After a tense start, Raneem roars past Nicol David to claim her biggest WSA prize
By HOWARD HARDING – Squash Mad Correspondent
Egypt’s world No.2 Raneem El Welily claimed the biggest WSA World Tour squash title of her career when she upset Malaysian favourite Nicol David in the final of the Windy City Open presented by Guggenheim and EquiTrust Life Insurance Company in Chicago, USA.
David, the 31-year-old world No.1, was celebrating the 99th Tour final of her career in the WSA World Series at the University Club of Chicago – and reached the climax in style without dropping a game.
By contrast, 26-year-old El Welily was taken the full distance in her semi-final against sixth seed Camille Serme – and was forced to fight back from 2/1 down before beating the world No.6 from France.
The Cairo queen went into the final 3/17 down on a career head-to-head record with David over the past ten years.
And David, who has topped the world rankings unopposed since August 2006, took the lead after surviving a tense first game tie-break.
The second game also went to a tie-break, which El Welily won to draw level.
El Welily continued to maintain the upper hand, and after 57 minutes recorded the biggest win of her life by beating the sport’s dominant player for almost a decade 14-16, 12-10, 11-7, 11-7.
The scorelines in the opening two games illustrate the tension and closeness of the combat on court. The next two clearly show how El Welily had the edge when it mattered.
“I’m absolutely thrilled to win,” said El Welily, who scored 29 winners in the match, against 19 by her illustrious opponent. “I always enjoy playing Nicol – and all credit to her, she played a great tournament and a great match. She’s a great athlete.”
When reminded of her recent World Championship clash with David, when she squandered a match-ball in the final, El Welily commented: “I thought I’d forgotten about that match until I was 2/1 up and had match-ball at 10-6.
“I’m glad to have pushed and managed to win today. I’m absolutely happy!”
Windy City Open presented by Guggenheim and EquiTrust Life Insurance Company, University Club of Chicago, USA
 Raneem El Welily (EGY) bt  Nicol David (MAS) 14-16, 12-10, 11-7, 11-7 (57m)
Picture by MARIAN KRAUS