Squash WC: Egypt fight back to take top prize

It meant that if Fayrouz Aboelkheir could avenge her pool stage defeat to Aira Azman, Egypt would have an unassailable lead as points won by first string players are worth double.
TN CM MK Stalin (C) handing away the trophy to Egpyt players in Chennai. Also seen in the picture is TN sports minister Udhayanidhi Stalin (L) | P Jawahar
TN CM MK Stalin (C) handing away the trophy to Egpyt players in Chennai. Also seen in the picture is TN sports minister Udhayanidhi Stalin (L) | P Jawahar

CHENNAI: Egypt came from behind to beat Malaysia 2-1 in the final played at the Express Avenue Mall here on Saturday afternoon to win the Squash World Cup. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin and Udhayanidhi Stalin, Minister for Youth Welfare and Sports Development, gave away the awards and medals at a grand closing ceremony function.

Egypt got off to a poor start with Malaysia’s second string Xin Ying Yee taking a 1-0 lead with a 3-0 win over Kenzy Ayman. The 19-year-old saved four game balls and converted her own match ball in the third game. World No 21 Aly About Eleinen restored parity for the top seeds with a 3-0 win over Darren Pragasam.

It meant that if Fayrouz Aboelkheir could avenge her pool stage defeat to Aira Azman, Egypt would have an unassailable lead as points won by first-string players are worth double. To the delight of the Egyptian team, Aboelkheir was playing more of the clinical squash that saw her shock Satomi Watanabe to take a 2-0 lead against Aira Azman. The Malaysian came back brilliantly in the third game to keep Malaysia in the contest with a 7-6 win. The 17-year-old Fayrouz came close to the unthinkable in the fourth game when she saved five World Cup balls to force another sudden death tie-break and eventually won the contest.

“It (the final) was a difficult tie for us. We beat it (Malaysia) 3-1 last time (in the group stage), so we knew that it would come down to a fight. We were focused on winning the matches that were worth two points. We put everything into the two-point match, we considered it a big match. We started to work on it like that. On Friday, she (Fayrouz Aboelkheir) beat Japan’s Satomi Watanabe with the same strategy. On Saturday, she was more focused and beat Aira Azman,’’ Mohamed Elkeiy, Egypt team’s head coach said.

Results (Final): Egypt bt Malaysia 2-1 (Kenzy Ayman lost to Xin Ying Yee 4-7, 5-7, 6-7; Aly Abou Eleinen bt Darren Pragasam  7-3, 7-6, 7-4; Fayrouz Aboelkheir bt Aira Azman 7-4, 7-5, 6-7, 7-6).
Final standings: 1. Egypt, 2. Malaysia, 3. India and Japan, 5. Australia.

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