Womens World Squash Champs 2016 KL - Reports

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NAZA PSA Women's World Champs 2015(16)
23-30 April, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia ($185k)

WWC Main Page - latest reports, draws

29-Apr, Semi-Finals:        

[1] Laura Massaro (Eng) 3-2 [3] Raneem El Welily (Egy)
          11/2, 7/11, 11/9, 6/11, 12/10 (59m)
[5] Nour El Sherbini
(Egy) 3-0 [8] Nouran Gohar (Egy)
         11/5, 11/5, 11/5 (29m)

Massaro & Sherbini set up repeat final

Two years after they clashed in the final in Penang, Laura Massaro and Nour El Sherbini are set to meet in a second Women's World final in Malaysia after contrasting semi-final wins.

Top seed Massaro was the first player to reach the final as she came through an hour-long up and down tussle with Raneem El Welily.

The Egyptian took her time to get started as Massaro raced through the opening game 11/2, but quickly picked up her game to level 11/7.

Welily maintained the momentum to lea 8-3 and 9-4 in the third, but Massaro regained the lead with a run of seven unanswered points.

Welily levelled again, and in the decider Massaro made a push for the line as she pulled clear to earn four match balls at 10-6. Welily - who let match balls slip against Nicol David in the 2014 final - saved those, but it was the Englishwoman who took the next two points to reach another Worlds final in Malaysia.

"Raneem and I always have battles and she’s such a good player," said Massaro. "She played well in patches, I played well in patches and in some ways it’s a fair result. I went a bit tentative on my match balls and she got it back to 10-all, I thought I was due a point."

The second semi, a repeat of the all-Egyptian British Open final between Sherbini and Nouran Gohar, was much more straightforward as the in-form Sherbini powered through all three games 11/5 to finish the match in just under half an hour.

"I want to win this world title for myself, my country, my family, everyone. I'll give it 100% in the final," said Sherbini.

"Laura will be a tough player though and even though she played a five-setter I know she’ll be ready in the final.

“Every time we’ve played it’s gone to five but I’m hoping the title will be mine this time."

Their 2014 final finished 11/9 in the fifth to the Englishwoman,
so the chances are it will be another cracking climax,
between the current world numbers one and two ...

Photos from Alex Wan




28-Apr, Quarter-Finals:

[3] Raneem El Welily
(Egy) 3-1 [7] Amanda Sobhy (Usa) 
            11/5, 5/11, 12/10, 11/7 (42m)
[1] Laura Massaro (Eng) 3-1 [6] Omneya Abdel Kawy (Egy)
            11/3, 10/12, 11/8, 11/7 (37m)
[5] Nour El Sherbini (Egy) 3-1 [2] Nicol David (Mas)
            14/12, 4/11, 11/3, 11/7 (33m)
[8] Nouran Gohar (Egy) 3-2 [4] Camille Serme
             11/7, 12/10, 7/11, 5/11, 11/8 (64m)

Three Egyptians in the semis
as Sherbini dethrones David ...

Egyptian third seed Raneem El Welily was the first player to reach the semi-finals in KL as she beat American Amanda Sobhy in four games.

Welily was on fire in the first, striking winners from all over the court, but the tables turned in the second with Sobhy on top and the Egyptian camp looking worried.

Welily found her touch again to take a 9/2 lead in the third, but errors again allowed a solid Sobhy back into the game. The Egyptian held on to retake the lead, and was ahead throughout the fourth to reach the semis and extend her H2H lead over Sobhy to 7-1.

Top seed Laura Massaro made sure that it wouldn't be an all-Egyptian semi-final - in the top half at least - when she beat Omneya Abdel Kawy in four games.

Dominant in the first, Massaro found herself on the wrong end of Kawy's delicate skills in the second, but the Egyptian's error count proved costly in the next two games as Massaro moved through to a meeting with Welily in for a place in the final.

"I knew she'd step up her game and give me a tough game today, but I'm happy with how I played and really pleased to be in the semis," said Massaro. "I feel really at home here in Malaysia."

