The first edition of the Alexandria Women’s Squash Championship with 40 international women players, including top seeded Egyptians was played during June 4-10, 2015. The matches were organized at the Library of Alexandria’s glass courts in the Egyptian city of Alexandria under the sponsorship of Pharco Pharmaceuticals. The $100 000 prize-money 2015 Alexandria International would become a part of PSA World Series Platinum event from now onwards. The inaugural tournament was won by world no.2 Egypt’s Raneem El Weleily, who defeated compatriot Omeneya Abdel Kawy in the final on June 10, 2015. With her commanding victory in the final, El Weleily boosted her chances of replacing the long-standing Malaysian Nicol David from world’s no.1 position in women’s squash. The 26-year old Alexandria native has been dishing out impressive performances throughout the year and held the second place in WSA world rankings. She is currently enjoying the best form of her life and made it to the tournament finals in six out of her last seven world tour appearances.
The Alexandria champion had a great run to the final from first round onwards. She began her campaign with the first round’s 11-6, 11-13, 11-7, 11-4 victory over England’s Emily Whitlock. In the second round, El Weleily faced India’s Dipika Pallikal, who gave the Egyptian a hard time before losing in four games 9-11, 11-9, 10-12, 3-11. El Weleily had her sternest test in the semi-final against former world no.2 Laura Massaro of England. The five-game contest lasted 70 minutes during which El Weleily led twice but Massaro managed to force the decider. The Englishwoman pushed El Weleily in the final game by taking a 5-3 lead but the determined Egyptian reeled off 8 points in a row to enter the final for an all-Egyptian showdown with Omneya Abdel Kawy.
On her part, Abdel Kawy had a rather tough progress in the tournament. She struggled in the first round against Australia’s Donna Urquhart and scraped through in five games 11-6, 7-11, 11-13, 11-3, 16-14. But Kawy caused the biggest upset in the semi-final by beating world no.1 Nicol David of Malaysia. In a match lasting 65 minutes, Kawy defeated the celebrated Malaysian 11-7, 11-7, 8-11, 1-11, 12-10 and set up the final clash with compatriot El Weleily. But Kawy’s victory over Nicol David was significant for the Egyptian since she could end her 24-match streak of defeats against the Malaysian since March 2002.
The final between the two Egyptian women, however, became some sort of anti-climax as it was over in a blink. Playing forcefully from the start, Raneem El Weleily took just 35 minutes to beat her Cairo-born opponent Abdel Kawy. El Weleily was spurred on by the packed and partisan crowd in the playing arena and settled the issue with a nearly one-sided score of 11-6, 11-5, 11-9. Kawy, who had scored a sensational victory over no.1 seed Nicol David in the semi-finals, could not produce the same form against El Weleily. For the Alexandria born El Weleily, it was the 10th WSA World Tour squash title of her career and third major title in 2015. In January this year, she had clinched the $118,000 Tournament of Champions and $150,000 Windy City Open in March 2015.
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