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It’s third time lucky for El Tayeb

At the third time of asking, Nour El Tayeb finally became World Junior Champion tonight at Harvard University’s Murr Center, but Nour El Sherbini made sure that the top seed had to work for the win, and how.

Just as it had in their previous meeting in the final in 2009, the first game went well for El Tayeb, who took and early lead of 4/1 and, with a combination of her own winners and a couple of errors from the younger of the Egyptians, extended it to 9/3 before closing out the game 11/5 with one of those contorted body dropshots that only she can do (the photo says it all). But, and again just as it had in 2009, the second game went away from El Tayeb. From 2-all the roles were reversed as some Sherbini winners and Tayeb tins gave El Sherbini a 9/3 lead. El Tayeb tossed the game away with a couple of speculative returns of serve, all the better to regroup for the third, so she hoped.

There were no such runs of points in the next two games though, both were close, and tense, all the way, full of quality squash and not a little tension. From 3-all to 7-all went the third, but then a volley kill, a tin and a stroke put daylight between them and El Tayeb regained the lead with a big “Yes” at El Sherbini tinned again.

The fourth was much the same story – 2-all, 4-all, 6-all, but again it was El Tayeb who made the break. A stroke, a dropshot and a dying length made it 9/6. A volley drop that drew appreciative applause and another “Yes” brought up match ball 10/7.

El Tayeb couldn’t resist going for a long dropshot on the first, tinned of course, but she didn’t need to try again as a final El Sherbini boast clipped the tin and Nour El Tayeb was, at long last, World Champion.

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