quartet being Egyptian the
atmosphere was febrile with anticipation. Especially so because
many pundits expected Raneem El Weleily to really challenge
second seed Omneya Abdel Kawy.
Five finals for Rachael
But first the interloper. Rachael Grinham, top seed,
finalist for the last four years and twice winner in that time.
The spectators are never quite sure how to deal with her. They
like her deceptive style and the fact that she has made Cairo
her home for six years; but she is also a threat to Egyptian
success so reaction is respectful and polite rather than
Opponent Engy Kheirallah would get all the support, and
would need the bolstering as she had not been at her best in the
preceding two nights. There is a fine line between being on song
and not quite in the zone. She would need to cross it to match
her Shorouk City based opponent.
However, although Kheirallah had lost to Grinham in all their
five WISPA Tour matches, the last two had gone to a decider.
She also had the boost of a recent final win in the Egyptian
Nationals over Abdel Kawy and a domestic league victory over
And Grinham herself has suffered a little in the confidence
department as she was overtaken by Nicol David and sister
Natalie in the WISPA rankings since sitting atop for sixteen
months during 2004 / 5
Both players signalled much the same intent with an initially
cautious approach. Showing restraint, generally being patient.
Jockeying led to occasional openings – which were more regularly
taken by Grinham, and with them the first game.
The ministrations of the Kheirallah camp headed by National
Coach Amir Wagih seemed to instil great purpose in their player.
The second was altogether more competitive with improved length
from the Egyptian, A 5/3 lead was established before the
diminutive Aussie pegged her back with a couple of backhand
holds. Rallies became straighter, defending more staunch. The
avocado topped Egyptian missed a drop to give away a game ball,
converted with a feathered boast.
Wagih and Karim Darwish were animatedly conversing on the
Kheirallah bench, newly arrived Maha Zein cajoling Grinham.
While it appeared that continued focus would see Grinham
through, some mid game errors in the third said otherwise.
Fragile confidence or just a blip? Either way Kheirallah seized
the chance and pressed home the advantage as she covered
Grinham’s increasingly and injudiciously employed short game
with more élan.
The game was won, the stands erupted; chanting the Egyptian’s
name in song. The forment was more soccer than squash.
But that was the only high point for the third seed as Grinham
recovered to better balance attack and defence and keep a
greater level of rally control. This enabled her to close out
the match and reach her fifth Hurghada final in as many years.
She was clearly relieved to get home in four games, commenting
‘I always have tough games with Engy these days. But today I
felt comfortable on the court, it wasn't too hot and I was
Omneya stamps her authority
Now the stage was clear for the young queen and younger
pretender to battle for the other final berth.
Both seem to have trod the same road. Omneya Abdel Kawy a
squash prodigy who won a World Junior title. Raneem El
Weleily the current holder; and indeed favoured to retain it
Yesterday twenty one year old Abdel Kawy talked about the
pressure stemming from having won the Hurghada title last year,
but is still in the mix. El Weleily had showed increasing
maturity of performance during the week, impressing with her
Could the queen be dethroned?
Every seat was taken, every health and safety rule violated as
people stood in the aisles and clung to any vantage point they
Who knows what the national live television audience figures
were, but the country as a whole was watching too.
Abdel Kawy had suppressed the El Weleily challenge when they had
been drawn together in the Qatar Classic in April, and after a
nervous start from both players she found herself winning with
ease. El Weleily bustled but unlike her quarter final strung
together clutches of loose shots. Some went down, others offered
openings for Abdel Kawy. There was a recovery from 7/3 down for
the 18 year old Alexandrian but after she squandered a chance to
go ahead at seven all the momentum dissipated and never
Although it is a matter for another forum, it appears that there
is no word to describe a person from Cairo as there is for
Alexandria and most cities in the world.
a local and they will say that you call somebody from Cairo an
Egyptian as that is what they are! So we are left to report that
the Cairo player was through. The match straightforward, and
somewhat disappointing after the anticipation of a real battle,
Abdel Kawy was not complaining.
Having been concerned about the pressure of expectation it was
somewhat appropriate though weird too, that the Gloria Gaynor hit
of a few decades back, I Will Survive, was playing sung in Arabic
as Abdel Kawy left the arena. She had.
Both winners have ample recovery and preparation time as Saturday
sees a street music festival in Hurghada and so a squash rest day.
