Al-Ahly Semis ]

AL-AHLY OPEN  - FINALS DAY


Photos 1st days  Photos Semis  Photos Finals (building up)
Official photographer photos

Semis


Quarters


Photos Semis

Photos 1st Days

U11

Jana Galal 3-0 Kenzy Khaled                                        11-2, 11-7, 11-4
[26] Yousef Hesham 3-2 [7] Eyad Hosam     9-11, 5-11, 11-5, 11-3, 11-2

U13

[2] Fairouz Ehab Abouelkheir 3-1 Lojain Elgohary  11-8, 6-11, 11-7, 11-5
[7] Omar Azzam 3-0 [4] Yousef Roshdy                  11-9 ret.

U15

[7] Noreen Hisham 3-0 [92] Basmala Aref        11-5, 12-10, 11-3
[15] Ahmed Wael 3-0 [20] Abdallah Basem         11-6, 11-7, 11-6

U17

[18] Sana Mahmoud 3-1 [49] Hagar Shafee          11-4, 10-12, 11-2, 11-1
[4] Mostafa Asal
3-0 [11] Karim al Barbary                    11-2, 11-2, 11-4

U19

[1] Jana Sheha 3-1 [25] Nada Abbas      7-11, 11-8, 13-11, 11-6  
[6] Mostafa Asal 3-0 [5] Omar el Torky     11-6, 11-6, 11-5

Seniors

Yathreb Adel 3-0 [1] Nada Ehab    11-4, 11-4, 11-3
Karim Abdel Gawad
3-2 [3] Ahmed Hosny   4-11, 11-6, 6-11, 11-9, 11-9

U11

Jana Galal 3-0 Kenzy Khaled                                        11-2, 11-7, 11-4
[26] Yousef Hesham 3-2 [7] Eyad Hosam     9-11, 5-11, 11-5, 11-3, 11-2

I had the opportunity to observe how the two words 'no coaching' do not apply whatsoever in Egypt bless them... Good or bad, that's not for me to say, just an observation as today, the support from the parents was pretty .. warm and present, I would say, as in every. single. point.

On another matter, a good point for Kenzy's dad though, who was at the back, letting the coaches do their work, and supporting his daughter tin or winner, with the same smile and support - the Atef Sherbini school of parenting, which sort of worked quite well...

Back to the game: Jana Galal was just in a different league I feel, but all credit to Kenzy Khaled, SHE NEVER STOPPED RUNNING AND TRYING. Forget the score, it was a beautiful match with lovely hard fought rallies with incredible match construction for such a young age.

I know that after 20 years of squash, I still couldn't build my rallies like that!!!

As for the boys, the DRAMA we had... A domination of Eyad Hosam in the first two games, truly hitting very hard for such a small boy, despatching his bullets beautifully all around the court. Yousef Hesham, taller and stronger, just didn't know how to handle his opponent, only returning the shots and having no influence on the game at all.

After losing the second game, his parents had a loud - no idea what they said - coaching session, Yousef seemed very emotional as he stepped on court, but whatever they said, worked! Calmed down by his mum that seemed to say "don't worry, take it point by point, forget the score", Yousef looked a different player.

Using his height and power, he never looked back, and was in the lead from that point on, although like Kenzy, I was impressed by the fighting spirit of Eyad who never stop believing he could turn things round. He was a bit unlucky to tin the ball at the end of long rallies, but what a superb advert for squash this game was. Like the previous one, very few calls, perfect sportsmanship.

U13

[2] Fairouz Ehab Abouelkheir 3-1 Lojain Elgohary  11-8, 6-11, 11-7, 11-5
[7] Omar Azzam 3-0 [4] Yousef Roshdy                  11-9 ret.

Emotions were running high in that age group with a feisty first game between fighter Yousef Roshdy who came back from the 11/0 in the first game to win in the 5th 11/3 in the semis!

Did it take too much out of him? But today, after that first game, he was truly not feeling well, a bad cold plus feeling unwell, and he had to retire against Omar Azzam.. We could hear his sadness from 2 floors down poor thing...

As for the match between Fairouz Abouelkheir, runner up of the British Open U13 this year, and Lojain Elgohary, it was a close match, much closer than the score suggest. Jojain seemed unhappy with the movement of her opponent, and grew more and more frutrated, although she took the second game with magisterial manner, controlling rallies and pace beautifully.

Today, Fairouz came on top, but I have the strong feeling this is the "beginning of a beautiful friendship" to quote the famous Casablanca film, and that those girls are going to keep on dazzling us with the intensity, talent and determination...


U15

[7] Noreen Hisham 3-0 [92] Basmala Aref        11-5, 12-10, 11-3
[15] Ahmed Wael 3-0 [20] Abdallah Basem         11-6, 11-7, 11-6

Ahmed Wael didn't seem to phased by Abdallah's lefthand shots and took the title rather comfortably, although both players had a bit of a "puppy too long legs/too long arms" kind of movement! They were both not that accurate at times, but Ahmed had the most fluid squash today, although Abdallah never stopped trying.

