Count Down : Preview of Round One

Just FOUR days to go before the Women’s Black Ball Squash Open gets under way.

On Day ONE – Monday 11th – there are Eight Round One matches, six of which feature Egyptian players with two guaranteed home winners.

The first match, at 15.30, is an all-Egyptian affair between Yathreb Adel and Mayar Hany, followed by world junior champion Rowan Elaraby against Hong Kong’s Annie Au.

The seedings would predict wins for Yathreb, for who this will be a first ‘official’ match against Mayar, and Annie, who has beaten Rowan in all four of their previous meetings, mst recently in the second round of the World Champs in Chicago.

Next up, at 17.00, it’s a second all-Egyptian match between British Junior U19 champion Hania El Hammamy and wildcard Salma Youssef, followed by Salma Hany up against Belgium’s Nele Gilis.

Hania, now up to #15 in the world rankings, will be the strong favourite for her match against Salma, although like the other all-Egyptian affair, this is a first meeting between the two. Salma Hany is at #12 in the rankings, and has beaten Nele in their three British Juniors meetings, and three times in senior events – their last meeting was in last year’s British Open first round.

At 18.30 Mariam Metwally takes on British Champion Tesni Evans, followed by Nicol David playing her first and last Black Ball Squash Open against India’s Joshna Chinappa.

Mariam is a tough competitor, and will need all her skills against Tesni, who is currently ranked #10 in the world compared to Mariam’s #24. Tesni has won both their previous meetings, in the China and US Opens of last year.

Nicol, the eight-time world champion from Malaysia, is currently ranked behind Joshna, who at world #16 is the 9/16 seed in this matchup. Nicol won their first 14 encounters, from 2002 to 2018, but Joshna has won the last two, in last year’s El Gouna International and the Asian Team Championships.

The final pair of matches only have one Egyptian! Hong Kong’s Joey Chan meets England’s Millie Tomlinson at 20.00, followed by Zeina Mickawy against England’s Alison Waters.

Joey and Millie are ranked #18 and #22 so this could be a close battle and there’s no prior history for guidance. Zeina is just 20 while Alison, a former world #3 is still inside the world’s top ten at 34 and won their only meeting, at last year’s US Open.

We’ll be be back tomorrow with another countdown …..