QF: Fram reports – Hania El Hammamy 3/1 Rowan Elaraby

[2] Hania El Hammamy (EGY) 3-1 [9] Rowan Elaraby (EGY) 11-4, 6-11, 11-6, 11-7 (51m)

Next opponent: Nouran Gohar

Those two are very good friends. They enjoy each other’s company and have known each other on and off court since they were kids. Their junior battles have punctuated the BJO and the World Juniors. For a little period, Rowan seem to fall a bit below the radar. She regrouped, changed coach and now has found a good balance with Engy Kheirellah and just added Shenawy, young coach to Hana Moataz, to her team.

Rowan is a worrier. I don’t mean warrior, she is that as well, but she is often extremely nervous before matches, and it has cost her a few defeats in the past. But today I was truly pleased to see her getting on court from the beginning with her mind in the right place, and her skills well sharpened.

A bit like in the previous match, she lost the first game, but played very well in it I thought. Hania was more powerful and very accurate, 4/1, 8/2, 9/3 11/4 in 11m.

The second saw Rowan in the form she had when she beat Gina Kennedy. She was attacking and taking the game to Hania, with lovely crispy attacks to the front, with a solid length and width, forcing Hania to retrieve, and preventing her from finding her own attacks.

From 2/2, 5/2 for Rowan, then 7/3, 8/4, 10/5, 11/6 in 11m.  Not a single error from Rowan in that second game, 8 winners, only 3 winners for Hania.

After chatting to her brother Karim – her actual coach Karim Darwish not being able to coach her as both girls are in his club, Wadi Degla – Hania was more or less in control of the rest of the match. 2/0, 6/2, 7/3, 10/4, 11/6, 7 winners for Hania, 12m game.

In the fourth, a good response from Rowan, 4/2, but Hania strings 6 points to 8/4. Some lovely rallies and a positive attitude from Rowan will allow her to come back as close as 7/9, but one match ball is enough for Hania, who closes the fourth 11/7 in 11. 9 winners and 4 for Rowan.


Hania : “Always tough against Rowan. Ever since juniors, we’ve had battles, and she found her way through all the junior matches, and I think it’s my time now. We played in the quarters this year, but I’m sure one year we’ll be playing in the final. I believe this day will come. It’s always enjoyable against her, especially when you both have a lot of history. She’s feisty and I’m feisty and it’s a battle of who can hold their nerves.

“Against Nouran, t’s one hell of a battle and it’s one that I always look forward to. It’s very tough and this is why I play squash, it’s a 50/50 match and whoever plays the big points better will win the match. Last year I won in five and it was a couple of points away from reaching the final and all the matches as well as the one at the Worlds were close.

“It’s always enjoyable and this is why I play squash. Hopefully tomorrow I can play the right tactics and reach the final.”