For the girls, my feeling was that Noreen controlled the first game beautifully, and seemed to push her opponent in the four corners.

An extremely tight second game, but it's Noreen again on top, and that's the game Basmala Aref really need to physically and mentally stay in the game...

Good match, truly.

U17

[18] Sana Mahmoud 3-1 [49] Hagar Shafee          11-4, 10-12, 11-2, 11-1
[4] Mostafa Asal
3-0 [11] Karim al Barbary                    11-2, 11-2, 11-4

We started the day at 11am with the U17 to allow Mostafa Asal, one of Al-Ahly Star players, to rest a bit before his second final of the day in the U19 bless him.

A solid match again from the Gentle Giant Mostafa, seriously relaxed during his match as he often looks. This player trimmed a lot and moves very well now, allowing a free flowing and very pleasant squash. A good effort from Karim Al Barbary, but who couldn't pass throug Mostafa's defence today...

A solid match in the girls, showing the depth of Egyptian squash as Sana Mahmoud, the winner of the U17 British Open - in my eyes, she won although some technicality deprived her of her title - had to fight truly hard to overcome a player ranked 49 nationally!!!

A nervous start for Hagar Shafee in the first game, Sana dominates the opener 7/2, 11/4, overpowering her opponent with accurate crosscourting in particular. But a change of tactic for Hagar in the second, she steps up more and takes the game to Sana, finding some exquisite counter drops and volley drops.

The game is very close, 1/1, 2/2, 3/3, Sana takes a comfortable lead, 6/3, or it is. Before we know it, we are back level, 6/6, 7/7, 8/8, game ball for the underdog, 10/8, Sana won't have it, 10/10, but she forces it a bit too hard, and it's 12/10 for Hagar.

But it was just a bit too much physically I feel for Hagar in that game, she had to dig in very deep, and the next two games are one sided, 11/2, 11/1. 

U19

[1] Jana Sheha 3-1 [25] Nada Abbas      7-11, 11-8, 13-11, 11-6  
[6] Mostafa Asal 3-0 [5] Omar el Torky            11-6, 11-6, 11-5

Seniors

Yathreb Adel 3-0 [1] Nada Ehab                                 11-4, 11-4, 11-3
Karim Abdel Gawad
3-2 [3] Ahmed Hosny   4-11, 11-6, 6-11, 11-9, 11-9

I'm not exactly sure what happened today to end this great event as it went a bit out ... different as we arrived to the last four finals..

First of all, I didn't manage to see a single shot from the match Yathreb/Nada. I was in the office upstairs, I was told the girls were warming up, by the time I got down, Yathreb told me the match was over! I managed to catch a photo of the two girls while starting to watch the match of the day, Mostafa Asal/Omar El Torky.

I glanced at the Karim Abdel Gawad/Ahmed Hosny, with the Baby Face Assassin having a great time going to 5, 11/9 as ever - I think Ahmed will sleep well tonight - and the audience was delighted.

I managed to catch a game of Jana/Nada, the game I saw had a bit too many calls - I heard myself thinking: play squash girls, come on. But when I tried to come back to it, the match was over!

Yes, it was all happening in the Boys U19. We had it all: great intense rallies, with Mostafa physicality a mixture between Peter Barker/Paul Coll, with a bit of Fares Dessouki to make it all fit Egyptian way!!! Omar bless him, was doing everything he could. He stuck to his opponent in the rallies, but his great winners kept coming back, again and again, putting him under extreme pressure and forcing him to unforced errors at crucial times.

The ref bless him was put under pressure too! Having to contain not only the two players but also the coaches/families that apparently were playing a vocal part and having to be reminded that NO COACHING means you do not coach your players during play!

Conduct warnings galore were distributed, a few hip movements that sort of got in the way of the other player, no lets that didn't seem to impress the players.. I was enjoying it thoroughly! Although the score in the first 2 games seems a bit one sided, believe me, it was pretty intense out there, and you could feel the match could have turned at any moment.

In the third, a big contact leads Omar to take a 3m injury in the following rally, 4/2. Enormous rallies again, but at 5/4 Mostafa, Omar gets hit on the left eyebrow. Match stopped, doctor intervenes, ice pack, match stopped until......

Annnnnd because the ceremony was already in place as we had some special guest, it was decided we would go on with the trophies and then finish the BU19 match. But it didn't go as planned as apparently, the match was finished while we were waiting for the President of the Club to arrive, the much loved Mahmoud Al Khaeeb, aka Bebo....

So, not sure how it all finished. But we had a good ceremony!!!

So my first visit in Al-Ahly Club was a success, after a slow start and being stopped at the gate for 45m! Thanks to the Boss Nasser Zahran of course and my slave 1, Ahmed, and my slave 2, Mohamed.

It was a pure pleasure working with you guys.  Insh'Allah I'll see you soon!
 

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