Next up was a much-anticipated clash between home favourite Nicol David, the defending champion, and Nour El Sherbini, the young Egyptian who had beaten David in their last four matches. They were seeded 2 and 5, the reverse of current world rankings, and the match held true to current form.

David, urged on by the home crowd, moved ahead in the first but couldn't convert game balls at 10-7 and 11-10 as Sherbini took the lead 14-12.

David was back on top in the second to quickly level , but in the last two games Sherbini forced the eight-time champion onto the defensive with ferocious hitting, picking off anything loose as she dominated to take the match and end David's reign - as she had in the semi-final in Penang two years ago.

The final match saw a third Egyptian winner as world junior champion Nouran Gohar and Camille Serme engaged in another tough five-setter, as they did in the recent British Open. Gohar took the first two games but Serme tightened up to force a decider.

In the fifth Gohar led 4-1, Serme recovered to lead 7-4, but it was Gohar who was stronger in the end as she closed out the win to set up a meeting with Sherbini.

"I expected a very tough match, Camille is a great fighter," said Gohar, "and like our match in the British Open, it could have gone either way, I just managed to get a couple of points at the end."

Photos from Alex Wan




David's reign ends

27-Apr, Round TWO:
Top eight through to quarters in KL

Round two got under way with a cracker as Amanda Sobhy stormed into a two-game lead over long-time rival Nour El Tayeb, only to see the Egyptian, returning to action from an extended injury layoff, take the next two game to level.

In the decider it was the American whose nerve held as she claimed a quarter-final place with a 12-10 win.

Raneem El Welily was next through, with a straight-games win over Joelle King, followed by top seed Laura Massaro with a simple enough win over Joshna Chinappa.

“I wanted to go out there and make a really fast start and try and be positive from the beginning,” said Massaro.

Home hopes were raised when Delia Arnold took the first game against Omneya Abdel Kawy, but the experienced Egyptian sixth seed took the next three, all close, to clinch a place in the quarter-finals in just under an hour. 

The evening session kicked off with an all-Egyptian match, world junior champion Nouran Gohar beating qualifier Nadine Shahin in three games.

The seeds kept on winning as Camille Serme and home favourite Nicol David beat Englishwomen Sarah-Jane Perry and Alison Waters in straight games.
The last match saw British Open champion Nour El Sherbini beat Annie Au in four games to make it all eight seeds through to the quarters, where Sherbini will meet Nicol David in a repeat of their semi-final in Penang two years ago.

"Nicol is playing here in Malaysia in her home town and everyone is going to come and support her," said Sherbini. "I’m just going to
play and try to do my best and I’m sure it’s going to be a tough one.

26-Apr, Round One (Bottom):

FLASH: Gohar through v Aumard, Shahin dumps Duncalf, Serme stops Chan, Perry passes Blatchford, Annie outlasts Dipika  ... Sherbini half-dozens Donna ... David survives in five ... Waters in four ...

Last sixteen decided in KL as David escapes

The second day of first round action saw an early upset as teenage Egyptian qualifier Nadine Shahin beat former finalist Jenny Duncalf in straight games, setting up a second round meeting with world junior champion Nouran Gohar, a repeat of their BJO final earlier in the year.

There was almost a much bigger upset as former champion Rachael Grinham rolled back the years to take a 2-1 lead over home favourite Nicol David, but the eight-time and defending champion cruised through the last two games to allay the crowd's worries.

Elsewhere there were wins for Alison Waters, Annie Au, Camille Serme and Sarah-Jane Perry.

Full report  from Alex Wan

Nadine Shahin delivered the sole upset of the Naza PSA Women’s World Championship after knocking out England’s Jenny Duncalf.

And it could have been two upsets, probably the biggest upset in world meet history, after Malaysian squash queen Nicol David survived a harrowing five-setter against Australia’s Rachael Grinham.

In a thrilling contest between two world champions, Nicol, the world number five, needed to throw out everything she had before pulling off an 11-4, 8-11, 8-11, 11-1, 11-2 win over the 39-year-old Grinham.

