World’s top two Nicol David and Raneem El Welily take to the court in Windy City Open final
By HOWARD HARDING – Squash Mad Correspondent
The world’s top two squash players, Nicol David and Raneem El Welily, will contest the women’s final of the Windy City Open presented by Guggenheim and EquiTrust Life Insurance Company.
Malaysian world number one David and Egypt’s El Welily, the world No.2, prevailed in contrasting semi-finals of the WSA World Series event at the University Club of Chicago in Chicago, USA.
After her shock quarter-final exit at the Tournament of Champions in New York in January, David has been in scintillating form.
The 31-year-old from Penang swept through the field of the WSA International Cleveland Classic in Ohio last month to win the title without dropping a game – and extended this straight games run in Chicago with an 11-9, 13-11, 12-10 semi-final victory over Egypt’s eighth seed Nour El Tayeb.
The win takes David into the 99th WSA World Tour final of her career – one step away from her 80th title triumph!
“I tried hard to stick to my game plan tonight and to keep my focus and I really fought hard and dug deep in each of those games to make sure she did not take them,” explained the Malaysian, who has topped the women’s world rankings unopposed since August 2006.
“It’s exciting to be here in Chicago playing this tournament and it’s fantastic for women’s squash that there is equal prize money for the women – and to be in with a chance of winning the title makes it extra special.
“I’m very pleased to be in the final and I’m going to prepare for the final tomorrow to make sure I am ready.”
El Welily, winner of the 2015 Tournament of Champions title, is unbeaten by any player on the WSA Tour – except for David – since October last year.
But the 26-year-old from Cairo was taken the full distance before surviving her Chicago semi-final against France’s Camille Serme.
The pair have been rivals throughout their careers – and contested both the World Junior Championship and British Junior U19 Open finals in 2007.
Sixth seed Serme opened up a 2-1 lead in their latest encounter, but El Welily regained control in the fourth before closing out the match 11-8, 8-11, 8-11, 11-9, 11-3 in 58 minutes to extend her Tour head-to-head record over the world No.6 from Creteil to 6-2.
David and El Welily will be celebrating their 21st Tour meeting since July 2006, and their 11th in a final. The Malaysian currently leads the head-to-head 17-3.
Windy City Open presented by Guggenheim and EquiTrust Life Insurance Company, Chicago, USA
 Nicol David (MAS) bt  Nour El Tayeb (EGY) 11-9, 13-11, 12-10 (52m)
 Raneem El Welily (EGY) bt  Camille Serme (FRA) 11-8, 8-11, 8-11, 11-9, 11-3 (58m)
Pictures by MARIAN KRAUS and Tournament of Champions