Egypt’s World No.37 Zeina Mickawy was one of five Egyptian winners on the final day of qualifying at the 2018 El Gouna International after she defeated top qualifying seed Samantha Cornett to progress to the main draw of the PSA World Series tournament, where she will face Malaysian legend Nicol David.
Mickawy, the 19-year-old who hails from Alexandria, took the opening game before a mammoth second game went the way of Canada’s Cornett, who claimed it by a 12-10 margin.
However, Cornett’s exploits at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast – in which she reached the quarter finals of the Women’s Doubles event less than a week ago – soon caught up with the 27-year-old as she began to fatigue and she succumbed to an 11-6, 10-12, 11-5, 11-3 defeat.
“I am very happy with the way I played in the first game,” Mickawy told the tournament’s official website.
“I was really focused, playing tight drives, finding my targets in the corners, and preventing her from volleying. I was patient and it paid off. But in the second I wanted to win too quickly and kept fighting back. I had nothing to lose I told myself, and I just tried to make the rallies last playing tight drives again.
“After that game I was very, very tired, but I know I have been working very hard recently on my fitness, so I just decided to trust it and just dig in and pick up all her shots, as I thought she would be pretty tired too.”
Mickawy headed up a trio of Egyptian victors in the women’s qualifying draw as compatriots Nadine Shahin and Mayar Hany also progressed to the main draw courtesy of wins over Yathreb Adel and Danielle Letourneau, respectively.
Malaysian teenager Sivasangari Subramaniam, the World No.42, also caused an upset as she disposed of England’s World No.29 Millie Tomlinson to set up a meeting with World Champion Raneem El Welily, while Belgium’s Nele Gilis fell to Liu Tsz-Ling, despite being ranked five places above the player from Hong Kong.
Also through to the main draw is England’s Fiona Moverley, who dispatched local player Jana Shiha in a fiercely-contested five-game battle, with former World Champion Rachael Grinham and France’s Coline Aumard joining her in qualifying.
In the men’s draw, home player Mohamed Reda beat fourth qualifying seed Omar Abdel Meguid for the first time since 2013 to earn his place in the main draw courtesy of a straight games victory over the World No.41.
“Meguid beat me the last couple of times and I guess that today was my turn,” Reda said.
“It was my day, he didn’t play as well as he can play but I did I think.
“The third was crucial, he was up 8-4, he was volleying beautifully, so I went back to basics, keeping the rallies going with tight squash. I’m very happy to win 3-0 and I’m looking forward to another day of squash.”
Top qualifying seed Karim Ali Fathi is also through after beating Shehab Essam and he will take on Spain’s Borja Golan in round one, while there was also triple success for England after Chris Simpson, Joshua Masters and Ben Coleman all claimed wins – with the latter of that trio overturning a 2-0 deficit against the in-form Tsz Fung Yip.
March’s PSA Men’s Player of the Month Nafiizwan Adnan is also through to the main draw action after he defeated India’s Mahesh Mangaonkar and he faces a difficult test in round one, where he will look to get the better of World No.1 and 2016 El Gouna International winner Mohamed ElShorbagy.
France’s Lucas Serme and German’s Raphael Kandra were the other players to claim wins on the final day of qualification.
The main draw of the 2018 El Gouna International begins tomorrow, while selected matches from the glass court staged at the El Gouna Marina will be shown live on SQUASHTV (Rest of World) and Eurosport Player (Europe only) from 18:30 local time (GMT+2).
Matches not held on the glass court will be staged at the El Gouna Squash Complex, which hosted the qualifying action, from 12:00 local time.
