World Cup Chennai

Eight national teams competed in Chennai, India, for the WSF World Cup from 13th to 17th June, and Egypt kept its title…

Day Five – Final

Egypt have been crowned the SDAT WSF Squash World Cup Champions after coming from behind to beat Malaysia in front of a capacity crowd in Chennai’s Express Avenue Mall.

The SDAT WSF Squash World Cup, which had not been played since 2011, was brought back this year with a number of exciting changes, including gender-balanced teams of two men and two women, scoring games to seven, and sudden death tiebreaks when scores are 6-6.

2011 winners Egypt’s title defence got off to the worst possible start against the No.4 seeds, who they beat 3-1 in the Pool Stage of the tournament.

Malaysia’s second string woman Xin Ying Yee – who lost 3-2 to Kenzy Ayman in the Pool Stage – gave her team a 1-0 lead with a 3-0 win over Ayman, with the 19-year-old saving four game balls and converting her own match ball in the third game.

World No.21 Aly Abou Eleinen restored parity for the top seeds with a battling 3-0 win over World No.134 Darren Pragasam in the men’s first string match.

This meant that, if Fayrouz Aboelkheir could avenge her Pool Stage 3-2 defeat to Aira Azman, Egypt would have an unassailable lead due to points being won by first string players being worth double.

To the delight of the Egyptian team, Aboelkheir was calmness personified, playing more of the clinical squash that saw her shock Satomi Watanabe in the semi-final to take a 2-0 lead against Azman.

The Malaysian came back brilliantly in the third game, though, saving World Cup ball to keep Malaysia in the contest with a 7-6 win in the third game.

The 17-year-old came close to the unthinkable in the fourth game, when she saved five World Cup balls to force another sudden death tiebreak, but could not hold on, with Aboelkheir sinking to her knees as a stroke decision in her favour meant that she and her teammates would put their names alongside 2011 winners and squash royalty Raneem El Welily, Ramy Ashour, Karim Darwish and Mohamed ElShorbagy.

Afterwards, Aboelkheir said:

“It wasn’t an easy match! Last time with Aira it was [very tough] and she beat me 3-2. This time, I had to keep my focus. In the last match [against Azman] I had a really bad day and put the team in a difficult position, so now knew I had to play really well and I’m really proud of each and every one of us, we fought really hard to get this title.”

Day Four – Semis

Egypt beat Japan 4/0!

Karim El Hammamy 3-0 Tomotaka Endo 7-1, 7-6, 7-2 (21m)
Fayrouz Aboelkheir 3-0 Satomi Watanabe 7-5, 7-2, 7-2 (20m)
Aly Abou Eleinen 3-1 Ryunosukue Tsukue 6-7, 7-6, 7-5, 7-5 (36m)
Kenzy Ayman 2-0 Akari Midorikawa 7-3, 7-4 (7m)

Day Three

[1] Egypt 3-1 Malaysia [3]

Karim El Hammamy 3-0 Sai Hung Ong 3-0: 7-1, 7-3, 7-0 (15m)
Fayrouz Aboelkheir 1-3 Aira Azman 5-7, 7-5, 3-7, 7-2, 3-7 (31m)
Aly Abou Eleinen 3-0 Darren Pragasam  7-1, 7-0, 7-1 (16m)
Kenzy Ayman 3-2 Xin Ying Yee  5-7, 7-4, 7-3, 2-7, 7-5 (26m)

No.1 seeds Egypt cemented their place at the top of Pool A with a 3-1 win over No.4 seeds Malaysia, with both sides progressing through to the semi-final.

World No.42 Karim El Hammamy played his best squash of the tournament so far as he blew away Sai Hung Ong in just 15 minutes. He looked a class above from the first minute, wasted no time in getting on the attack, with Ong unable to cope with a hungry El Hammamy, who beat his defences time and again in taking the first two games 7-1, 7-3, before capping his dominant showing with a 7-0 win in the third game.

Malaysia’s Aira Azman gave the No.4 seeds hope with an exciting win in the second match. The World No.55 played out a back and forth clash with World No.33 Fayrouz Aboelkheir as the two teenage stars struggled for rhythm.

Azman struck first with a 7-5 win in the first game, but was pegged back in the second by the same scoreline. The 18-year-old reclaimed her lead after impressing in a 7-3 win in game three, only to be dragged bacl level once more by Aboelkheir, who took the fourth game 7-2.