The last three Hurghada finals between the pair have been
pulsating affairs and it is likely that Sunday success awaits the
strongest mind as well as body in the glass box on the Hurghada
 Rachael Grinham (Aus) bt Lauren Siddall (Eng)
9/2, 9/3, 9/3 (32m)
 Engy Kheirallah (Egy) bt  Sarah Kippax (Eng)
5/9, 9/5, 9/5, 9/7 (64m)
 Raneem El Weleily (Egy) bt Elise Ng (Hkg)
9/0, 9/1, 9/2 (21m)
 Omneya Abdel Kawy (Egy) bt  Christina Mak (Hkg)
9/0, 9/2, 9/1 (22m)
Top Four in Hurghada Semis
WISPA reports from the Red Sea
As thousands of holidaymakers wandered inside after a day in the
sun, the moon and the squash players came out to play.
This is the tenth anniversary for WISPA in Hurghada, and quarter
finals night at the championship tends to be the latest finish
with four matches, all of which could be close. According to the
seedings the pairs from Hong Kong and England would be the fall
guys tonight - and given the ranking disparities with the top
four maybe it would not be such an extended evening on this
was too quick and sliding into the ball. I did not expect that.
"It’s good to play with the higher ranked players even though I
couldn’t do much tonight."
"I tried to work on the weak part of my game, my concentration.
Today I only hit two tins, less than last night. I was steady."
was hot and humid in the court tonight and I didn’t quite play
as well as I could.
"All the crowd were cheering for me and that is a good feeling.
But because I won last year there is a lot of pressure on me to
get do it again. It wasn’t like that in other years.
"Raneem and I have tough matches. She is so talented and fast
and plays shots like me. On a hot court there will be lots and
lots of running!"
thoughts about regaining the title are still a long way away.
For now it is about dealing with the heat.
"It breaks your concentration as you stop and think how hot it
could have played a bit better but she played really well. Her
game has improved a lot.
"I needed to be 100% focused but got nervous in patches and lost
concentration. It was hot and not easy and I am really happy to
have got away with it."
"I started well, quite fast and forced some errors. Then I tried
to move her around, but with the heat it was bouncy and not easy
to control the ball.
"But it is the best I have played on glass. And the crowd were
great. They really got involved even though they were not for
Raneem in three
In the first match fourth seed Raneem El Weleily gave
away eight years to opponent Elise Ng (herself only 26),
but did not fritter away points as she reined in her
characteristically adventurous approach, taking the three games
required to reach the last four. Looking languid at times she
used her explosive pace to stay in so many rallies and a deft
shot to win them in a nearly error free performance.
Like her countrywoman Omneya Abdel Kawy before her, Raneem looks
well placed to become another two time World junior champion
when the event takes place in Ng’s country of Hong Kong in
Talking of Abdel Kawy and of Hong Kong, the same nationalities
were paired in the next match. Clearly the expansive crowd
thought they needed to do more than just watch, applaud, chatter
and give their ring tones an airing. The chant of Om-Neya,
Om-Neya was never too far away as their darling made progress.
Rehearsals were under way for the final where last year they
carried her to victory over Rachael Grinham.
Abdel Kawy is deceptively fast, her racket skills sublime and
the 21 year old is poised to edge higher than her current career
high ranking of seven. If all WISPA Tour events took place in
Egypt her supporters would chant her into the top five.
Once she settled Christina Mak scuttled around the court trying
to stretch Abdel Kawy, and although extra court time rather than
points resulted, reaching the quarters had meant a good week for
her, but still ... Egypt 2, Asia 0.
Grinham too wily for Siddall
Next to play was Rachael Grinham. She too was giving away eight
years, and at least that in inches to Lauren Siddall. The 22
year old from the squash hotbed of Pontefract is slowly rising
up the rankings having completed a sports science degree last
year. She has won a WISPA Tour title this year, the Norwegian
Open, but that still leaves her twenty one adrift of Grinham.
And as she hadn’t played the former world number one before,
game though she was, it was a little like a rabbit caught in the
headlights as the delay, feints, elevation and control made life
worrisome. Too often the Grinham hold caused her to bound off in
the wrong direction.
Like the two Hong Kong girls before, once she became used to the
increased humidity which accompanied the heat for the first time
this week she began to trade rallies better and exchange hands
too. But it was too little too late.
