I have never played a decider for Egypt before and I was hoping
I wouldn't have to. I didn't know what to expect.
But I decided to be selfish - I didn't think of the team, only
of myself, to stop the pressure getting to me. This was the
tactic I planned - even if everything went wrong. I had to do a
lot of running, but it worked out in the end.
"Overall, this is a fantastic team to be a part of!
Howard Harding Reports It
was second seeds England who took the lead on the all-glass
court where Laura Massaro, the world No.4, recovered from a game
down to inflict the event's first defeat on Nour El Sherbini,
the world No.1. Former world champion Massaro, who went into the
match 5/3 ahead in her career head-to-head battles with the
Egyptian, won 11-9, 5-11, 6-11, 6-11 in 49 minutes to put
The lead was short-lived, however, as Egyptian number two
Nouran Gohar, the 19-year-old world No.3 making her debut in
the championship, despatched England's experienced Alison Waters
11-6, 11-4, 12-10 to force a decider. Londoner Waters had a game
ball in the third, but three successive balls into the tin
handed victory to the Cairo teenager.
Squad number threes lined up for the decider - England's
Sarah-Jane Perry, the world No.11 who had played in all
England's ties in Paris, facing Raneem El Welily, the former
world number one now ranked two in the world.
It took 31 minutes for the title to be decided - El Welily
keeping on top throughout the match before emerging victorious
12-10, 11-4, 11-6.
started very well for Egypt Miracle Girl today, Nour zooming to
6/1, 8/3, 9/4, only to see her lead disappearing like Snow in
the Sinai Desert, and it took the Alexandria lady 5 game balls
from 10/5 to finally take the game 11/9 on a drive kill.
The second was close enough to 3/2, when a contact as Nour was
going for the ball on the right left corner prevented the
Egyptian to get to it. Nour expressed her feeling clearly as she
complained of what she perceived to be a hip movement from her
opponent. From that point on, it was like Nour lost control of
the mental battle. She lost her game plan, lost her length, and
the next two games, making a lot of errors in the third, and saw
her frustration grow even deeper when in the 4th, she got a few
no lets that could/should have been lets had they been asked a
I had the impression to be back in Canada 2 years ago, when Nour
just kept getting no lets for let, and lets for strokes! That is
really a department she’s got to work on, as she misses out of
decisions that can make a difference in a match, like they did
today. It’s like she still sees herself as the strong girl she
was in the juniors – she was told not to bang into her opponents
as she was taller and stronger that they were. But Nour, it’s
ok, you can show you can get the ball, and you can show clearly
when a player doesn’t let you get through… It’s ok, you are NOT
going to hurt them, I promise you….
Once again, hat off to the experience of the English former
World number 1, World Champion, who just knows how to take her
space, impose her game and channel her mental energy at the
crucial times of every single match she plays.
Gohar displayed her powerful squash today, and although
Alison tried and kept the 19 years told under control in the
first game, up to the middle of the opener, 6/7, but with the
Egyptian finding her rhythm - FAST AND HARD - scoring the last 4
points, 11/6 in 10m.
The score of the second doesn't tell the whole story, 13 m of
hard work from both, again, matters close until the middle of
the game, 6/4 to 11/4 for Nouran again.
Third was point for point really after a great start from the
Fair English Lady, 4/1, 5/(, 6/6, 7/7, 8/8. Two game balls for
Ali, 10/8, a sublime return of serve takes care of the first
one, 10/9. And a succession of three quick "unforced" errors
will give the match to Egypt, 12/10...
For Raneem "The
Switch" El Welily, it was the first time she was playing a
decider. And today Elhamdoulillah, the Switch was full on!!!
And she needed to be full on Rino was, cause Sarah Jane had
absolutely no pressure on her and played superb squash from the
word go, 5/1 in the opener. Control the rallies, the English
girl was planted on the T and was making Raneem do a lot of
The Egyptian clawed back to 8/8, two errors from each, 9/9, game
ball for England, 10/9, a quick point for Egypt, 10/10. Raneem's
presence got stronger and she took the decisive opener, 12/10 in
I guess SJ had trouble getting over the loss of the first game,
she went quickly down 6/0, 9/2 11/4 in 6m.
The third - like for the previous match - was very close, not a
point between the girls up to 6/6. The rally of the tournament
at that point, and Raneem that just took control of the match
from that point on, 11/6.
