Aifa so close but it’s two all-Egyptian finals in KL
The finals of the 2019 WSF World Juniors in Kuala Lumpur will be all-Egyptian affairs – for the second year in a row – after a dramatic semi-finals day at the National Squash Centre in Kuala Lumpur.
The first match featured home favourite Aifa Azman takin on second seed Jana Shiha, both looking to reach their first WJ finals. The Egyptian started well, taking a 9-4 lead in the first but Aifa fought back to earn a game ball and took the lead on her second, 12-10. Jana squandered two game balls in the second before levelling 12-10, but it was all Aifa in the third as she regained the lead.
A dramatic fourth saw Aifa have match balls at 10-9, 11-10 and 12-11 but Jana survived them all, levelling the match again on her first opportunity 14-12. The Egyptian led through the decider and clinched the place in the final on her first match ball 11-7.
Another five-setter followed, and all-Egyptian one as 3/4 seed Mostafa Elserty overcame second seed Omar El Torkey, taking the lead then coming from one-two down to hand Omar his second WJ semi-final defeat in a row.
Women’s top seed Hania El Hammany, the world #15, made it through to her third WJ final in a row losing in 2017 and 2018 to Rowan Elaraby who turned 19 on 29th June – as she overcame a determined effort from 3/4 seed Farida Mohamed – sister of 2014 champion Habiba – taking the match in four games to set up a repeat of this year’s British Junior Open final against Jana.
Defending men’s champion Mostafa Asal, already a force in the senior scene and in the world’s top 30, ended the run of unseeded Englishman Lewis Anderson in straight games. Asal was just too powerful for the first unseeded player to make the semis in 15 years, but in a nice touch raised his opponent’s hand to the crowd at the end of the match.
The losing semifinalists all receive Bronze medals, while four Eyptians will battle it out for Gold and Silver from 18.00 tomorrow.
First up it’s home favourite Aifa Azman taking on second seed Jana Shiha. Aifa won their previous two encounters – at the British Junior Open at U13 and U17 levels, but Jana progressed further in this year’s BJO U19. Aifa will certainly enjoy the bulk of the support as both aim to reach their first WJ final.
The first Men’s match is an all-Egyptian affair with second seed Omar El Torkey, appearing in his second successive semi-final, facing Mostafa El Serty. The pair met in the 2016 BLU U15 semi with Omar taking the win.
Hania El Hammamy will be playing in her fourth WJ semi-final in a row, and aiming to reach a third final in a row as the Egyptian top seed takes on compatriot Farida Mohamed – younger sister of 2014 WJ Champion Habiba.
Finally defending Men’s champion Mostafa Asal is the latest obstacle in the way of giant-killing Englishman Lewis Anderson. It would be a big shock if Anderson – the first unseeded semi-finalist for 15 years – should bring an end to Asal’s junior career a match earlier than expected, but with three seeds already in his wake Anderson is clearly not likely to be overawed.
Meanwhile, Plate matches continue from 11.00 to 17.00 – details on the Draws page.