Annie Au and Omneya Abdel Kawy take out Nour El Sherbini and Alison Waters in Cleveland Classic first round
By HOWARD HARDING – Squash Mad Correspondent
Hong Kong’s Annie Au and Egyptian Omneya Abdel Kawy caused major upsets in the Women’s Cleveland Classic after ousting fourth seed Nour El Sherbini and fifth seed Alison Waters, respectively, in the opening round of the WSA International 50 squash event celebrating its fifth year at Cleveland Racquet Club in Cleveland, USA.
In her first win over the world No.4 from Egypt in four meetings over the past three years, Au recovered from 2/1 down to overcome El Sherbini, pulling away from six-all in the decider to close out the match 11-6, 5-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-6.
The Hong Kong left-hander (pictured above with El Sherbini, foreground), ranked 10 in the world, will now face fellow non-seed Abdel Kawy, the world No.9 who also earned her first victory over a higher-ranked opponent since 2012 when she beat Waters, the world No.5 from England.
Waters, who reached last week’s Tournament of Champions final in New York against the odds, drew level after the Cairo-based Egyptian took the opening game – but it was Abdel Kawy who survived a close fourth game to clinch the match 11-9, 3-11, 11-9, 11-9 to earn herself a place in the quarter-finals for the second year in a row.
Defending champion Nicol David made up for the disappointment of a surprise Tournament of Champions quarter-final exit with a commanding 11-2, 11-5, 11-7 victory over English qualifier Emily Whitlock.
The world number one from Malaysia progresses to meet Nour El Tayeb for a place in the semi-finals. The eighth seed from Egypt also overcame an English qualifier, beating Victoria Lust 11-9, 11-6, 11-7.
Laura Massaro became England’s only representative in the last eight after seeing off compatriot Sarah Kippax, also a qualifier, 11-3, 11-8, 11-3. The No.2 seed, champion in 2011, now faces seventh seed Low Wee Wern, the world No.7 from Malaysia who beat Egyptian qualifier Yathreb Adel 11-8, 11-6, 11-6.
Raneem El Welily is also a former champion eager to make a further appearance in the event’s final. The third seed from Egypt – now ranked two in the world and tournament winner in 2013 – defeated Irish veteran Madeline Perry 11-3, 11-4, 5-11, 11-4 and will be hoping to make amends for her shock quarter-final exit in 2014 when she takes on Camille Serme in the next round.
The top-ranked French player, seeded six, defeated England’s former world No.2 Jenny Duncalf 11-6, 11-6, 11-5.
Women’s Cleveland Classic, Cleveland, Ohio, USA
 Nicol David (MAS) bt [Q] Emily Whitlock (ENG) 11-2, 11-5, 11-7
 Nour El Tayeb (EGY) bt [Q] Victoria Lust (ENG) 11-9, 11-6, 11-7
Annie Au (HKG) bt  Nour El Sherbini (EGY) 11-6, 5-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-6
Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) bt  Alison Waters (ENG) 11-9, 3-11, 11-9, 11-9
 Camille Serme (FRA) bt Jenny Duncalf (ENG) 11-6, 11-6, 11-5
 Raneem El Welily (EGY) bt Madeline Perry (IRL) 11-3, 11-4, 5-11, 11-4
 Low Wee Wern (MAS) bt [Q] Yathreb Adel (EGY) 11-8, 11-6, 11-6
 Laura Massaro (ENG) bt [Q] Sarah Kippax (ENG) 11-3, 11-8, 11-3
 Nicol David (MAS) v  Nour El Tayeb (EGY)
Annie Au (HKG) v Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY)
 Raneem El Welily (EGY) v  Camille Serme (FRA)
 Laura Massaro (ENG) v  Low Wee Wern (MAS)
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Picture by MIKE WEIL