🙍♀️ Top three seeds joined by No.8 seed Kenzy Ayman in the last four
🙍♂️ Top two through, along with No.8 seed Aly Hussein and No.13 seed Yassin Elshafei
🙍♀️ a Second successive men’s Challenger Tour semi against expectations for Cairo teenager Yassin Elshafei
 Jana Shiha (EGY) 3-2  Rana Ismail (EGY) 8-11, 5-11, 11-5, 12-10, 11-5 (40m)
 Kenzy Ayman 3-2 [wc] Fayrouz Aboelkheir 4-11, 3-11, 12-10, 11-9, 12-10 (46m)
We started the day ‘avec clairon et fanfare’, a start of Come Backs for sure, plenty of action/emotions.
But well advised by coach Karim Ali Fathi, she seemed to find the mental motivation to display her skills and prevent Rana from imposing her sharp game. Down 2/0, she fought hard in the 4th to force a decider, 12/10, to harvest the dividend in the 5th, 11/5.
On the next court, another drama was unfolding. Wild Card and giant killer Fayrouz Aboelkheir, newly crowned U17 National champion two days ago, looked extremely comfortable out there, with Kenzy Ayman completely outplayed.
A few match balls in the third were saved – one that looked like a stroke from where I stood, but the ref was in a different position and might have seen it differently – and Kenzy, full of raging passion, was to take the next three games, 12/10, 11/9, 12/10, stroke on match ball.
Two things about that match. One, I wish Kenzy would be a bit more careful about her swing, that look excessive at times. And two, chapeau to the young Fayrouz, who never lost focus, never showed any frustration even when the calls weren’t going her way at crucial times. She showed extreme maturity today, and made her country proud. It’s all a learning curve as somebody told me today…. 🙂
 Hana Moataz 3-1  Salma Eltayeb 11-8, 8-11, 13-11, 11-4 (37m)
 Sana Ibrahim 3-1  Nour Aboulmakarim 9-11, 11-5, 11-8, 11-7 (45m)
Hana Moataz, 21, was put under pressure today by a young Salma Eltayeb, 17, and already number 84th in the world, just to situate the girl… she came very close to taking the third, which would have changed the physiognomy of the match completely. But 2/1 up, experience played its role in Hana’s racquet, and the fourth is a bit of a formality 11/4.
As for Sana Ibrahim and Nour Aboulmakarim, what a finish of the women’s competition. Like the two first matches of the day, it was a superb battle, with the parents, coaches, getting involved of course, but the girls kept playing excellent squash, playing the ball to the best of their abilities, keeping their heads down, and giving it all on there. And blast for COVID, it’s a shame we were so few to witness their intensity today.
 Moustafa El Sirty 3-0  Khaled Labib 11-9, 12-10, 12-10 (36m)
 Aly Hussein 3-0  Mohamed Nasser 11-7, 11-6, 11-4 (42m)
Moustafa El Sirty. I have been watching him since he was 10 years old – I was a teenager at the time, of course – and if he got much stronger and bigger, THE BRAIN HAS NOT FOLLOWED YET!!!! Bless him, he goes away with the fairies, dreaming away, while his opponents worked very hard, then find himself down deep behind in the score, and then reminds himself he can actually play squash, and manages to win the games, in extremis…
I guess it comes with the junior territory but today, he was very lucky against Khaled Labib, who played extremely well, who is very strong both physically and mentally. The match could definitely be 3/0 for Khaled…
Aly Hussein and Mohamed Nasser doesn’t look impressive if you look at the score. But boys did they work hard. So hard actually that Mohamed Nasser was taking a few too many towel, shoes, asking for score time bless him as well. It was so funny at some point, when the ref refused to him the right to use the towel, he managed to argue nicely for as long as he needed to actually rest. I loved the time-management skill! Joke apart, very entertaining match.
 Yasser Elshafei 3-0 Mohamed Ferman Hassan (Irq) 11-8, 11-6, 11-7 (30m)
 Yahya Elnawasany 3-0  Abdallah Elmasry 11-9, 11-7, 11-7 (37m)
Those two last matches again do not look that strong if you believe the scoreline. But both matches were hard fought, and I can only salute Mohamed Ferman for his journey in the event. The only none Egyptian left in the draw, finally got stopped by Yasser Elshafei – who reaches his second Challenger semis in a month – in a clean and fair match, as was Yahya Elnawasany‘s closing of the day match against Abdallah Elmasry.
A famous Egyptian coached saluted Yahya and Abdallah’s encounter as the men’s match of the day….