Pallikal powers past Perry as Sherbini downs Serme to set up final thriller
By HOWARD HARDING
After pulling off significant upsets in the semi-finals of the Women’s Champion Fiberglass Texas Open in the USA, India’s No4 seed Dipika Pallikal and Egyptian qualifier Nour El Sherbini will contest the final of the Women’s Squash Association Gold 50 event at The Downtown Club at the Met in Houston.
Former Asian Junior Champion Pallikal marched into the biggest Tour final of her career in sensational style. The 22-year-old world No12 from Chennai battled for 75 minutes – enduring three tie-break games – to beat second seed Madeline Perry, the Irish number one ranked four places higher in the world, 11-7, 11-13, 13-11, 10-12, 11-4
The win, which levels her Tour head-to-head record with Perry to two-all, takes Pallikal (pictured above, left, with Perry) into her first Tour final of the year, but the 12th of her career.
El Sherbini maintained the magnificent form which saw the teenager become the youngest player in history to reach theWSA World Championship final last month when, unseeded, she scored a series of upsets in Malaysia – including the scalp of the world number one Nicol David.
In her fifth Tour meeting with third seed Camille Serme, the 18-year-old from Alexandria defeated the world No6 from France 11-5, 11-9, 9-11, 11-6 in 55 minutes to move into the seventh Tour final of her career.
El Sherbini (pictured above with Serme, left) leapt from 27 to 13 in the WSA World Rankings after her historic World Championship run in March – and can already be sure to improve on this position in the May list.
The final will mark the third Tour meeting between Pallikal and El Sherbini since June 2010 – with Pallikal looking for her maiden win.
 Dipika Pallikal (IND) bt  Madeline Perry (IRL) 11-7, 11-13, 13-11, 10-12, 11-4 (75m)
[Q] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt  Camille Serme (FRA) 11-5, 11-9, 9-11, 11-6 (55m)
Texas Open images courtesy of Martin Langley