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September 15, 2018

CAS INTERNATIONAL SQUASH: Egypt’s Soliman and Elarby steal the show


September 15, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Egyptian Youseff Soliman and Rowan Elarby raised the level of their game to the highest point to land the men’s and women’s titles respectively at the CAS International Squash Tournament here at the Mushaf Ali Mir Complex Friday.

World No 47 Youseff Soliman stunned the top seed and 21st ranked Leo Au (Hong Kong) 11-13, 11-13, 11-7, 11-6, 11-6 to win men’s event while teenage sensation and world junior squash champion Elarby got the better of her countrywoman Nada Abbas 11-8, 11-8, 11-2 to win yet another title in such a tender age.

It was nothing less than a treat to watch the $30,000 men’s final where the Egyptian adopted never say die policy as even after going two games down he stayed in the hunt of victory which he ultimately got.

Long rallies were witnessed at the outset of the final with Au getting better on each occasion thanks to his understanding of the game. Both players played neck and neck during the first two games with Leo succeeded in getting the upper hand from start to the finish.

However, the scenario changed totally starting with the third game as Soliman looked fresher and continued to play with same stamina and vein as he was showing at the start. His cross court sizzlers coupled with front courts drops were a treat to watch. Unlike the true tradition of his game Leo looked a bit under pressure, committing one after another mistake to throw the third and then fourth game.

The fifth one also followed the same pattern as Soliman continued tight check, hitting the winner in patches and making Leo run for every shot from one corner to the other. It was better understanding on the part of Soliman that helped him take the title.

“Leo is famous for his fighting spirit. The way I was playing in the event I was confident to take the battle to Leo and I succeeded in that,” Soliman said after winning the title.

The Egyptian, however, praised Leo for making efforts to stay in the match. “He did all he could to stay in the match. But I found my rhythm going and that turned out to be the difference,” Soliman said.

Soliman got richer by $3,550 and was awarded winner’s trophy.

World junior women champion Elarby was a better opponent right from the word go in the women’s final. Her agility, game understanding and wrist work was exceptional throughout the final.

Nada though struggled to unsettle Elarby, she never found ascendency and ultimately lost the final in straight games.

“Nada is more experienced campaigner but I played to a set plan which worked for me,” junior world champion said.

She was all praise for her opponent and said that she did her best to unsettle me.

“My shots were hitting the right place and my rhythm was going well.”

Vice Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal Arshad Malik was the guest of honour and distributed trophies and cash awards to the winners and runners-up.

Pakistan Squash Federation SVP Air Marshal Shahid Akhtar Alvi, Jansher Khan, Jahangir Khan and Qamar Zaman were also present on the occasion and watched the final with keen interest.