The eight-time world title holder had started strongly taking the first 11-4 in a flash. But Grinham, world champion in 2007, had other ideas as she changed tactics and played one amazing shot after another to take the next two 11-8.

Nicol however regained her composure and took 11 straight points in the fourth to level the tie. That took the fight out of Grinham as Nicol eventually completed the comeback in 46 minutes.

“I think Rachael got a string of winners in the second and she certainly caught me off guard with a few shots,” said Nicol. “I knew I had to figure out something in the third but she was four to five points ahead and she started taking her chances.

“I had to step it up in and stay in the rallies. I forced my game through and I felt that it was taking a toll on her.

“I’m glad to get through. It’s a bit of excitement for the crowd too as it’s not often you meet another world champion in the first round,” added Nicol who takes on England’s Alison Waters in the second round.

While Nicol squeezed through, the day certainly belonged to 18-year-old Shahin who continued her amazing march by beating former world number two Duncalf 11-6, 11-7, 11-9 in 30 minutes.

“I’m really thrilled and speechless. It’s the first time that I have made the last 16 of any World Series event,” said the world number 50 who came through the qualifiers. “It really means everything to me as I’ve never beaten Jenny before. But it’s still not over yet for me.”

Shahin will take on good friend and world number seven Nouran Gohar, who eliminated qualifier Coline Aumard 10-12, 11-6, 11-5, 11-7.

“Nadine is like my best friend and we play each other a lot in training and we really know each other’s game. I’m just hoping to enjoy our match tomorrow,” said Gohar.

A third Egyptian - pre-tournament favourite and world number Nour El Sherbini also powered through after beating Australia’s Donna Urquhart 11-6, 11-6, 11-6.

“It looked easy but it’s really not easy. The last time I played Donna I only beat her in five so I knew what to expect and how tough it was,” said Sherbini. “I’m always happy to end it in three though and it gives me some confidence getting past the first round.”

Sherbini next meets Hong Kong’s Annie Au, who recovered from blowing a two-set lead to beat India’s Dipika Pallikal 11-8, 11-9, 6-11, 6-11, 11-7.

“I’ve played Annie many times and I know she has good hands. She’s so skillful and it’s not going to be easy against her,” said Sherbini.

French fourth seed Camille Serme also went through after beating qualifier Joey Chan of Hong Kong 11-9, 11-6, 5-11, 11-4 to set up a second round match with England’s Sarah-Jane Perry.

25-Apr, Round One (Top):
According to plan on Day three ...
Alex Wan reports

The first round of the Naza PSA Women’s World Championship got off to a quick start as the afternoon session turned into a whitewash, and all the seeded players made it through to the last sixteen.

World number 12 Nour El Tayeb, making her first appearance since the US Open last year, needed just minutes to beat Hong Kong qualifier Liu Tsz Ling 11-6, 11-7, 11-3.

The 23-year-old showed no signs of that shoulder injury that laid her out for six months as she quickly sealed her place in the second round.

“This was my first match in six months and I spoke with my coaches on how to prepare myself for this match,” said El Tayeb.“I’ve watched her play before and I knew what to expect. I was more focused on my own game and it’s a good win as I look to build up my confidence match by match.

“I’m also feeling a lot stronger since my injury. I had surgery after the US Open and I don’t think I’ll be doing anymore dives or splits for a while.”

After El Tayeb, seventh seed Amanda Sobhy got the job done even quicker as she took 23 minutes to beat Kiwi qualifier Megan Craig 11-4, 11-5, 11-2.

Raneem El Welily and Omneya Abdel Kawy completed the first session of the day as they both recorded identical 3-0 wins, both in 27 minutes.

“It was actually tough for me, from the mental point of view. It was the first match after all. But even though I was all nervous inside, I managed to look calm in front of everyone,” said world number three El Welily.“It’s still too early to tell how I’ll do but I’m definitely happy with the way I played today.”