Results – Final Qualifying Round: Men’s 2018 El Gouna International
 Karim Ali Fathi (EGY) bt [L] Shehab Essam (EGY) 3-1:
11-7, 9-11, 11-9, 11-8 (63m)
 Raphael Kandra (GER) bt  Nathan Lake (ENG) 3-2:
11-5, 7-11, 11-5, 8-11, 11-6 (62m)
 Chris Simpson (ENG) bt  Youssef Soliman (EGY) 3-1:
11-5, 11-9, 3-11, 11-7 (75m)
 Mohamed Reda (EGY) bt  Omar Abdel Meguid (EGY) 3-0:
11-6, 11-8, 11-8 (42m)
 Ben Coleman (ENG) bt  Tsz Fung Yip (HKG) 3-2:
9-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-8 (84m)
 Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) bt Mahesh Mangaonkar (IND) 3-1:
6-11, 11-7, 11-4, 11-9 (40m)
 Joshua Masters (ENG) bt [L] Ahmed Hosny (EGY) 3-1:
11-2, 11-5, 9-11, 11-3 (31m)
 Lucas Serme (FRA) bt  Iker Pajares Bernabeu (ESP) 3-1:
11-9, 5-11, 11-5, 11-2 (67m)
Draw – Men’s First Round (Top Half): To Be Played April 20
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) v [Q] Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS)
Paul Coll (NZL) v Omar Mosaad (EGY)
Zahed Mohamed (EGY) v Declan James (ENG)
Tom Richards (ENG) v  Simon Rösner (GER)
 Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) v Leo Au (HKG)
Diego Elias (PER) v [Q] Lucas Serme (FRA)
Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) v [Q] Mohamed Reda (EGY)
[Q] Ben Coleman (ENG) v  Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY)
Draw – Men’s First Round (Bottom Half): To Be Played April 21
 Ali Farag (EGY) v Nicolas Mueller (SUI)
Borja Golan (ESP) v [Q] Karim Ali Fathi (EGY)
Max Lee (HKG) v [Q] Raphael Kandra (GER)
[WC] Mostafa Asal (EGY) v  Tarek Momen (EGY)
 Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) v Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL)
Cesar Salazar (MEX) v [Q] Joshua Masters (ENG)
Gregoire Marche (FRA) v [Qualifier]
Mazen Hesham (EGY) v  Gregory Gaultier (FRA)
Results – Final Qualifying Round: Women’s 2018 El Gouna International
 Zeina Mickawy (EGY) bt  Samantha Cornett (CAN) 3-1:
11-6, 10-12, 11-5, 11-3 (36m)
 Mayar Hany (EGY) bt  Danielle Letourneau (CAN) 3-1:
9-11, 11-4, 11-4, 16-14 (44m)
 Liu Tsz-Ling (HKG) bt  Nele Gilis (BEL) 3-1:
11-8, 8-11, 11-9, 12-10 (49m)
 Nadine Shahin (EGY) bt  Yathreb Adel (EGY) 3-1:
6-11, 11-4, 12-10, 11-6 (33m)
Sivasangari Subramaniam (MAS) bt  Millie Tomlinson (ENG) 3-0:
12-10, 11-7, 11-8 (28m)
 Coline Aumard (FRA) bt Rachel Arnold (MAS) 3-1:
11-5, 12-10, 9-11, 11-5 (39m)
 Rachael Grinham (AUS) bt Julianne Courtice (ENG) 3-0:
11-3, 11-8, 11-4 (24m)
 Fiona Moverley (ENG) bt [L] Jana Shiha (EGY) 3-2:
9-11, 11-7, 11-9, 6-11, 11-8 (44m)
Draw – Women’s First Round (Top Half): To Be Played April 20
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) v Emily Whitlock (ENG)
Amanda Sobhy (USA) v  Tesni Evans (WAL)
 Victoria Lust (ENG) v Salma Hany (EGY)
Dipika Pallikal Karthik (IND) v  Camille Serme (FRA)
 Nicol David (MAS) v [Q] Zeina Mickawy (EGY)
[WC] Rowan Elaraby (EGY) v  Joshna Chinappa (IND)
 Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) v Joey Chan (HKG)
[Q] Mayar Hany (EGY) v  Laura Massaro (ENG)
Draw – Women’s First Round (Bottom Half): To Be Played April 21
 Nour El Tayeb (EGY) v [Q] Coline Aumard (FRA)
Hania El Hammamy (EGY) v  Olivia Blatchford (USA)
 Alison Waters (ENG) v Mariam Metwally (EGY)
[Q] Rachael Grinham (AUS) v  Nouran Gohar (EGY)
 Joelle King (NZL) v [Q] Fiona Moverley (ENG)
[Q] Liu Tsz-Ling (HKG) v  Annie Au (HKG)
 Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) v [Q] Nadine Shahin (EGY)
[Q] Sivasangari Subramaniam (MAS) v  Raneem El Welily (EGY)