Egyptian favourite Raneem El Welily overcomes Alison Waters to delight her home crowd in Cairo
By HOWARD HARDING – Squash Mad Correspondent
Top seed Nicol David and No.3 seed Raneem El Welily will contest the final of the Wadi Degla Women’s World Squash Championship in Cairo – Malaysian David celebrating her eighth appearance in the climax of the premier Women’s Squash Association championship since 2005 and one step away from a record eighth title, and local star El Welily marking her debut world final on her home courts at the Wadi Degla club in the Egyptian capital.
Crowd favourite El Welily faced Alison Waters, the fifth seed who dethroned reigning champion Laura Massaro, her England team-mate, in a major quarter-final upset.
World No.3 El Welily (pictured above, left, with Waters) dominated the first game and overcame a Waters lead in the second to build up a two-game lead.
The Londoner regained the upper hand in the third, moving from 5-0 to 10-3 up before El Welily reduced the deficit to 10-9, when Waters volleyed a loose return into the nick to clinch the game.
El Welily resumed control from the outset of the fourth and, before long, Wadi Degla had its eagerly-awaited finalist.
“I’m very happy, and the people around me make this happy feel ten times stronger,” said the delighted El Welily after her 11-6, 11-9, 9-11, 11-5 victory in 48 minutes.
“But now, time to stop feeling happy, regroup, and get ready for tomorrow,” added the 25-year-old on the eve of her 21st WSA World Tour final.
World number one Nicol David, who was a shock semi-final casualty in the 2013 championship, has been determined to make amends this year. But the firm favourite was fully tested by career-long rival Omneya Abdel Kawy – the No.10 seed from Cairo who was bidding to make it an all-Egyptian final.
Incredibly, it was the pair’s sixth World Championship meeting – and the 20th of all-time, with former world No.4 Abdel Kawy only once the winner.
The Malaysian took the opening game – but the Egyptian underdog soon had the measure of her illustrious opponent and took the next two games, much to the delight of the partisan crowd.
But David (pictured above with Abdel Kawy) regained control from early in the fourth and never looked like relinquishing it as she took the final two games to deny Abdel Kawy a second appearance in the final since 2010.
“Each worlds is a special one,” said David after her 11-9, 9-11, 8-11, 11-5, 11-5 win in 64 minutes. “But this one, in Egypt, for the Egyptians, is pretty special and they really want to do well in front of their home crowd.
“It was a great match, a tough one. Omneya was carried by the crowd today, it was a great atmosphere, I enjoyed every minute of it!”
The victory takes the 31-year-old from Penang into the 97th WSA Tour final of her career. Success in the final would not only extend David’s record world title haul to eight, but would also mark the 78th Tour title of her career.
Wadi Degla Women’s World Squash Championship, Cairo, Egypt
 Nicol David (MAS) bt  Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) 11-9, 9-11, 8-11, 11-5, 11-5 (64m)
 Raneem El Welily (EGY) bt  Alison Waters (ENG) 11-6, 11-9, 9-11, 11-5 (48m)
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Pictures courtesy of www.worldsquashchamps.com