Orfi comes back again to claim the title
After an even opening to the match with Orfi leading the first 8-7, Salma’s more varied game took control as she took the lead 11-9, raced through the second 11-1 and at 5-2 in the third the title looked to be hers to lose.
Although Salma didn’t look to be tiring, the momentum switched dramatically as Amina’s relentless hard hitting style began to dominate. She powered through to take the third 11-6, the fourth 11-3 and from 5-5 in the fifth put in a winning burst to take the title 11-7 in exactly an hour.
At fourteen Amina is the youngest winner since Nour El Sherbini who won the 2009 edition at the age of 13.
“I feel so happy, I didn’t know what to expect as I didn’t play a single U19 tournament this year, I was playing completely new competitors.
“I’m grateful to my dad, today he managed to stay calm, even if sometimes he gets angry, and he was a great help. I want to dedicate this title to my mum and my sister in Cairo, they were so tense I’m sure, even if they were not the one playing!
“Also, my coach back in Cairo, and also the national team coach, who helped us getting prepared in the first three days here.”
Damming is the first Dutch champion
The men’s final was the first all-European one for 20 years as England’s Finnlay Withington and Netherlands’ Rowan Damming locked horns in a repeat of their European U19 final this April. That title went to Withington, but today there was no stopping Damming as the 17-year-old Dutchman prevailed in straight games.
After an even first few points Damming raced away to take the lead 11-4, then got the better of a tight finish to a close second game, doubling his advantage 12-10. Withington looked to be struggling physically towards the end of that game, and it was the Dutchman who maintained the momentum as he went 9-4 up in the third.
Withington pulled a few points back, but from 9-8 Damming took the final two points to clinch the title and become the first ever Dutch World Junior Champion.
“It feels amazing! I’m just so happy to win this title, I don’t know what to say! I watched some videos and changed some thing, particularly making less errors on the backhand and I thought that was the difference in today’s match.”
Both top seeds were sensationally beaten as the World Junior finalists were decided in Nancy, France.
Finn finds the answer to Hamza
Withington was in total control in the first, and took an early lead in the second before a series of errors allowed Khan back in. Withington just about held on to go two games up, but the momentum was with Khan now and the top seed dominated the third and led for most of a closer fourth.
Withington played three strong rallies to go 10-8 up, but found the tin on both match balls – and again at 11-10 – before Khan took the next three points to set up a decider.
“It was a good match, Hamza’s a great player for his age. I was a bit nervous but affter the first I felt good. I knew he’d come out firing, which he did, but I managed to hang on and was glad to close it out in the fifth.”
Salma topples top seed Kenzy
First up was one of two all-Egyptian women’s semis as top seed Kenzy Ayman met 5/8 seed Salma El Tayeb. El Tayeb was on top in the first game, and took an early lead in the second before Ayman fought back to level the match.
A 6-0 start in the third was enough for El Tayeb to hold off another Ayman comeback and retake the lead, and the underdog kept ahead through the fourth to claim a place in the final 11-9, 7-11, 11-7, 11-6 .
“I’m overwhelmed! I’ve been playing well but to beat the number one seed is great. I’ll rest up and get ready for the final, my aim is to win the tournament.”
Orfi comeback denies Abouelkheir
Fayrouz Abouelkheir had egded the first two games both 11-9, but Orfi stormed back to go 10-4 up in the third, taking it 11-9, and racing through the fourth 11-2.
The fifth was close all the way and at 8-8 it was anyone’s. Orfi moved to 10-8, Abouelkheir saved both of those but couldn’t do it on the third attempt as the 15-year-old took it 12-10 to go through to the final.
“In the previous match I saw Hamza go two down and it went to the fifth, so I knew anything could happen. At two nil down I just said I’m going to give my all to win this match, and when I got to the fifth I just thought let’s see what happens.”
Damming dashes Zakaria hopes
Rowan Damming came through a nailbiting final match of the day to end the run of 14-year-old Egyptian Mohamed Zakaria. Well down in the early stages of the first, Zakaria celebrated as he took the lead 13-11.
Damming, having squandered two game balls, fought back to edge the second 17-15 on his third game ball, but only needed one match ball as he completed the match 11-8, 11-8 to become the first Dutch player to reach the World Junior final.
