Eight-times winner bows out to Camille Serme
By SEAN REUTHE in Chicago
Malaysia’s eight-time World Champion Nicol David has made her final ever appearance at the sport’s pinnacle tournament after a 3-1 defeat to France’s Camille Serme in the third round of the 2018-2019 PSA World Championships presented by the Walter Family, which is currently talking place inside the Great Hall of Chicago’s Union Station.
David, the 35-year-old from Penang, last week announced that she will retire from the sport at the end of this season and she holds more World Championship titles than any other woman, winning the event eight out of ten times between 2005 and 2014.
David had won 16 of her 18 PSA Tour matches against Serme and started on the front foot as she rose to the occasion, holding the French player off to take a one-game lead. But Serme controlled the court well from that moment onwards and came back to win 9-11, 11-4, 11-4, 11-5 to deny David the chance at a fairytale ending.
“She beat me so many times and of course she is a legend and it’s an honour to be her last match at the World Championships,” said Serme.
“She’s such a fighter, even in the last game, I was 6-0 up, I had really good length and she came out firing and I thought she could come back, so I had to push really hard.
“She used to be called “Duracell” because she was physically so strong, and I think that’s why the top girls push themselves so hard because she was so physical. She’s so fair as well, she never cheats and she will always say ‘good shot’, it’s just so enjoyable to play against her.”
David said: “It’s been so great to be part of this major event. It’s our first $1 million event and I got a chance to play in it, which is great.
“Squash has come a long way, so to get this far is a thrill for me. With [this being] my last Worlds, I gave it my all, I’ll take whatever I got and I really enjoyed my match today.”
Serme will play New Zealand’s Joelle King in the quarter-finals after she dispatched Hong Kong’s Joey Chan, while two-time World Champion Nour El Sherbini (pictured) survived a thrilling five-game encounter with United States No.1 Amanda Sobhy to end home hopes at the event.
Buoyed by a partizan crowd, Sobhy went a game up on two occasions, but El Sherbini dug in to take the win, displaying her title winning credentials with a 10-12, 11-3, 4-11, 11-8, 11-7.
“This is the third time [playing Sobhy since the American’s achilles injury] and every match is getting better and better,” said El Sherbini.
“This time was the toughest one and I didn’t want to leave the tournament that early, so I had to fight until the end and I’m really glad I won this one. I just tried to put the ball back deep into the corners and attack more, but I think she was also doing the same.”
El Sherbini will play Welsh No.1 Tesni Evans for a place in the semi-finals after Evans got the better of World No.6 Sarah-Jane Perry, winning 11-6, 11-8, 8-11, 11-7 in 45 minutes to reach the last eight for the second year running.
Meanwhile, Germany’s World No.4 Simon Rösner had a huge battle on his hands against Spanish veteran Borja Golan as he recovered from 2-1 to become the first German player ever to reach the quarter-finals of the World Championships.
Rösner was tested throughout a mammoth 93-minute battle with former World No.5 Golan but came out on top to see off the 36-year-old by an 9-11, 11-7, 10-12, 11-5, 11-5 scoreline.
“I’ve had my best results in the US, so of course that’s something that’s in the back of your mind,” said Rösner.
“Each point, each game and each match is different so you’ve just got to be at your best throughout.”
World No.2 Ali Farag and New Zealand’s Paul Coll will also do battle in the last eight after they advanced courtesy of respective wins against Egyptian pair Mazen Hesham and Fares Dessouky.
“I’m lucky that he didn’t start firing in the first two,” said Farag (right).
“I did my homework and studied him well and I think it paid off. Two of my three biggest titles have come on US soil – first with the US Open with Nour and then last month the ToC, which got me to that number one spot [in March]. I have great memories here and hopefully it’s going to be a third one.”
The quarter-finals begin at 17:00 (GMT-6) on Wednesday February 27 and all of the action from Union Station will be broadcast live on SQUASHTV (Rest of World) Eurosport Player (Europe only) and on the the official Facebook page of the PSA World Tour.
2018-2019 PSA World Championships presented by the Walter Family, Union Station, Chicago, USA.
Men’s Third Round (Bottom Half):
 Simon Rösner (GER) bt Borja Golan (ESP) 3-2: 9-11, 11-7, 10-12, 11-5, 11-5 (93m)
 Saurav Ghosal (IND) bt Joel Makin (WAL) 3-1: 11-13, 11-7, 11-7, 14-12 (80m)
 Paul Coll (NZL) bt  Fares Dessouky (EGY) 3-1: 11-5, 11-6, 6-11, 11-8 (71m)
 Ali Farag (EGY) bt Mazen Hesham (EGY) 3-0: 11-4, 11-4, 11-9 (36m)
Men’s Quarter-Finals (Top Half, February 27):
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) v  Miguel Rodriguez (COL) [
 Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) v  Tarek Momen (EGY)
Men’s Quarter-Finals (Bottom Half, February 28):
 Simon Rösner (GER) v  Saurav Ghosal (IND)
 Paul Coll (NZL) v  Ali Farag (EGY)
Women’s Third Round (Bottom Half):
 Joelle King (NZL) bt  Joey Chan (HKG) 3-0: 11-7, 11-9, 15-13 (31m)
 Camille Serme (FRA) bt  Nicol David (MAS) 3-1: 9-11, 11-4, 11-4, 11-5 (41m)
 Tesni Evans (WAL) bt  Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) 3-1: 11-6, 11-8, 8-11, 11-7 (45m)
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt  Amanda Sobhy (USA) 3-2: 10-12, 11-3, 4-11, 11-8, 11-7 (52m)
Women’s Quarter-Finals (Top Half, February 27):
 Raneem El Welily (EGY) v  Nouran Gohar (EGY)
 Annie Au (HKG) v  Nour El Tayeb (EGY)
Women’s Quarter-Finals (Bottom Half, February 28):
 Joelle King (NZL) v  Camille Serme (FRA)
 Tesni Evans (WAL) v  Nour El Sherbini (EGY)
Report by SEAN REUTHE (PSA PR and Media Manager). Edited by ALAN THATCHER.
Pictures courtesy of PSA