Engy ... Engy ... Engy
The final match saw Sarah Kippax hoping for a 24th birthday
treat but instead getting a going home gift. She was sent
packing by Engy Kheirallah to set up a semi final for herself
But this was hard work for the Alexandrian. Last night she had
appeared subdued in performance, tonight was more of the same -
lacklustre and edgy would have described it succinctly. The
third seed, encouraged by the crowd and seconded by fiancée
Karim Darwish was unable to comfortably despatch the English
The first game saw the athletic Kippax on the attack and making
it difficult for Kheirallah to get in front of her. The crowd
were hushed as their girl exited the court one game down. But
her team got her lifting the ball more in the second and Kippax
found herself playing the same game. This was not a wise riposte
and the game drifted away.
The third was characterised by the Egyptian looking a little
jaded, not getting a good length and giving Kippax enough
confidence to hang in. The English girl was playing well,
boasting to move her opponent around and generally matching
Kheirallah. However, she could not quite equal her at the
business end of the game and to the palpable relief of the
spectators Kheirallah was in front.
Things were more fraught in the fourth as Kippax maintained a
strong push towards levelling while Kheirallah was not at ease.
But again, she raised herself for the big points and toppled
over the finishing line and into a semi against top seed
So, the big guns are left, but which ones will fire in the
Hurghada International semis? The packed stands and live
national TV will wait and see ...
Round Part Two
 Rachael Grinham (Aus) bt [Q] Salma Shabana (Egy)
9/7, 9/1, 9/3 (27m)
Lauren Siddall (Eng) bt  Joshna Chinappa (Ind)
9/7, 9/2, 9/4 (29m)
 Engy Kheirallah (Egy) bt [Q] Dipika Pallikal (Ind)
9/1, 9/2, 9/4 (24m)
Elise Ng (Hkg) bt  Tricia Chuah (Mas)
5/9, 1/9, 9/5, 10/8, 9/1 (56m)
Cities compete in Hurghada
WISPA reports from the
While Cairo and Alexandria drew three all in the
most cities of players competing in the Hurghada International,
the next group on featuredtwo from Kuala Lumpur, Hong
Kong and Chennai. The first two might have been
reasonably expected, but two players from India, never mind from
one city, is a new phenomenon.
Joshna Chinappa, seeded eight here, has been moving
forward since reaching the final of the World Junior
Championship nearly two years ago, but the new kid on the
sub-continental block is Dipika Pallikal.
While her potential is undoubted, having made the main draw she
was drawn against third seed Engy Kheirallah, and so had limited
opportunity to show it. The salient point is that she is aged
just fifteen, so like Nour El Tayeb yesterday, she is gaining
experience just competing at the Red Sea resort.
Could we be looking at two front-runners for the World Juniors
"I was thinking
about more length. I just wanted to try to play my game because
Tricia had started really well."
"I was very
nervous at the beginning playing on the glass court, but the fun
of everybody cheering for Engy let me enjoy it and I went for
"She came out
pretty quickly but at 7/2 down I hit a couple of lucky shots
that gave me confidence. Actually, I like glass courts in
general as they give me time and the chance to see the ball."
Ng comeback takes out Tricia
But first on court was an all- Asian affair. Hong Kong v
Malaysia. Elise Ng v Tricia Chuah. One thing in common,
both are currently Netherlands based while they pursue
excellence with the help of their national federations.
The Malaysian fifth seed started clinically and simply continued
hitting the ball at just the right pace to discomfit Ng, who was
prone to over hit in the balmy evening air. Slowly though, Ng
was adjusting ... and slowly the match got closer. The winner of
the Hellendoorn Open last month was beginning to relax and
improved as she did so.
Fewer errors and greater variety to accompany the better length
allowed the slight girl from Hong Kong to win the third, and
although Chuah went 6/3 up in the fourth her steadiness was not
quite enough to take her to a match ball. Ng took the game at
the second time of asking and was now rampant.
Moving well, producing wrong footing winners, she soared away to
an 8/1 deciding game lead and ended with a backhand long drop
flourish to join compatriot Christina Mak in the quarters.
Engy despatches Dipika
Full stands had watched this match with quiet interest. But that
all changed when the name of an Egyptian player was heard from
the lips of the announcer. Engy Kheirallah was bidding
for a quarter final place with the aforementioned Pallikal in
what was expected to be a gentle opener.
