Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Dazzling Delia Arnold rocks Raneem El Welily to reach British Open semi-finals

Dazed and delighted: Delia Arnold is through to the semi-finals as Raneem El Qelily exits the British Open
Dazed and delighted: Delia Arnold is in the semi-finals as Raneem El Welily exits the British Open

I never thought I’d get this far, says a delighted Delia

In one of the most dramatic and surprising quarter finals in British Open history – Malaysia’s Delia Arnold has stunned World No.2 Raneem El Weleily 4-11, 16-14, 10-12, 11-6, 12-10 to reach the semi-finals of the Allam British Open.

unnamedArnold played some of the best squash of her career to keep the Egyptian at bay, battling back from 2-1 down to win a tense fifth game 12-10.

The World No.29, famous for her pink socks, has been on a giant-killing run in the oldest and most prestigious squash tournament, having taken out World No.3 Alison Waters and World No.11 Annie Au in previous rounds.

An overwhelmed Arnold said afterwards: “I never thought I would reach the semi-finals of the British Open.

“It was mentally exhausting but I kept telling myself I could do it and to hang in there and be patient with her and it worked. I’m just really surprised, hopefully I’ll just keep on going!”

She meets Camille Serme in the semi-finals after the French No.1 beat Nour El Sherbini in a five-game classic, winning 6-11, 11-7, 7-11, 11-9, 11-9 in 66 minutes.

Laura Massaro, who won the Open in 2013, looked impressive as she beat New Zealand’s Joelle King 11-6, 11-2, 11-7.

In her first tournament since taking a break from the sport after suffering from fatigue, Massaro looked confident at the front of the court and dominated her opponent.

unnamedAfter a massive fist pump (left) at the close of the match, she said: “That means a lot to me. To make the final last year and win it the year before were such great experiences.

“I desperately wanted to make the semis and go further if I could. It feels more and more homely here each year. I love coming back to Hull. I feel like I’m at home here.”

She was sympathetic to her opponent, who has only recently returned to action after an injury break.

Massaro said: “I don’t think that match was a true reflection of Joelle’s pre-Achilles injury.

“I thought Joelle was lacking a little bit in her movement compared to before her injury but she’s done great to get to the quarter finals. It’s great to have her back on the tour.”

Perry put up a great fight against the formidable world champion David, who won five points in a row at the end of the third from game ball down to win 11-6, 11-8, 12-10.

Speaking to the Hull crowd afterwards, David commented: “SJ is such a tough and talented player to be up against. Tomorrow’s match against Laura should be a really great semi-final.”

Allam British Open, Hull, England. Women’s Quarter-Finals:

[Q] Delia Arnold (MAS) bt [2] Raneem El Welily (EGY) 4-11, 16-14, 10-12, 11-6, 12-10 (69m)
[3] Laura Massaro (ENG) bt [10] Joelle King (NZL) 11/6, 11/2, 11/7 (33m)
(6) Camille Serme (France) beat (4) Nour El Sherbini 6-11, 11-7, 7-11, 11-9, 11-9  (66m)
(1) Nicol David (Malaysia) beat (13) Sarah-Jane Perry (England) 11-6, 11-8, 12-10 (47m)


Pictures by STEVE LINE (www.squashpics.com) 


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