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Two wins and you're world champion
It's getting down to the nitty gritty now, and it's almost as
much about how players handle the pressure as how well they
First up is local favourite Dipika Pallikal, aiming to
become India's first-ever squash world champion. She starts
favourite, of course, but Nour El Tayeb is a tenacious
fighter and she'll leave nothing behind on that glass court, you
can be sure of that.
Then it's the defending champion Mohamed El Shorbagy
against his boyhood friend and longtime rival Andrew Wagih.
Mohamed senses history, but Andrew thinks it's his turn. Should
be a cracker.
The most surprising semi-final is next. No-one would have
predicted Maria Toor Pakay to reach this stage, but she's
played well and taken every opportunity presented to her. Quite
a few were predicting Nour El Sherbini to to do well, but
a world semi-final at 13 is a real test of nerves.
Finally it's second seed Ivan Yuen against Aurangzeb
Mehmund. Ivan has got here relatively untroubled, while
Aurangzeb has survived two marathons. He's a fighter for sure,
but has he got the legs ...
Nour El Tayeb (Egy) bt  Dipika Pallikal (Ind)
11/6, 8/11, 11/8, 11/7 (33m)
Tayeb terminates Indian dream
They came to see an Indian progress to within one match of a
world title, they saw a performance from an Egyptian who
wouldn't be beaten.
Dipika Pallikal has a bit of an all-or-nothing game, she has
some dazzling winners but errors go hand in hand with that
approach. Nour El Tayeb makes few unforced errors, and lets
nothing go, making for a fascinating class of styles.
Nour made the better start, taking an early lead in the first,
and started to catch Dipika out with boasts at the front as she
took the lead. The tables were turned in the second as Dipika
stayed a couple of points throughout. By this time Nour had
dived headlong three times, more were to come in the next two
The third was nip and tuck
to 4-all, Nour opened out to 8-4, Dipika levelled, but the
Egyptian came again to claim the next three points and the lead
(that game's on video, coming soon).
With the wind in her sails, Nour was quickly 5-0 up in the
fourth and the Indian challenge was faltering as Dipika found
the tin too many times. With the crowd urging her on she pulled
it back to 5-7 with some frantic, exciting rallies.
It was only a temporary reprieve though. Nour moved to 10-5, hit
the tin twice, but then the Egyptian camp erupted in joy as
Dipika hit the tin one last time.
was trying to keep the ball off her forehand, she’s so strong
there she can kill the ball at will, my coach devised a plan for
the match and I stuck to it as much as I could.
“I’ve spent the last six months thinking of this semi-final, but
on the bus on the way here I didn’t believe I could win it. I
didn’t think about winning until I got to match ball, I remember
Heba being so far ahead yesterday and not winning.
“I don’t know how I feel now, to beat Dipika, here in India,
it’s such a feeling. I’m in the world final …”
The Coach's plan ...
Mohamed El Shorbagy (Egy)
 Andrew Wagih
11/9, 11/6 (37m)
Shorbagy stays on course
Few problems for the top seed in the Boys' event, and defending
champion Mohamed El Shorbagy beat compatriot Andrew Wagih in a
convincing three time.
Shorbagy was in the lead an in control pretty much throughout
the match, only when a couple of tins let Andrew get back to
9-all in the second was there any real sense of danger.
tins from Andrew put paid to his chances of completing that
comeback, and when Shorbagy went quickly out to 4-2, then 8-2 in
the third, the writing was on the wall.
Such was Shorbagy's confidence in that third that he twice
over-ruled the referee who had called Andrews shots not up to
play a let, and at 9-6 told the referee that he should have
awarded a stroke to Andrew, rather than a let (although this
time he didn't go as far as to give away the point!).
played very well today. In all the matches so far I’ve been
playing the player and the pressure, and haven’t been able to
cope with both at the same time.
“Today I played the pressure and the player and beat both of
them. My concentration didn’t drop at all, except for a short
spell at 6-3 in the second, but you can’t expect to keep full
concentration for a whole match, one small lapse is acceptable.
“I was really nervous before the match, but I talked to my mum
and she made me so relaxed, she’s amazing.
“I’ve watched Ivan playing this week, he’s playing very well, it
should be a harder match than the British, and that was pretty
Nour El Sherbini (Egy) bt  Maria Toor Pakay (Pak)
11/6, 11/6 (20m)
Sherbini sets up all-Egyptian final
Maria Toor Pakay may have been seeded higher, but no-one was in
doubt about who was the favourite for this encounter. Maria had
been able to outpower another young Egyptian, Kanzy El Defrway,
in the quarter-finals, but young Sherbini was a different
said that, Maria played well, recovering from 7-3 down to level
the first at 8-all, but Sherbini plays those volleys so well and
she used them to good effect to close out the game.
Nour was well on top from the start of the second, opening up a
9-2 lead. To Maria's credit she hung in there, but the gap was
just too great to make up.
The Pakistani led the third, 4-2 and 5-3, but again Sherbini's
ability to put the loose ball away began to pay dividends. From
6-all she eased ahead, pouncing on a loose shot to bring up
match ball, the crunching a drive into the corner to finish the
There were no wild celebration in the Egyptian camp this time,
they fully expected to win this one, and they probably expect to
win the next one too ...
didn’t feel any pressure going into this match, even though it
was quite different from yesterday’s. I was just trying to keep
the ball tight to the back, and put in dropshots when it was
loose, and I think I played to that plan well.
“I’ve played Nour a few times already, and won most of them, but
tomorrow will be different, it’s a final and we’ll both be
trying our best to win.”
 Ivan Yuen (Mas)
bt Aurangzeb Mehmund (Pak)
11/6, 11/9, 11/3 (28m)
Mehmund runs out of steam
spending over 160 minutes on court in his previous two matches,
it was a big ask of Aurangzeb Mehmund to beat Ivan
Yuen, the Malaysian second seed who has been playing well
Ivan carried on where he left off yesterday, playing smooth,
error-free squash, not going for anything flashy, and quickly
got on top.
An early lead was held throughout the first game, the second was
closer with Aurangzeb staying in touch up to 8-all, but two
errors put that game out of reach as Ivan's lead doubled.
2-all in the third Ivan won three tough rallies, and at 5-3
Aurangzeb missed an easy dropshot. He raised his eyes
heavenward, and his body language told us all that the game was
The next five points were barely contested, and Malaysia had its
first world finalist since Nicol David.
feel I’m playing pretty well. I hadn’t played him before, so I
had to just try to keep it steady and see what happened. I’m so
very glad I played well here, it was a nice feeling when he
stopped in the middle of the third.
“I’ve been thinking about this final for a while, so it’s nice
to actually get there. I hope I play as well tomorrow and we
have a good final …”