Rui Soares from Portugal vs Blessing Muhwati from Zimbabwe at the Growthpoint South African Squash Championship, Brooklyn Mall. Photo: Jacques Naude/African News Agency/ANA
Egypt demonstrated why it is a squash powerhouse by dominating the Growthpoint SA Open played on the All Glass Court at the Brooklyn Mall in Pretoria over the weekend.

It was an all-Egyptian affair in both the men’s and women’s finals of the Professional Squash Association (PSA) Challenger Tour event that took place in the capital city over the past week.

The second-seeded Mohamed El Sherbini walked away with the spoils in the men’s final that was played yesterday.

It was a clash of the top seeds with El Sherbini beating his No1 compatriot Mazen Gamal 3-1 (7-11, 11-7, 11-3, 11-8) to continue his good fortune on SA soil.

El Sherbini collected four PSA titles in South Africa in 2017, winning the West Rand Open, the Balwin/Assore Central Gauteng Open, the Keith Grainger Memorial/UCT Open and the Bullring Open, having had to qualify for each event.

The 16-year-old Faridda Mohamed beat compatriot Menna Nasser 3-0 in the women's final for an Egyptian clean sweep.

Mohamed was a semi-finalist at the recent WSF Women’s Under-19 Championships in Chennai, India.

South Africa’s hopes of a local winner were dashed during Friday’s semi-finals when they were defeated by the rampant Egyptians.

South African number two ranked woman player Milnay Louw won her first game 11-9 against Faridda Mohamed in their last four clash.

But Mohamed bounced back with aplomb winning the next three games 11-4, 11-7, 11-5.

And Egyptian Menna Nasser beat South Africa's Alexa Pienaar 11-4, 11-8, 9-11, 11-6 to set up the final against her compatriot.

It was the first time the all-glass court had been erected in a mall in South Africa, giving free access to the public.

The court was dusted off after spending over 15 years in storage and the plan is to host the tournament at different Growthpoint properties such as the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town in the next few years.

The tournament is part of the global PSA Challenger Tour, and featured 22 international competitors alongside 18 from South Africa.

The opening rounds of the tournament were played at Pretoria Country Club on Monday and Tuesday before the semi-finals and finals moved to Brooklyn Mall on Friday and Saturday.

The Growthpoint SA Open is the country’s biggest squash tournament and is held annually across South Africa.

The tournament attracted some of the world’s best squash players and international ranking points were up for grabs.


Sunday Independent

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