In the crucial fifth game, it was the Malaysian who was finally able to break through, putting together a string of points before finishing the match off with a perfectly-executed drop shot.

Any hopes that this momentum would be carried into the third match by Malaysia were quickly snuffed out by a brutal performance from Aly Abou Eleinen.

The lightning-fast World No.21 dismantled Darren Pragasam, conceding a total of just two points as he took game one 7-1, game two 7-0 and game three 7-1.

In the last match of the tie, World No.78 Xin Ying Yee took a shock lead against World No.56 Kenzy Ayman as she took the first game 7-5.

Ayman, after a discussion with coach Mohamed Elkeiy and teammate Eleinen, looked far sharper in the next games, dealing well with the southpaw’s powerful forehand with 7-4 and 7-3 wins to move into the lead.

Yee, however, refused to be beaten, retrieving excellently and levelling the match with a dominant performance to win game four 7-2.

In the crucial fifth game, Ayman was able to hold her nerve after seeing a 5-3 lead evaporate, with the 19-year-old keeping steady as she took the next two points to give Egypt their third tie victory of the World Cup and go through to the semi finals as Pool A winners.

After that tense final match, Ayman said:

“I’m absolutely happy to play like this. The first game was really bad from me because I was so nervous at the beginning, but I’m so happy win today.

“The last game was really important because I was leading and she came back to 5-5, so I’m happy with my performance to close the game!”

Day Two

[1] Egypt 4-0 Colombia

Kenzy Ayman 3-0 Catalina Peleaz 7-5, 7-5, 7-6 (15m)
Aly Abou Eleinen 3-0 Felipe Tovar 7-5, 7-2, 7-2 (18m)
Fayrouz Aboelkheir 3-1 Laura Tovar 7-3, 7-4, 5-7, 7-2 (20m)
Karim El Hammamy 3-1 Alfonso Marroquin 7-5, 7-3, 4-7, 7-4 (24m)

In Pool A, top seeds and pre-tournament favourites Egypt secured their second 4-0 win in quick succession as they brushed aside No.8 seeds Colombia. 19-year-old Kenzy Ayman got the rout underway with a 15-minute 3-0 win against Catalina Pelaez, with Aly Abou Eleinen repeating the scoreline against Felipe Tovar.

Although their concentration briefly slipped, Fayrouz Aboelkheir and Karim El Hammamy were able to complete the win with 3-1 victories over Laura Tovar and Alfonso Marroquín.

“In the first game, I was really nervous at the beginning [because] I was the first to play but I really enjoyed it!” Ayman said afterwards.

Day One

Karim El Hammamy 3-1 Nicholas Calvert 5-7, 7-3, 7-0, 7-3 (29m)
Fayrouz Aboelkheir 3-1 Jessica Turnbull 5-7, 7-4, 7-4, 7-4 (23m)
Aly Abou Eleinen 3-0 Joseph While 7-1, 7-6, 7-2 (21m)
Kenzy Ayman3-0 Alex Haydon 7-5, 7-3, 7-4 (20m)

Top seeds Egypt showed their class as they shut out Australia.

Karim El Hammamy bounced back from a troubled start in the opening match, with the World No.42 taken by surprise by the intensity of Australia’s Nicholas Calvert, who played the fast conditions better in the opener to take the first game 7-5.

El Hammamy, however, recovered quickly, dominating the rest of the contest with a pair of 7-3 wins, which came either side of a brutal bagel, the first of the World Cup.

The second match, between Fayrouz Aboelkheir and Jessica Turnbull followed a similar pattern, with Turnbull starting brighter in taking the opening game only for Aboelkheir to settle and take the next three all by a 7-4 scoreline.

From here, Egypt pressed home their advantage. First, rising star and World No.21 Aly Abou Eleinen fired Egypt into a 3-0 lead with a straight-games victory over Joseph White, with the second game utilising the sudden death scoring at 6-6.

Then, in the fourth match, Kenzy Ayman ensured the first clean sweep of the tournament with a 3-0 win of her own against Alexandra Haydon.

Afterwards, Ayman said: “I’m really happy with my performance altogether and really happy to win.

“I hope we play tomorrow like we did today and am very excited – I hope we win 4-0 again!


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