By Howard Harding
International squash returned to Egypt for the first time for more than 18 months when many of the world’s leading players convened for battle in the Banque Misr Sky Open, a PSA World Tour International 50 event at the Sky Resort in New Cairo.
Top seed Karim Darwish, the world No 5 from Egypt who won the title in 2009, moved safely into the second round after dispatching English qualifier Youssef Abdalla 11-3, 11-3, 11-5 in the Egyptian born 20-year-old from Essex’s first match against a world top 10 player.
Former world number one Darwish, 32, will now face compatriot Mohamed Abul-Ghar in one of four all-Egyptian last 16 round clashes.
Abul-Ghar, the 20-year-old world No 59 from Giza, defeated Argentina’s Gonzalo Miranda 11-7, 11-8, 11-2.
Second seed Mohamed Elshorbagy, fresh from his maiden PSA World Series title triumph success last week at the Qatar Classic, dispatched qualifier Ahmed Hussein 11-5, 11-3, 11-3 – and will now face England’s Joel Hinds en-route to a predicted all-Egyptian final clash with Darwish.
But Mohamed’s younger brother Marwan Elshorbagy was severely tested in his first round encounter with Jordan’s Ahmad Al-Saraj before taking his place in the second round. The 18-year-old from the Jordan capital Amman was handed a ‘lucky loser’ place in the main draw after the late withdrawal of the top-ranked Czech Republic player Jan Koukal.
The Jordanian teenager, ranked almost 100 places lower than his opponent, twice led Elshorbagy junior before the fifth seed finally prevailed 9-11, 12-10, 9-11, 11-6, 11-9 after 83 minutes.
But two other Egyptian seeds were also taken the full distance before claiming places in the second round. Mohd Ali Anwar Reda, the No 8 seed from Cairo, twice saw Kristian Frost Olesen draw level in the match and then had to survive a tie-break decider before beating the Dane 11-7, 5-11, 11-2, 9-11, 12-10 in 106 minutes.
And it took four minutes longer for sixth seed Omar Abdel Meguid to see off 23-year-old fellow Egyptian Andrew Wagih Shoukry, ranked 25 places lower, 7-11, 11-7, 9-11, 11-8, 11-9 in 110 minutes.
2nd round line-up:
 Karim Darwish (EGY) v Mohamed Abul-Ghar (EGY)
 Mohd Ali Anwar Reda (EGY) v Zahed Mohamed (EGY)
 Marwan Elshorbagy (EGY) v Shaun le Roux (RSA)
 Omar Mosaad (EGY) v [Q] Fares Mohamed Dessouki (EGY)
 Alister Walker (BOT) v Eddie Charlton (ENG)
 Omar Abdel Meguid (EGY) v Jaymie Haycocks (ENG)
 Mazen Hesham Ga Sabry (EGY) v Omar Abdel Aziz (EGY)
 Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) v Joel Hinds (ENG)