CHENNAI, JULY 21,
Sneha Sivakumar couldn’t have chosen a better city, unwittingly so, to showcase her wares. Born to parents from Chennai, the 17-year-old, representing Singapore, produced her career-best performance yet in the WSF-World junior squash championships here.
Sneha snuffed out a stiff challenge from Ingy Hammouda of Egypt, seeded nine, 7-11, 11-6, 13-11, 7-11, 11-9 on Friday in a cliff-hanger of a pre-quarterfinal that lasted 60 minutes at the ISA courts.
In another upset, Egypt’s Farida Mohamed, younger sister of former world junior champion (2014) Habiba Mohamed, defeated Aifa Azman of Malaysia, the third seed, 15-17, 11-7, 11-7, 4-11, 11-6.
“I came into the tournament with not the best of draws. I thought I would be seeded. I am really happy with my display,” said Sneha. “I didn’t come here with a hope of reaching the quarterfinals. I hope to bring Singapore squash back to life.”
True to expectations, 10 Egyptians have reached the quarterfinals. Top seeds Marwan Tarek (boys) and Rowan Reda Araby (girls) cruised to the last eight.
Like many of Egypt’s players, Hammouda relied on power to outplay Sneha. The Singaporean, though, proved to be clever in her placements as she kept deceiving the ninth seed with immaculate drop shots and double boasts.
Truth be said, Sneha was lucky in the decider. At 7-7, Hammouda appealed to the referee that Sneha had taken the ball which was ‘double bounce’, a rally that Sneha eventually won. Even the Singapore coaching staff sitting on the sidelines said as much, but the referee insisted that Sneha had indeed taken the ball on the first bounce.
From the quarterfinals onward, the tournament will be held at Express Avenue Mall.
CHENNAI, JULY 21,