By JOE RUSSELL
French World No.2 Camille Serme continued her unbeaten start to 2017 after she mounted a superb comeback from two games down to retain her Cleveland Classic title at the expense of England’s former World No.3 Alison Waters in Pepper Pike.
Serme, the 27-year-old from Créteil, has been in scintillating form over the past few months, with victories at the Delaware Investments U.S. Open and J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions cementing her status as the form player on the Women’s Tour.
Serme surged through to the final without dropping a solitary game, with Egyptian qualifier Nadine Shahin, number eight seed Tesni Evans and World No.8 Sarah-Jane Perry all falling by the wayside as the rampant Frenchwoman went on to set up a repeat of the 2016 final with Waters, who was the only player to have beaten Serme in the latter’s 16 previous matches coming into the final.
Waters looked to be set to get the better of her opponent once more after going two games ahead courtesy of some disciplined length hitting, putting the current World No.10 on the cusp of a first PSA World Tour title since the 2014 Carol Weymuller Open.
But Serme responded in the third by attacking at the front of the court on the backhand side and, after winning it by an 11-7 margin, she ground out a victory in the fourth to level the scores and set up a dramatic fifth-game showdown.
With the match edging towards its conclusion, both players played an attritional brand of squash with neither competitor giving many loose shots away as they sought to gain the upper hand.
But it was Serme who changed up her game intelligently, incorporating the lob to great effect as she closed out a 10-12, 9-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-7 victory to lift her third PSA World Tour title in her last four tournaments.
Serme and Waters will be in action at the upcoming Windy City Open presented by Guggenheim Partners and EquiTrust Life Insurance Company, which will be shown live on SQUASHTV and Eurosport Player between February 23 and March 1.
PSA W50 Cleveland Classic 2017, Cleveland Racquet Club, Cleveland, Ohio, USA.
 Camille Serme (FRA) bt  Alison Waters (ENG) 10-12, 9-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-7
 Camille Serme (FRA) bt  Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) 13-11, 11-9, 12-10
 Alison Waters (ENG) bt  Emily Whitlock (ENG) 11-6, 11-8, 11-6
 Camille Serme (FRA) bt  Tesni Evans (WAL) 11-4, 16-14, 11-6
 Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) bt  Victoria Lust (ENG) 11-4, 11-8, 11-6
 Emily Whitlock (ENG) bt  Joshna Chinappa (IND) 11-8, 11-5, 11-5
 Alison Waters (ENG) bt  Nour El Tayeb (EGY) 13-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-5
 Camille Serme (FRA) bt [Q] Nadine Shahin (EGY) 11-7, 11-5, 11-4 (20m)
 Tesni Evans (WAL) bt [Q] Fiona Moverley (ENG) 11-13, 11-8, 11-5, 6-11, 11-5 (61m)
 Victoria Lust (ENG) bt Liu Tsz-Ling (HKG) 11-8, 11-5, 12-10 (23m)
 Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) bt Mariam Metwally (EGY) 11-8, 11-5, 11-7 (24m)
 Joshna Chinappa (IND) bt [Q] Hollie Naughton (CAN) 11-9, 11-4, 11-5 (26m)
 Emily Whitlock (ENG) bt Line Hansen (DEN) 11-7, 9-11, 11-5, 11-2 (39m)
 Nour El Tayeb (EGY) bt [Q] Hania El Hammamy (EGY) 11-8, 11-6, 11-3 (28m)
 Alison Waters (ENG) bt Olivia Blatchford (USA) 11-6, 11-9, 11-2 (29m)
Nadine Shahin (EGY) bt Tamika Saxby (AUS) 11-8, 11-8, 11-8
Hania El Hammamy (EGY) bt Mayar Hany (EGY) 11-7, 11-4, 11-5
Hollie Naughton (CAN) bt Rachael Chadwick (ENG) 11-7, 11-5, 11-3
Fiona Moverley (ENG) bt Sarah Cardwell (AUS) 12-10, 11-8, 11-4
Pictures by ANDREA DAWSON