The Dream Team took the Trophey back home...
came out strong, as expected. She didn't give away any cheap
points. Her fighting spirit won the crucial points.
Nouran proved why she is number three in the world and Raneem
showed her amazing athleticism and her amazing technical prowess.
I can sum up my feeling in two words: Mission accomplished!
Egypt were just too strong. Raneem
and Nouran played at their best levels - but they needed to as
our girls performed well.
Gohar was relentless and Raneem played fantastic squash.
2-0  Hong Kong
Laura Massaro 3-1 Annie Au 3/11, 11/7, 11/6,
11/7 (42m) Sarah-Jane Perry 3-0 Liu Tsz
Ling 11/4, 11/4, 11/9 (25m)
 Egypt 3-0  France
Nour El Sherbini
Camille Serme 11/8, 12/10, 11/9 Raneem El Welily 3-0 Laura Pomportes 11/3, 11/3, 11/4 Nouran Gohar 2-0 Coline Aumard
Howard Harding Reports
The final tie of the day on the all-glass court at Palais Des
Sports Robert Charpentier in the Paris suburb of
Issy-les-Moulineaux saw Egypt take on the hosts - with a packed
and partisan crowd doing all they could to lift the home team.
It was the number ones who led the way, Egypt's world number one
Nour El Sherbini facing Camille Serme only weeks
after losing to the top French player, ranked five in the world,
in the final of the US Open. Over 12 previous meetings in their
career, they shared six wins apiece.
Few points ever separated the pair in the opening game, but the
Egyptian clinched her first game ball at 10-8. Much to the
delight of the crowd, Serme built up a 7-3 lead in the second -
but her canny opponent upped her game to reel off seven points
in a row to reach game ball at 10-7, then convert it from 11-10.
El Sherbini maintained a narrow lead through the third before
putting Egypt ahead after closing out the match 11-8, 12-10,
11-9 in 41 minutes.
France faced a stern test in the next match when Laura
Pomportes, ranked 66 in the world, faced fellow third string
Raneem El Welily, now the world's No.2 player. The result
was never in doubt, El Welily taking just 24 minutes to
win 11-3, 11-3, 11-5 to put Egypt in the final.
lost to her in the US Open last month so I needed to win that
match for my country - I was lucky to finish in three.
It's a totally different feeling, playing for your country - and
it's even harder when you're the number one, having to play all
the other countries' top players. We played India in our first
match - and I had to play Joshna! You have to give 100% every
We've really worked hard after losing last time to Malaysia in
We might have the top three players in the world, but when
you're playing the host nation, anything can happen. The
scoresheet won't do the first game justice - it could easily
have been 3/0 to France. The trouble with being top seeds is
that everybody expects you to win - it's that or nothing!
It’s a great pleasure to work with the Egyptian Team because
they all have coaching staff and they know what they are doing
and all I’m doing is helping them manage their career and make
them avoid all the mistakes I might have made myself when I was
The thing is I’m not really their coach. I’m basically a
technical advisor, a director, a friend and a manager so
basically I help them manage their career not necessarily on the
court. If they need training programmes, they’re dealing with
injuries or contracts that’s where I step in and I let their
coaches do the coaching. I travel with them for 6 tournaments
every year. I travel with them to the majors and then the
coaches back home do the work.
There’s no secret to Egypt current success. The power shifts
every decade or so. First, you had Pakistan, then England and
Australia. Now it’s Egypt’s turn. The players see each other
every week. They play in local tournaments and leagues. They’re
just training all the time. The players don’t dream about being
number 1. They dream about beating the world number 1. It’s a
different mentality which makes it a bit easier.
We have to remember that England and Australia have won this
title many more times than Egypt - so to really have something
to celebrate we need to win it eight or nine more times and get
A solid match for Nouran,
who never let Olivia get into the first two games. A bit more
competitive in the 3rd from the American, maybe finally getting
used to the horrific pace coming from the Egyptian. A close game,
up to 6/6, but Nouran finds her groove back, a very long match
ball, ending unfortunately on a stroke.
Nour was facing a "nothing to lose" Amanda, and if the
first game was a bit one sided, things changed radically in the
second, Amanda winning five points in a row from 4-8 down,
and it's only on what could be described as a harsh no let that
Nour clinched the 2nd, 11/9.
Fired up when she came back in the 3rd, Amanda came back as she
knows how in the third, led 9/2 before taking the game 11/4.