The evening session had India’s top player Joshna Chinappa kicked off with a rather easy 11-8, 11-3, 11-5 win. Joshna had control of the match and was cruising along as Lust struggled with her shots and grew increasingly frustrated with herself.

The tournament nearly lost its top seed and world number one Laura Massaro in the first round. The Englishwoman, famed for her incredible mental strength and ability to dig herself out of a bad spot, however came back strong to beat Mexico’s Samantha Teran 9-11, 13-11, 11-6, 11-3.

“The court felt bouncier when I practiced on it a few days ago. Today it just felt more dead and I struggled with my length as she picked me off early,” said Massaro. “I was also feeling a little flat emotionally and I had to change my body language a little and lengthen the rallies a little more.

"At 5-9 down in the second, that was when the pressure lifted on me a little and I managed to dig in and hold on.”

Massaro, the 2013 world champion, takes on Chinappa in the second round.

The crowd was slowly building up for the Malaysian double header later in the evening. But former world number five Low Wee Wern was unable to deliver as she crashed out in straight sets despite a good display against New Zealand’s Joelle King.

Wee Wern, who missed months of action due to an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury, lost 9-11, 6-11, 7-11 to the Kiwi.

The Malaysian did however had something to cheer as world number 15 Delia Arnold delivered a classy performance to beat Egyptian qualifier Mariam Metwally.

Delia who has never gotten past the first round of the world meet in six previous attempts, won 12-10, 10-12, 12-10, 11-9 to set up a second round clash with Kawy.

“It was my first time meeting Mariam and I knew it was going to be a tough match. But I played well enough to win in four. Now I have a day’s rest before I prepare to take on Omneya,” said Delia.


24-Apr: Qualifying finals
Top seeds fail to make main draw in KL
as supermom Natalie bows out ...

Alex Wan reports

The qualifying rounds of the Naza PSA Women’s World Championship started on a strong note and ended in superb fashion as well.

Mariam Metwally, another rising star from Egypt was the first through to the main draw after she defeated compatriot Amina Yousry in five games. The 19-year-old, ranked 39th in the world however, did not have it easy as she fought hard for an 11-13, 11-2, 11-2, 9-11, 11-9 win over the 16-year-old Amina.

It was a superb match between two talented Egyptians which had excellent shot-making and retrieval, and world number 51 Amina struck first blood by taking the first 13-11.Mariam however, came back very strongly to take the second and third sets with identical 11-2 score lines.

Amina, the youngest player in this tournament however levelled by taking the fourth 11-9. In the end however it was Mariam who had a little extra in reserve as she completed the win in 68 minutes.

“I was nervous in the first because she is younger than me and I’ve never played her before,” said Mariam.“Amina also played really, really well. She’s one of the best upcoming players in her age group. I was more calmed in the second and third to win 11-2 and that’s when I thought I would have it easier. I was just too relaxed and I got sleepy. But I kept fighting until the end and I hope to do better in the main draw.”

Mariam who is making the main draw of the world meet for the second time, takes on Malaysian No.2 Delia Arnold on Monday.

On the next court, Mexico’s sixth seeded Samantha Teran came through with an easy 11-5, 11-7, 11-8 win over Dutch player Milou van der Heijden.

Hong Kong also had a pair of players - Joey Chan and Liu Tsz Ling - both easing into the main draw.

There would be no happy returns for supermom Natalie Grinham after she was denied a place in the main draw by Olivia Blatchford. The 38-year-old, runner-up at the world meet when it was held in KL in 2004, lost out 7-11, 9-11, 7-11 to the American.

“Honestly, Natalie is a fantastic player and I really admired her. I watched her over the years and I’ve always learned from her,” said Blatchford. “She’s incredible as well, having two kids and yet coming back to play. I really didn’t know how to play her. Everyone I asked said they hadn’t played her in years. So Iwas just trying to deprive her of those angles as she is very creative in her game.”

Fifth seeded Coline Aumard also battled from a game down to beat Japan’s Misaki Kobayashi 7-11, 11-2, 11-7, 11-8 but seventh seed Fiona Moverley of England was sent packing by New Zealand’s Megan Craig. The 23-year-old Craig won 11-7, 13-11, 11-9 and she meets US’ Amanda Sobhy in the main draw.

