Sarah-Jane Perry wins marathon 13-11 in the fifth to reach Black Ball final
By SEAN REUTHE – Squash Mad Correspondent
World No.5 Sarah-Jane Perry will take on defending champion Hania El Hammamy in the final of the women’s CIB Black Ball Squash Open, PSA World Tour Gold tournament following wins over New Zealand’s Joelle King and USA’s Amanda Sobhy earlier today in Cairo, Egypt.
Perry will line up in her first televised PSA World Tour final since October 2018 after she got the better of World No.8 Joelle King in 74 minutes by a 5-11, 13-11, 13-11, 7-11, 13-11 scoreline to reach the 20th PSA final of her career.
The 30-year-old did squander three match balls in the fifth to give King a lifeline, but held her nerve to reach her first final of the 2020-21 season.
Perry said: “I’m pretty relieved right now, if I was a cat, I would have used at least four of my nine lives today.
“It was a bit all over the place, but my game is to disrupt people’s rhythm and movement, but I need to find my own as well, which was definitely in and out tonight.
“I think in the first half of the season, I lost a lot of tie-breaks. To actually win them is pretty pleasing. I need to focus and not go down in games, to win comfortably would be beautiful.”
El Hammamy will line up in the Black Ball Open final for the second time in succession after she overcame World No.7 Sobhy 11-9, 12-10, 11-9 to reach her second final of the campaign.
The 20-year-old made her major breakthrough when she took out World No.1 Nour El Sherbini in last season’s Black Ball Open held in March, 2020 and she will now look to become the first person to get her hands on this trophy more than once.
Sobhy, who axed El Sherbini in yesterday’s semi-finals, did threaten the World No.5 and held four game balls in the second, but El Hammamy’s impressive retrieval abilities made a huge difference as she weathered the storm, before staying ahead throughout the third to complete the win.
El Hammamy said: “I’m really excited for tomorrow’s match. I guess I need one more push to defend my title.
“Today’s match was a little bit weird. I think we both had our ups and downs. I don’t think we performed the best we had, but overall, I’m happy to get through in three.
“Right now, I want to enjoy my spot, I want to enjoy being World No.5 and I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself. I’m doing the best I can do and hopefully I can make it to No.1 soon.”
The women’s Black Ball Open final will take place at 21:00 (GMT+2) tomorrow (December 12). The action will be shown live on SQUASHTV and also on the channels of contracted broadcast partners.
Women’s 2020 CIB Black Ball Squash Open, Black Ball Club, Cairo, Egypt.
 Hania El Hammamy (EGY) bt  Amanda Sobhy (USA) 3-0: 11-9, 12-10, 11-9 (39m)
 Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) bt  Joelle King (NZL) 3-2: 5-11, 13-11, 13-11, 7-11, 13-11 (74m)
 Hania El Hammamy (EGY) v  Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG)
Pictures courtesy of PSA