It was. With the evening court time good for the Alexandrian, as
was the experience for the young Chenite.
Kheirallah put in a subdued performance but was comprehensively
in control even when Pallikal settled her nerves and started to
The Indian has one more month based in Cairo under the tutelage
of Egyptian Mohamed Hafiz, having spent six months so far, with
breaks to return home for school exams.
Siddall sacks Chinappa
The third match of the evening saw the other half of the Chennai
challenge take to the court. Eighth seed Joshna Chinappa
took on England’s Lauren Siddall, ranked only 15 slots
below her at 56.
The portents were for a close match and while the first game
was, after Siddall clawed back Chinappa’s 7/2 lead, the fizz
slowly leaked out of the Indian’s game. Siddall, patriotically
clad in the red and white of England, reached her first WISPA
Silver quarter final.
Rachael sends Salma packing
The English girl now plays world number three Rachael Grinham.
The Australian found Salma Shabana on song in the first
game, but once the sting was drawn the match was effectively
over. She and her family will get back in the car for the return
run to Cairo, hoping not to break down as they did on the way
down across the desert.
The home country is down to three –
well, three and a half if you count Grinham, who has lived near
Cairo for several years. And since they make up the top four
seeds it looks like the duos from Hong Kong and England will
have their work cut out in the Hurghada International quarter
Round Part One:
her Hurghada defence
WISPA reports from the Red Sea
A little on the warm
side, but then that's Hurghada for you. A daytime where the
temperature was a mild 38c! As the sunshine finished its shift
half of the main draw of the Hurghada International would get
underway at the Egyptian Red Sea resort, but not before the
cameras of national TV focussed on an opening ceremony featuring
a large troupe of dancers dressed in Galabeya, the traditional
Egyptian clothing and headcovers.
It was only when the announcer enquired where the players were
that the WISPA group revealed themselves as part of the group!
Siddall and Stoker
Omneya takes advice
Kippax & Arnold
Mak quietens the crowd
The large crowd came to life from the off as Alexandria's
Amnah El Trabolsy went 7/0 up in the first against Hong
Kong's Christina Mak; but it was soon quietened as
seventh seed Mak settled in, climbed and overtook her opponent.
While El Trabolsy is way better than her 88 WISPA ranking while
in the last throes of her industrial engineering degree, Mak is
well worth her 34 and seemed to have enough in hand to win in
three having taken the second.
But the bronze medallist in the Asian Games last December
allowed the Egyptian the chance to use her splendid racketwork
as she faltered towards the end of the third.
The wobble turned into a crisis when the fourth was lost too as
she failed to pin El Trabolsy in the back; but while Mak was
still not getting as good a length and width as she would have
liked in the decider she created enough openings to reach match
ball at 8/2. A carefree last stand brought El Trabolsy back to
6/8 but was beaten when two steady rallies saw Mak home.
Mak had needed 55 minutes to subdue her opponent, whereas holder
Omneya Abdel Kawy completed the first stage of her title
defence in about a third of the time in a battle of two 21 year
Opponent Georgina Stoker spent a good deal of time
rallying well without getting a point to her name. It was well
into the second before it was notched – and it was likely that
there would be few more gained. Game though she was, the English
girl was despatched cheaply.
End of the line for El Tayeb
same fate seemed likely for Nour El Tayeb, surprise
package of the qualification, and at only just fourteen years of
age the youngest member of the draw. Her opponent was Raneem
El Weleily, the current World Junior Champion who will
defend her title in Hong Kong in a couple of months.
Having reached Hurghada El Tayeb was excited rather than fazed
by her first match on a glass court. And while El Weleily
comfortably won, the potential of her opponent was clear to see.
It was akin to watching Abdel Kawy and El Weleily themselves a
few years ago; knowing that there was something special
beginning to blossom.
Overblown talk? Not if the comments of El Weleily herself count
for anything. “I was in Nour’s place four years ago and I wasn't
as good as she is today. You need time to get used to the glass
and the place but she really took to it well,” she said.
Before leaving back to Cairo to face some school exams El Tayeb
maturely reported “It was an enjoyable match, and although she
was too good for me I managed to fight and had some good points.
It was a good experience for me,” she added.
Kippax in control
In the last match of the evening sixth seed Sarah Kippax
booked her place in Thursday's quarter finals by holding steady
when Delia Arnold threatened to take the second game.