The final qualifying match of the day was another cracker as 18-year-old Nadine Shahin of Egypt produced a top-notch performance to beat second seed Line Hansen of Denmark. The world No.50 was just too good on the day as she won 10-12, 11-7, 11-7, 11-4 and earn herself a date with England’s Jenny Duncalf in the main draw.

“It’s the first time I made the main draw of the worlds. I tried two years ago in Egypt but I didn’t get through,” said an elated Nadine. It’s also my first time beating Line. It’s really the first for everything and I still can’t believe it.”
23-Apr, Qualifying Round One:
Amina Yousry beats top seed Fernandes
as locals bow out ...
Alex Wan reports

The much awaited Naza PSA Women’s World Championship finally got underway at the National Squash Centre, Bukit Jalil.

And first day of qualifying got off to a bang as 16-year-old Egyptian Amina Yousry proved her credentials as yet another emerging talent with an upset of qualifying top seed Nicolette Fernandes.

The world No.51 played with power and maturity beyond her tender years as she dispatched world No.24 Fernandes with an 11-6, 11-6, 13-11 win in 34 minutes.

On the next court, another Egyptian teenager - Mariam Metwally was getting the job done even faster as she rushed her way to an 11-1, 11-3, 11-1 win over Lotte Eriksen of Norway. Metwally’s match took just 16 minutes - the fastest match of the day.

Malaysia had eight players in the qualifying rounds and Rachel Arnold had the best opportunity as she took on Holland’s Milou van der Heijden.

The SEA Games gold medallist however, will live to regret this day as she blew five match ball opportunities in the deciding rubber to lose 6-11, 8-11, 12-10, 11-8, 10-12.

The 20-year-old Rachel had saved a match ball in the third set and appeared to have gained the momentum over van der Heijden.

Inexperience and nerves got the better of her eventually as the Dutch player stole the win after 47 minutes.

“I don’t think I’ll be able to sleep tonight. It’ll probably be a while before I get over this loss,” said Rachel. “I think I got too excited in the end and I was too eager to finish it off. Maybe I should have tried my best to hang in there and it’s definitely a hard lesson learned for me.”

World No.46 van der Heijden however was pleased with herself for the comeback win. “I just kept trying and I just told myself not to give up,” said van der Heijden. It was tough because after two sets I was struggling to get to her shots.

“Maybe it was experience on my part but I’m just very happy to go through. Tomorrow is a new day and I’ll be trying my best again.”

Rachel was indeed the closest to pulling off a win as the other seven - S. Sivasangari, Vanessa Raj, Andrea Lee, Zoe Foo, Aika Azman,Teh Min Jie and Nazihah Hanis came nowhere close.

World No.73 Sivasangari, who won three straight PSA titles in a row, can however stand tall after giving Egypt’s world No.50 Nadine Shahin a fight before losing 8-11, 4-11, 12-10, 7-11.

“I’m just so tired after playing so many matches in the last two weeks. I tried to give chase in the third and fourth sets but while I was mentally strong, physically I was spent,” said Sivasangari.

The 18-year-old Nadine now holds a 3-0 record over Sivasangari but she admits each match just got tougher.

“She just won three titles in a row and she came up with a lot of confidence. We’ve always had tough encounters in the past but this was definitely the hardest,” said Shahin.

“But I’m happy to get into the next round. It’ll be tough again but we are hungry players and I’ll do my best,” added Shahin who takes on second seed Line Hansen next.

The other qualifying matches were all straightforward affairs, except for eighth seed Liu Tsz Ling’s encounter with Australia’s Christine Nunn.

The world No.30 had to fight her way to an 11-9, 11-9, 8-11, 9-11, 11-9 win over the world No.40 in a match that lasted exactly an hour.

“The last time I played Christine I won 3-2 and it was just as hard this time,” said Tsz Ling. She now meets Wales’ Deon Saffery for a place in the main draw.

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