Top seed Nour looks back in shape
By Squash Mad Correspondents
England’s Sarah-Jane Perry played superbly to beat second seed Joelle King to reach the final of the Cleveland Classic, where she meets the reigning champion, Egyptian top seed Nour El Tayeb.
Perry, the 29-year-old No.3 seed, had not gone beyond the quarter-finals of any tournament since the French Open in Nantes in September.
She has been unlucky with injuries but here she looked sharp, mobile and determined as she fought back from an early deficit against King, who began in excellent form.
The New Zealander, champion here in 2018, built on her early lead to hold game ball at 10-8 but Perry put up an amazing fight. She saved several game balls and took the first game 14-12.
In the second game, Perry displayed how skilful she is with excellent ball placement, tactical awareness and some superb winners to win 11-4.
King needed to be more consistent in the third game and although it was close throughout, Perry finished strongly to win it 13-11 to reach the final in 40 minutes.
Top seed El Tayeb took just 26 minutes to book her place in the final with a straight-games win over India’s Joshna Chinappa.
El Tayeb was kept on court for 71 minutes by the unrelenting challenges presented by American Sabrina Sobhy in the second round, suffering an ankle injury in the process, and knew she needed to manage her match tactics better if she was to improve on her runners-up finish in last week’s Weymuller Open in Brooklyn.
She took out Farida Mohamed in just 22 minutes in the quarter-finals and was equally ruthless here in the semis. She clearly devised a clever tactical plan in the opening game against Chinappa, combining good length and width trying to cover Joshna’s attacking shots and moving home 11-4.
Number five seed Chinappa came out really strongly and looked more competitive in the second game. She constructed an 8-5 lead, but after a very long rally, with a lot of variety in shots and amazing retrieval skills, Nour won the point to launch a solid counter-offensive. She came back to win the second game 11-8 and her opponent seemed to lose her impetus in the third.
She was very inconsistent at the start and a mentally strong El Tayeb powered home 11-3, looking fully fit after her ankle injury.
PSA $51,250 Women’s Cleveland Classic 2020, Cleveland Racquet Club, Cleveland, Ohio, USA.
 Nour El Tayeb (EGY) bt  Joshna Chinappa (IND) 11-4, 11-8, 11-3 (26m)
 Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) bt  Joelle King (NZL) 14-12, 11-4, 13-11 (40m)
 Nour El Tayeb (EGY) v  Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG)
Pictures courtesy of ANDREA DAWSON