Arnold looked lively and comfortable, but England's Kippax has
continued to edge towards the top thirty on the back of a solid
game and just had a little too much control for the Malaysian.
The remainder of the first round will take to the glass on the
Promenade and sees what is certainly the first time two Indians
have featured in the main draw of a WISPA Silver, the other half
of the Hong Kong and Malaysian double acts, a Brit and a couple
of home players together with a foreigner who calls Egypt home
07 - 13 May, Egypt, $21k
| Rachel Grinham (Aus)
9/7, 9/1, 9/3 (27m)
[Q] Salma Shabana (Egy)
9/2, 9/3, 9/3 (32m)
| Joshna Chinappa (Ind)
9/7, 9/2, 9/4 (29m)
Lauren Siddall (Eng)
| Engy Kheirallah (Egy)
9/1, 9/2, 9/4 (24m)
[Q] Dipika Pallikal (Ind)
5/9, 9/5, 9/5, 9/7 (64m)
| Sarah Kippax (Eng)
9/4, 9/7, 9/5 (39m)
Delia Arnold (Mas)
|Elise Ng (Hkg)
5/9, 1/9, 9/5, 10/8, 9/1 (56m)
 Tricia Chuah (Mas)
9/0, 9/1, 9/2 (21m)
Omneya Abdel Kawy
|[Q] Nour El Tayeb (Egy)
9/2, 9/4, 9/3, (27m)
 Raneem El Weleily (Egy)
[Q] Amnah El Trabolsy (Egy)
9/7, 9/4, 6/9, 3/9, 9/6 (55m)
 Christina Mak (Hkg)
9/0, 9/2, 9/1 (22m)
Omneya Abdel Kawy
|Georgina Stoker (Eng)
9/0, 9/1, 9/2 (19m)
 Omneya Abdel Kawy (Egy)
Salma Shabana (Egy) bt Farah Abdel Meguid (Egy)
10/8, 9/4, 9/0 (23m)
Dipika Pallikal (Ind) bt Farida El Dahab (Egy)
9/4, 9/6, 9/6 ((27m)
Nour El Tayeb (Egy) bt Sara El Noamany (Egy)
3/9, 9/0, 9/2, 9/1 (29m)
Amnah El Trabolsey (Egy) bt Salma Nassar (Egy)
9/0, 9/1, 9/6 (23m)
Salma Shabana (Egy)
Farah Abdel Meguid (Egy) bt Nihal Bayoumy (Egy)
9/6, 9/0, 9/5 (31m)
Farida El Dahab (Egy) bt Eman El Amir (Egy)
Dipika Pallikal (Ind) bt Zena Sameh Makarem (Egy)
9/0, 9/2, 9/3 (20m)
Sara El Noamany (Egy) bt Nour Bahgat (Egy)
Nour El Tayeb (Egy) bt Lauren Selby (Eng)
9/5, 10/9, 9/1 (41m)
Salma Nassar (Egy) bt Farida Sherif Amin (Egy)
9/0, 9/6, 9/2 (33m)
Amnah El Trabolsey (Egy) bt Merehan Amr (Egy)
Egypt dominates Cairo
reports from Egypt
Fourteen year old Nour El Tayeb caused the upset of the
Hurghada International qualification, beating third seed Lauren
Selby in straight games.
One of the latest products to emerge from the Egyptian junior
production line then look advantage of the ankle injury
sustained by sixth seed Nour Baghat to claim her place in the
main draw by beating her walkover beneficiary Sara El Noamany.
Another injury victim was fourth seed Eman El Amir who arrived
at the Cairo Stadium on crutches having fallen over two days ago
and now requires knee surgery. Her absence eased the way for
fifth seed Dipika Pallikal, the Indian being well versed
with Cairo as she splits her time studying and training in the
city along with her Indian home.
One of the other two places was comfortably snaffled by top seed
Salma Shabana, a quarter finalist last year even though she
restricts her playing as a mother of two. The other went to
Amnah El Trabolsey, another top flight Egyptian player whose
schedule has been curtailed - in her case by the final stages of
an industrial engineering degree.
These players now leave the sprawl of Cairo for the sparkling
waters of the Red Sea resort of Hurghada to join the rest of the
main draw of the Hurghada International to again be played on an
all glass court set on the promenade there.
Magdi Saad coaches
Nour El Tayeb