by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Now 37 years old, a locker full of experience, Ahmed Ali Saleh, set the example, the top seed, he beat Qatar’s Fahed Almughanne in four straight games (11-8, 11-1, 11-9, 11-5).
Likewise, compatriot Mohamed El-Beiali followed suit; he showed no hint of charity. He accounted for Algeria’s Aissa Belkadi by a similar margin (11-7, 11-5, 11-3, 11-4).
Straight games wins for Ahmed Ali Saleh and Mohamed El-Beiali; it was the same for Algeria’s Sami Kherouf, the no.3 seed, he overcame Morocco’s Mostafa Remmal (11-8, 11-5, 12-10, 11-8). Meanwhile, for Adem Hmam, the no.4 seed, life was only marginally more difficult. He needed five games to end the hopes of Yemen’s Fahed Abdul Mohamed Hakeem (11-13, 11-7, 11-5, 11-9, 11-3).
At the semi-final stage Ahmed Ali Saleh meets Adem Hmam, Sami Kherouf opposes Mohamed El Beiali.
Success for Egypt and it is very much the same scenario in the Women’s Singles event; a competition which involved two initial stage groups with players finishing in first and second places advancing to the semi-finals.
Yousra Helmy and Farah Abdel-Aziz, the top two seeds, duly finished in first places with Algeria’s Katia Kessaci, the no.4 seed and Lebanon’s Mariana Sahakian, the respective runners up. The appearance of Mariana Sahakian in the penultimate round was somewhat of a surprise.
In the crucial contest to determine second place in the group, she overcame Algeria’s Islem Laid, the no.3 seed, a confrontation in which she recovered from a two games to nil deficit to secure victory (7-11, 7-11, 11-7, 13-11, 11-8).
Semi-finalists decided, Yousra Helmy meets Mariana Sahakian; Farah Abdel-Aziz opposes Katia Kessaci.
The semi-finals and finals of both the Men’s Singles and Women’s Singles events will be played on Sunday 20th August, the closing day of play in Muscat.
Photos: Ismail Mohamed Alfarsi