“I love the crowd, so many people were so nice, especially Dutch people!
“And I would like to thank my coach who made it all possible, getting to the final or maybe win the championship …”
Quarters : Zakaria ends Nicolas run as top seeds tested
Quarter-finals day in Nancy saw the end of some giantkilling runs as players from four nations booked their places in the semi-finals.
“It’s all thanks to my coaches,” said Zakaria. “I’ve trained for a long time for this day and I’ve been waiting for it for a long time. I’m thankful that my hard work paid off. Egypt is the most supportive team ever. To be part of such a prestigious team is a dream. I was so thankful to have them in my corner, cheering every point.”
Top seed Mohammed Hamza Khan was taken the full distance before seeing off Mohamed Nasser and the Pakistan favourite now meets European champion Finnlay Withingthon who won an all-English clash with Sam Osborne-Wylde. Unseeded Colombian Juan Torres Lara finally lost out, in four games to Holland’s 3/4 seed Rowan Damming who now meets Zakaria, the lowest ranked player left.
“Today is Independence Day for Pakistan, so it’s a gift for Pakistan that I won! I hope to do my best,” Khan said. “Even after the second game, I never lost my confidence. I just had to focus on my squash. Today I am so happy, Inshallah I will do my best! I want to thank my coaches, they work very hard for me here and at my squash club, my thanks to all!”
The women’s semis will be all-Egyptian affairs but it was far from plain sailing for top seed Kenzy Ayman, who was twice behind against England’s Saran Nghiem but prevailed despite receiving conduct warnings for coaching and time-wasting in the decider.
Salma El Tayeb produced the upset of the day as the 5/8 seed beat 3/4 seeded Malaysian Aira Azman in straight games, while the other semifinal will be between second seed Amina Orfi and 3/4 Fayrouz Aboulkheir, who ended the run of India’s Anahat Singh.
“It’s fun playing with Aira,” saud El Tayeb. “We’ve been playing since we were 11 years old and it’s always 50/50 and I’m so happy I got the win today. She’s a very good player and I’m so happy with my performance. I’m so excited to be playing Kenzy tomorrow, we’ve played a lot of times in Egypt, so I’m excited to see what it’s going to be like playing outside of Egypt.”
Day THREE : Nicolas ousts second seed for hosts France
While India’s 14-year-old Anahat Shingh stole the headlines in the women’s last sixteen by beating 5/8 seeded BJO Champion Torrie Malik for the only women’s seeding upset so far, France’s Brice Nicolas pulled off the biggest upset as he ousted Pakistan’s second seed Noor Zaman in four games.
Elsewhere in the men’s draw Unseeded Colombian Juan Torres Lara kept his run going to set up a quarter-final against Holland’s Rowan Damming, while Finnlay Withington and Sam Obsorne-Wylde set up an all-English quarter-final. Top seed Mohammed Hamza Khan faces Egypt’s Mohammed Nasser while Nicolas meets Egyptian fellow 9/15 seed Mohamed Zakaria.
Egypt have five women’s quarter-finalists, in top two seeds Kenzy Ayman and Amina Orfi plus Fayrouz Aboulkheir, Salma Eltayab and Malak Khagary. Ayman meets England’s Saran Nghiem, Tayab faces Malayia’s Aira Azman, Aboulkheir meets Singh while Orfi and Khagafi meet in an all-Egyptian matchup.
Day TWO : Lara takes out Torky as Harris escapes
While all sixteen women’s seeds won through to the pre-quarter-finals in Nancy, there was a significant upset in the men’s draw as Colombia’s Juan Torres Lara beat Egyptian 3/4 see Kareem El Torky in five games.
His next opponent will be India’s Krishna Misra who produced the only seeding upset on day one and came through a five-game battle with Usa’s Ted Carney.
England’s Asia Harris had the narrowest escape of the day, coming from two games down and winning the last two games both 12-10.
Day ONE : just the one upset
A busy opening day in Nancy featured two rounds in both draws, and there was just one seeding upset – India’s Krishna Mishra beating 9/16 seed Andrik Lim Shan in the Men’s draw – as the last 32 in each draw was decided.
Top pick of Friday’s matches is women’s second seed Amina Orfi against France’s Lauren Baltayan – the pair both live and train in Cairo and play in local tournaments on a regular basis.