by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Occupying the top seeded position in the competition, at the final hurdle, he was extended the full seven games distance by Bahrain’s Rashed Sanad, the no.3 seed, only emerging successful by the minimal two point margin in the decider (11-7, 8-11, 11-9, 9-11, 6-11, 11-7, 11-9).
The result underlined the good form of Rashed Sanad; earlier in the week he had guided Bahrain to gold in the Junior Boys’ Team event at the Arab Team Championships.
A hard fought success for Tobias Hippler in the final; at the quarter-final and semi-final stages he had endured less tense times. In the round of the last eight he had accounted for Egypt’s Ahmed Elborhamy (11-8, 11-7, 11-8, 11-3), prior to reserving his place in the final courtesy of success against Mahmoud Helmy, also from Egypt (11-6, 11-3, 11-7, 11-3).
“The atmosphere was electric; it fires your emotions and makes you play better in such situations. After losing the fifth game I hanged my return of service and became more focused.” Tobias Hippler after beating Rashad Saned
Notably, Mahmoud Helmy was a player in form; at the quarter-final stage he had beaten the host nation’s Aboubaker Bourass (13-11, 11-7, 11-13, 10-12, 8-11, 11-8, 11-5), the second round winner over Portugal’s Vitor Amorin, the no.4 seed (13-11, 9-11, 11-5, 5-11, 11-5, 9-11, 11-6).
Six games contests
Impressive wins in the latter stages for Tobias Hippler, it was the same from Rashed Sanad, who emerged successful in two tension packed six games contests.
In the round of the last eight he beat Tunisia’s Omar Ammous, the no.6 seed, prior to overcoming Qatar’s Mohammed Abdulwahhab, the no.2 seed (8-11, 8-11, 11-5, 11-6, 11-2, 11-6).
Same again for Rashed Sanad
Success for Tobias Hippler in the Junior Boys’ Singles event; also he enjoyed Junior Boys’ Doubles success. Again Rashed Sanad suffered; again it was by the minimal two point margin in the deciding game.
Partnering Vitor Amorin, success against Jordan’s Khalid Khader and Rashed Sanad was achieved in a tension packed duel (6-11, 11-8, 11-7, 8-11, 11-9),
Victory and it meant a third title for Tobias Hippler, three days prior he had partnered the Qatari duo of Mohammed Abdulwahhab and Abdulaziz Mohd to Junior Boys’ team gold.
Host nation gold
Titles for visitors, there was success for the host nation; Aboubaker Bourass won the Cadet Boys’ Singles title. At the final hurdle he overcame Egypt’s Ahmed Elborhamy (5-11, 10-12, 13-11, 15-13, 11-5), having one round earlier ousted Abdelrahman Dendan, also from Egypt by the very narrowest of margins (11-6, 11-9, 11-13, 4-11, 11-9).
“For the first two games, I was a little bit surprised by the quality of play of my opponent, so I changed my tactics and used a short serve on his forehand. I won a net point when I was down two-nil and 10-11, that was the key to my victory.” Aboubaker Bourass after beating Ahmed Elborhamy
In the counterpart semi-final, Ahmed Elborhamy had beaten Qatar’s Nawaf Al-Malki (11-7, 12-10, 11-3).
Silver for Egypt, in the Hopes Boys’ Singles event it was to be gold; Ziad Elshawa secured the top prize beating Tunisia’s Khalil Sta in the final (12-10, 6-11, 5-11, 11-5, 11-5).
“I was a little bit afraid before the match as the player from Tunisia has many supporters. I had to prepare every attack well and thanks to the advice of my coach I became confident.” Ziad Elshawa after beating Khalil Sta.
Next stop India
Matters concluded in Hammamet, attention now turns to Indore, the 2016 India Junior and Cadet Open, a Premium Junior Circuit event, commences on Wednesday 7th September.