Monday, May 20, 2024

Nour El Sherbini’s amazing giant-killing act continues as Low Wee Wern crashes

No.1 seed Low Wee Wern falls to sizzing Sherbini in Texas shocker


Malaysian favourite Low Wee Wern suffered at the hands of the sport’s teenage ‘giant-killer’ when she crashed out of the Women’s Champion Fiberglass Texas Open to 18-year-old qualifier Nour El Sherbini in the quarter-finals.

The Egyptian produced one of the shocks of the millennium last month when she downed Malaysia’s world number one Nicol David at the WSA World Championship to become the event’s youngest ever finalist.

Wee Wern, ranked seven in the world, was hoping to avenge her compatriot’s home soil defeat. But it was world No13 El Sherbini that again prevailed in Houston, taking 46 minutes to claim her surprise semi-final berth 11-3, 11-8, 10-12, 11-6.

Alexandria-based El Sherbini (pictured above, left, with Wee Wern), who later this year could win the World Junior title for a record fourth time, now takes on third seed Camille Serme for a place in the final.

French number one Serme, the world No6, ended the run of Australia’s eighth seed Rachael Grinham – beating the 37-year-old former world champion, who made her Texas Open debut in 2002, 8-11, 17-15, 11-6, 11-4 in 47 minutes.

The other semi-final will be the clash predicted by the seedings – featuring Madeline Perry, the defending champion from Ireland, and Dipika Pallikal, India’s top-ranked player who is making her Texas Open debut.

Second seed Perry, ranked eight in the world, avenged her defeat to Emma Beddoes in last month’s WSA Gold Windy City Open by beating the English qualifier 11-7, 9-11, 11-6, 11-8 in 48 minutes.

Fourth seed Dipika Pallikal – with coach Sarah Fitz-Gerald, the Australian legend who won five world titles, in her corner – had to resist a determined fightback by Guyana’s unseeded Nicolette Fernandes before prevailing 11-4, 11-6, 10-12, 10-12, 11-5 in 64 minutes.

[2] Madeline Perry (IRL) bt [Q] Emma Beddoes (ENG) 11-7, 9-11, 11-6, 11-8 (48m)
[4] Dipika Pallikal (IND) bt Nicolette Fernandes (GUY) 11-4, 11-6, 10-12, 10-12, 11-5 (64m)
[3] Camille Serme (FRA) bt [8] Rachael Grinham (AUS) 8-11, 17-15, 11-6, 11-4 (47m)
[Q] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt [1] Low Wee Wern (MAS) 11-3, 11-8, 10-12, 11-6 (46m)

Semi-final line-up:
[2] Madeline Perry (IRL) v [4] Dipika Pallikal (IND)
[Q] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) v [3] Camille Serme (FRA)


There were upsets aplenty in the opening round of the Texas Open.

The championship, which has alternated between Dallas and Houston since its launch in Houston in 2002, has attracted 13 of the world’s top 20 women squash players – led by Malaysia’s world No7 Low Wee Wern.

The 23-year-old top seed from Penang survived a tricky opener, avenging her shock defeat by Sarah-Jane Perry in last year’s British Open by beating the world No18 from England 11-9, 11-9, 9-11, 11-7 in 64 minutes.

“The first three games could have gone either way for both players with some stroke calls hurting both,” reported a spokesman for the event. “In the third they collided and both went down with Perry getting the worst of it.

“After consultation with the on-site physio, and the referee checking on her, Perry was able to win the third. But Wern came out in the fourth with a determined look and went up 7-6 and never looked back.”

Wee Wern summed up the match for her Twitter followers later: “Tough 1st round against Sarah Jane Perry. Glad to come through with a close 3-1 win in 64 mins. Quarters against Nour el Sherbini tomorrow.”

Egyptian teenager Nour El Sherbini produced one of the day’s three upsets: The 18-year-old from Alexandria was a qualifier – but endorsed the quality of the form which earned her a place in last month’s WSA World Championship final by despatching higher-ranked compatriot Omneya Abdel Kawy, the No7 seed from Cairo, 11-4, 11-4, 12-10 in just 29 minutes.

The opening match of the day saw the demise of fifth seed Annie Au. Guyana’s unseeded Nicolette Fernandes led after the first and third games – but the left-hander from Hong Kong, ranked nine in the world, drew level on both occasions.

But the feisty Fernandes, ranked 10 places below, stuck to her guns and closed out the match 12-10, 10-12, 11-5, 8-11, 11-8 after 65 minutes to earn a place in the quarter-finals for the first time.

England’s Emma Beddoes became the second qualifier to make the last eight after upsetting sixth seed Kasey Brown, the WSA President from Australia (pictured below, extreme right, with fellow WSA members at the event’s Welcome Reception), 11-4, 11-5, 4-11, 11-8 in 42 minutes.

Beddoes, the world No23 from Leeds, will now face No2 seed Madeline Perry, the defending champion from Ireland. Perry recovered from a game down to beat Hong Kong qualifier Joey Chan 7-11, 11-4, 11-6, 12-10.

France’s world No6 Camille Serme, the highest-ranked player in the draw, ended domestic interest in the event when she beat New York’s Amanda Sobhy 10-12, 11-6, 11-4, 11-8. The No3 seed, winner of the title in 2012 when last in Houston, progresses to face eighth seed Rachael Grinham.

The 37-year-old twice champion from Australia, who made her Texas Open debut in the inaugural championship in 2002, defeated India’s Joshana Chinappa 11-7, 11-5, 11-5.

But there was Indian success earlier when fourth seed Dipika Pallikal saved five game-balls in the opening game en-route to a 12-10, 11-8, 11-5 victory over Australian qualifier Donna Urquhart. The world No12 from Chennai, making her Texas Open debut, now faces Fernandes for a place in the semi-finals.

1st round:
[2] Madeline Perry (IRL) bt [Q] Joey Chan (HKG) 7-11, 11-4, 11-6, 12-10 (38m)
[Q] Emma Beddoes (ENG) bt [6] Kasey Brown (AUS) 11-4, 11-5, 4-11, 11-8 (42m)
[4] Dipika Pallikal (IND) bt [Q] Donna Urquhart (AUS) 12-10, 11-8, 11-5 (36m)
Nicolette Fernandes (GUY) bt [5] Annie Au (HKG) 12-10, 10-12, 11-5, 8-11, 11-8 (65m)
[8] Rachael Grinham (AUS) bt Joshana Chinappa (IND) 11-7, 11-5, 11-5 (24m)
[3] Camille Serme (FRA) bt Amanda Sobhy (USA) 10-12, 11-6, 11-4, 11-8 (40m)
[Q] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt [7] Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) 11-4, 11-4, 12-10 (29m)
[1] Low Wee Wern (MAS) bt Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) 11-9, 11-9, 9-11, 11-7 (64m)

Quarter-final line-up:
[2] Madeline Perry (IRL) v [Q] Emma Beddoes (ENG)
[4] Dipika Pallikal (IND) v Nicolette Fernandes (GUY)
[3] Camille Serme (FRA) v [8] Rachael Grinham (AUS)
[1] Low Wee Wern (MAS) v [Q] Nour El Sherbini (EGY)

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