World No.67 Hana Ramadan caused a huge upset in the first all-Egyptian battle at this year’s CIB Black Ball Open Squash after she took out compatriot Mariam Metwally in a five-game battle at the Black Ball Sporting Club in Cairo.
Ramadan, who is ranked 33 places below Metwally, started brightly and showing her talented racket skills to take the opening game and put Metwally under pressure.
However, Ramadan’s resolve soon began to wane in the second and third with Metwally fighting back to take them and move into the lead for the first time in the match, as it looked as though Ramadan’s – who was a reserve for this tournament but due to withdrawals came into the main draw – inexperience was costing her.
The 22-year-old soon got back to the tactics that were serving her well in the first, however, as she hit back at Metwally to make it difficult for the higher-seeded player in patches and was able to close out 11-8, 6-11, 5-11, 11-7, 11-5 in a quickfire five-game battle.
“I’m good friends with a lot of players and I felt like I was missing out on the tour experience,” said Ramadan, who will face compatriot Nadine Shahin in round two.
“I’m still young, so I might as well play until I can’t. I came into this tournament as a reserve player, so I came in with the mentality that I have nothing to lose and I’m excited to be in the tournament and really looking forward to the second round.
“I had to calm down a bit and try to get back my length. She was putting me under a lot of pressure with all of her kills and short shots and I was just trying to keep her away from the T.”
Elsewhere, World No.26 Millie Tomlinson prevailed in the all-English battle taking place on the traditional court as she took out World No.54 Rachael Chadwick by an 11-7, 11-7, 4-11, 11-4 margin in 35 minutes.
Tomlinson will go onto play reigning World Champion Nour El Sherbini in the next round.
“Rachael is playing well at the moment, so I was a bit nervous today,” said Tomlinson.
“It was a clean match, good squash and I really enjoyed it. Plus, it was a fast court, which I like.
“I feel that I’m quite gritty when I play squash, I’m resilient and hang in there well, but I still lack confidence in my short game. My aim this season was to reach top 16, and I’m 26, so I am not too happy at the moment. But I’m training with Coline [Aumard] and Tinne [Gilis] in Nottingham and it’s good.”
Millie Tomlinson (ENG) bt Rachael Chadwick (ENG) 3-1: 11-7, 11-7, 4-11, 11-4 (35m)
Hana Ramadan (EGY) bt Mariam Metwally (EGY) 3-2: 11-8, 6-11, 5-11, 11-7, 11-5 (42m)