US SQUASH

Egypt’s Elaraby and Asal Sweep World Juniors Individuals

For the second consecutive year, Egypt swept both titles at the World Junior Individual Squash Championships as Rowan Elaraby retained the women’s title and Mostafa Asal dethroned teammate Marwan Tarek Monday at the Express Avenue Mall in Chennai, India.

The women’s final was a repeat of the 2017 final between Elaraby, the top seed, and Hania El Hamammy, the two seed who took out Team USA’s Marina Stefanoni in the quarterfinals.

Despite being ranked eleven positions lower on the PSA Tour, Elaraby defeated No. 20-ranked teammate 11-4, 11-9, 10-12, 11-9 in sixty-five minutes.

Elaraby’s final World Juniors appearance sees the eighteen-year-old join the likes of Nicol David, Ramy Ashour and Raneem El Welily in winning two consecutive titles.

“It feels amazing,” Elaraby said. “I’m so happy! That was my last World Juniors and if I hadn’t won I know I would have been so sad. Looking at the players who have won it twice, Nicol (David), Ramy (Ashour), Raneem (El Welily), Marwan (ElShorbagy), and especially Mohamed (ElShorbagy)—he’s my role model, I can’t thank him enough, he’s helped me so much and is always there for me.”

The ensuing men’s final was an upset according to seeding, but not on form, as two-seeded Assal dispatched top-seeded Tarek 11-7, 13-11, 11-4 in forty-six minutes.

Leading up to the tournament, Asal claimed three consecutive PSA titles and entered the tournament as the highest-ranked player in the draw at No. 71.

“I’m overjoyed to become World Champion,” Asal said, “It’s great that we had two all-Egyptian finals. I went into the match with confidence knowing I’d won in Egypt, but I really had to fight hard in the second to keep the momentum going. Thanks to Marwan for all the battles we had in Egypt, and I hope he has a great time in Harvard, we’ll miss him and he’ll miss us in Egypt. On to the teams now, let’s hope we can get that title back for Egypt.”

After sustaining a quarterfinal loss against El Hammamy, Team USA’s Marina Stefanoni would go on to place her best individual World Juniors finish in her third tournament appearance in the 5/8 playoff. After a walkover, Stefanoni defeated Egypt’s Faria Mohamed 10-12, 12-10, 11-8, 11-7 to finish fifth.

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