Egyptian teenager faces France No.1 Camille Serme in semi-final
By HOWARD HARDING – Squash Mad Correspondent
Egyptian teenager Nour El Sherbini celebrated her return to WSA World Tour action after a five-month layoff in sparkling fashion – bringing down England’s world champion Laura Massaro in the Women’s Delaware Investments US Open to reach the semi-finals of the WSA World Series Platinum squash event in Philadelphia for the first time.
It was back in March that the pair last met – in the final of the WSA World Championship in Malaysia where Massaro clinched victory 11-9 in the fifth to win the sport’s most prized title for the first time.
After a cagey opening before a capacity crowd on the all-glass court at Drexel University, it was 18-year-old El Sherbini who imposed her will to pull away from four-all, forging ahead to 10-6, then making a couple of unforced errors as Massaro reduced the deficit to 9-10. A trademark volley drop gave El Sherbini the game – then she started the second well, leading 4-2.
But then the world No9 from Alexandria switched off. Or world No2 Massaro stepped up – but the outcome was that the 30-year-old from Preston won the next phase of the game 19-1 as she took the second 11-4 game and the third 11-1! “Omar [Elborolossy] told me in between games I had to start playing deep shots, to stop her controlling the game,” said El Sherbini (pictured above in action with Massaro) afterwards.
The advice clearly worked – the three-time world junior champion led 5-2, then 8-5 before taking the fourth 11-6, and keeping a point or two ahead in the decider.
From 7-5 up, the Egyptian dominated the next five rallies before closing out the match with another volley drop and a clenched fist to win 11-9, 4-11, 1-11, 11-6, 11-5 in 62 minutes.
“I’m so happy, I was really focussed to win this match,” said the triumphant El Sherbini. “Last time in the World Open final I was leading 6-2 in the fifth, so I really didn’t want to lose again.
“I don’t know what happened in the middle, I was just happy to be able to come back and win it.
“My aim coming into this tournament was just to make the glass court, and now I’m in the semi-final. I feel I’m playing better and better every match so I hope I can continue to play well tomorrow against Camille – she’s a very tough player but I’ll try my best.”
It was earlier that France’s fourth seed Camille Serme ended Egyptian Yathreb Adel’s run – twice fighting back from behind to overcome the 18-year-old qualifier, the lowest-ranked player in the draw, 8-11, 11-6, 7-11, 11-8, 11-3 in 71 minutes.
“I felt like I had two opponents today – Yathreb and myself,” said Serme (pictured right with Adel) after surviving the longest match of the championship.
“I had to push so hard physically and mentally to keep going and play better, but Adel played well.
“She used everything so that’s the game you know. I had to deal with this, but I’m glad to win today.”
Women’s Delaware Investments US Open, Philadelphia, USA.
Quarter-finals (lower half of draw):
 Camille Serme (FRA) bt [Q] Yathreb Adel (EGY) 8-11, 11-6, 7-11, 11-8, 11-3 (71m)
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt  Laura Massaro (ENG) 11-9, 4-11, 1-11, 11-6, 11-5 (62m)
 Nicol David (MAS) v  Raneem El Welily (EGY)
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) v  Camille Serme (FRA)
US Open images courtesy of www.usopensquash.com
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