2019 WCF Women’s Golf Croquet World Championship
February 2–9, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
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The sixth WCF Women’s GC World Championship is underway at the Marewa and Heretaunga clubs in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand. Cheryl Bromley, Donna Dixon, and Sandy Knuth are the US representatives in the field of fifty-six players from eight countries.
The tournament begins with eight blocks of seven players each, each match played as best-of-three games. Four players from each block will qualify to the main Knockout. Each block plays the same schedule, and each of the eight #1 block seeds finished the day 2-0 after playing the #4 and #6 block seeds. The #2 vs. #3 matchups produced a number of mild upsets, including Bromley’s 7-6, 6-7, 7-6 win over Maha El Derdiri (EGY), and teen sensation Eleanor Ross’s (NZ) 7-3, 7-6 win over Mona Hagazi (EGY). A more notable upset was Dixon’s 7-4, 3-7, 7-5 win over Hagazi, an excellent world championship debut match for the American.
Jenny Clarke (NZ), the world's top-ranked female player, continues to cruise through Block A, with a stunning 37 net hoops after eight games. She is currently on a 26-game winning streak across three tournaments. Most of the block #1 seeds remain undefeated.
In the standard WCF block format, the crucial matches involving the #3 through #6 block seeds are played last; these begin tomorrow.
Most of the #1 blocks seeds have finished their block matches and will have a bye day tomorrow. Three players have finished the blocks without dropping a game: Clarke, Soha Mostafa (EGY), and Maram Nabil (EGY).
Bromley and Dixon are both at 3-1 with two matches to play, and each can assure a spot in the Knockout with one more win. Knuth could reach a playoff for a Knockout spot if she wins her final match, depending on how the rest of her block plays out.
Bromley has qualified to the main Knockout by placing 4th in Block B. Dixon and Knuth are both in playoffs to earn Knockout places. Dixon must beat Hagazi, whom she had beaten in the block, to advance. Knuth has beaten Nuran Melksham (AUS) and now needs to beat Kate McLoughlin (AUS), whom she had beaten in the block, to advance.
The day started with the block playoff (tiebreak) games held over from yesterday. Knuth won her second playoff game to earn a Knockout match against Hanan Rashad (EGY), the pre-tournament #3 seed. Knuth was competitive but Rashad advanced to the round of 16 7-5, 7-5. Bromley faced Allison Sharpe (AUS), the pre-tournament #7 seed. Sharpe advanced 7-5, 7-4.
The round of 16 was also completed today. All thirteen Egyptian players qualified to the Knockout, and six of them have reached the quarterfinals, an impressive showing. Two players—Clarke, and Soha Mostafa (EGY)—have yet to drop a game, potentially headed for a semifinal matchup.
In the main Knockout, the quarterfinal matches were played best-of-five, which will be the format for the remaining rounds. Clarke was the only quarterfinalist to advance 3-0, extending her unbeaten streak to 37 games. She will face Soha Mostafa in a highly-anticipated matchup.
The other semi-final will feature two Egyptian players, Iman El Faransawi vs. Manal Koudier. Faransawi, the 2007 champion, is the only previous winner in the field.
In the Bowl, the consolation knockout for players eliminated in the opening round of the main Knockout, Knuth and Bromley both advanced to the quarterfinals, but the potential all-American semifinal was not to be, Knuth and Bromley losing to Kate Logan (AUS) and Maha El Derdiri (EGY), respectively.
There will be a new Women’s World Champion, and she will be Egyptian. Both semifinals in the main Knockout went to five games. Clarke struggled early in her match with Mostafa, who took a two-game lead. Clarke won game 3 with a jump shot through 13, then equalized the match. The decider again went to hoop 13, Mostafa winning to ensure an all-Egyptian final.
Former champion Iman El Faransawi likewise started strongly against Maram Nabil, winning the first two games. But, in a first for a GC world championship semifinal, Nabil came back from 0-2 down to win the match.
Soha Mostafa (EGY) is the new Women’s Golf Croquet World Champion. She beat her compatriot Maram Nabil 7-1, 5-7, 7-3, 7-4. Nabil made a match of it by taking game 2, but Mostafa was strongly favored and controlled most of the match, starting game 1 with a 5-0 lead and game 3 with a 4-0 lead. Coached by three-time open world champion Khaled Younis and playing in the classic hard-hitting Egyptian style, the 29-year-old Mostafa could stay at the top of the game for many years to come.