The 4th was extremely tense, Amanda having 2 game balls, 10/9,
11/10, only to see her dreams of a decider shattered when the
American got penalised with a very very harsh no let. Egypt is
grateful and takes it, but still, probably not the way you want
to end a quarter, 13/11. Still, Nour in 42m had put her country
through to the last four for the third time in a row.
In a best-of-three dead rubber - in which Egyptian number three
Raneem El Welily, who today leapt to two in the world, beat
Reeham Sedky 12-10, 11-5.
has developed so much in the last two years - she's a future
champion, for sure. I felt confident that Nour would win once
she went two-love up - 60% of all sports clashes that reach that
score end up successful.
But if Amanda had won that second game, it could have been a
totally different story.
Top seeds Egypt became the first
nation to score maximum points in their pool action after
storming to a 3/0 win over Mexico, the No.13 seeds.
Raneem El Welily and Nouran Gohar both recorded straight
games wins before third string Omneya Abdel Kawy
celebrated her 50th match in the championships since
making her debut 18 years ago by beating 15-year-old
Mexican Dina Anguiano Gomez 11-5, 11-4, 11-8.
World No.8 Abdel Kawy, the team's fourth string, is marking a
record 10th successive appearance in the championships - and has
played in all three of the team's ties to date.
When asked if she could identify with the feeling of her young
opponent today - making her championship debut in her mid-teens
- Abdel Kawy responded:
I remember feeling fearless then,
knowing that the pressure was always on my older opponents - but
later in my career being in the position of having to deal with
the pressure of being expected to win.
But now it's gone the full circle, and I can relax again -
without the expectation of winning!
Today, we won our matches 3/0 and
we are very happy to qualify as we were seeding to win this pool
and delighted to play the quarters tomorrow. We are all looking
forward to tomorrow’s match.
It was great today, we feel we played some good matches, and
hopefully, we will carry on to do so for the rest of the
Yes, a good match today, Mexico was the third match for us. The
girls are playing well, they are in a good spirit, they are a
good team, there is a truly good relationship between them.
For me, it’s all about trying to manage the team as a whole,
playing players deserve to play and resting player deserves to
Omneya is the captain of the team, and has the most experience
of them all, and I try and make her play as much as possible
because she sets the tone for the rest of the team: so far so
Omneya Abdel Kawy 3-0
11/9, 119, 11/7 Raneem El Welily 3-0 Amanda Landers-Murphy 11/5,
11/7, 11/3 Nour El Sherbini 3-0 Megan Craig11/9, 12/10, 11/2
Seeds march towards quarters Top
seeds Egypt took charge of Pool A as they beat New
Zealand, leaving the Kiwis to batlle it out with India for
second spot in the pool.
Defending champions England got through a tough encounter
with USA, Sarah-Jane Perry taken to five against Reeham Sedky, a
win which proved vital as Amanda Sobhy recorded a first win over
Laura Massaro in the dead rubber.
Malaysia made it two out of two in Pool C as they beat
Australia, whoi now face Netherlands for a place in the playoffs.
Fourth seeds Hong Kong and hosts France both
notched up their third wins in Pool D, setting up a meeting
tomorrow to decide who get the favourable quarter-final draw.
It was over at the St Cloud Squash
venue that the tie featuring the highest-ranked players saw
favourites Egypt beat India, the ninth seeds, 3/0.
Third string Omneya Abdel Kawy began her historic tenth
successive appearance in the championships in appropriate style
by despatching India's 17-year-old event debutante Sunayna
Kuruvilla 11-7, 11-7, 11-2.
World number one Nour El Sherbini needed 34 minutes to
see off top-ranked Indian Joshna Chinappa 11-5, 11-6, 15-13,
before the Egyptian No.2 Nouran Gohar, ranked three in
the world, recovered from a game down to beat Dipika Pallikal
Karthik 4-11, 11-7, 11-4, 11-9 in 39 minutes.
"It was a tricky opening tie for
us. India is a top eight country in my view, so it was a good
match for us to win. Our girls had to be on their toes to get
the result they did. I was very happy with the way they
“We’re happy with how we played, India is a very good team and
we expected them to be seeded higher.
It’s great for Nouran to win her first match in the senior team,
she was strong mentally.
We are surprised not to have any match on the glass court in the
Pool stage. I hope the girls will get the opportunity to
practice on it as soon as possible.“