Malaysian superstar Nicol David
claimed the latest historic achievement in her illustrious
squash career when she beat Egypt's Nour El Sherbini
in the final of the Women's Delaware Investments US Open
in Philadelphia to become the first player in the
60-year history of the championship to win the title three
times in a row.
The top seed and the world number one for 99
successive months since August 2006, David was expected to
make the final of the WSA World Series Platinum event
at Drexel University - the 95th of her career.
But El Sherbini was the event's No7 seed -
and scored mighty upsets over both second seed Laura
Massaro, the world champion from England, and France's
fourth seed Camille Serme to claim her unexpected
place in the climax.
With heavy strapping on her right thigh, the
Egyptian teenager looked to be struggling with her movement
in the first game as David (pictured above in action with
El Sherbini) pushed her to all corners of the court.
El Sherbini was getting to most of the shots,
but it looked to be a bit of a struggle as David forged
leads of 4-2, 7-2 and 10-4 before taking the game 11-5.
"For the next two games, however, the
18-year-old from Alexandria matched David all the way," said
a spokesman for the event. "Looking calmer and more
controlled, El Sherbini was moving better, hitting better,
and we had a real contest on our hands."
El Sherbini was a point or two ahead for most
of the second, but it was David who reached game ball first
at 10-9, doubling her lead at the second attempt, 12-10, as
the Egyptian's dropshot clipped the tin.
From seven-all in the third, El Sherbini
moved ahead to earn three game balls at 10-7. But David is
renowned for comebacks, and forced into three errors from
the Egyptian before reaching match-ball.
But as the 31-year-old world number one from
Penang served for the match, the ball burst - delaying the
final point as the new one was warmed up.
Minutes later, however, David blasted a shot
out of El Sherbini's reach to claim her third US Open title.
"I don't believe it," said David after her
11-5, 12-10, 12-10 victory. "I was really just in the game,
I'm still thinking that I need to keep warming up that ball!
"Sherbini played such a good game of squash,
and I really had to play even better because it was so
difficult out there to win that title.
"I think with Sherbini it's more of just
getting in the groove. I think in the second game she just
found the rhythm and flow, and also just good shots and she
was really putting on the pressure. So I had to keep up with
that pace and, at the same time, bring my game forward so
I'm really pleased with that.
"I'm so pleased - really happy to win another
The 41-minute triumph marks the 76th WSA
World Tour title of David's career.
Top seed Nicol David and No7 seed
Nour El Sherbini will contest the final of the
Women's Delaware Investments US Open in Philadelphia
- Malaysian David bidding to become the first player in the
60-year history of the championship to win the title three
times in a row, and Egyptian teenager El Sherbini looking to
repeat her shock World Championship victory over the world
number one in March.
Playing her first major tournament after a
five-month knee injury layoff, 18-year-old El Sherbini
stormed into the final with a second consecutive stunning
upset in the WSA World Series Platinum squash event
at Drexel University.
Having already upset England's world No2 and
reigning world champion Laura Massaro in the
quarter-finals, El Sherbini came from a game down to beat
France's fourth seed Camille Serme.
The Alexandria-based Egyptian (pictured
above in action with Serme) made the better start in
each of the four games, but after quickly falling 4-0 down
in the first, Serme started to get into the match, levelled
at five-all and ended the game going away for an 11-7 win.
El Sherbini shrugged that off to lead
throughout the next two games, and although Serme managed to
pull back to eight-all in the second and six-all in the
third, the 25-year-old from Creteil could never quite get
her nose in front, with youngster El Sherbini just having
the slight edge in the ability to hit winning shots.
Serme battled back from 1-8 down to level the
fourth, but a deep cross-court brought up match-ball for the
Egyptian, and after a short exchange of volleys in the
middle of the court, El Sherbini hammered the ball away to
win 7-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-8 for a place in the final.
"I can't feel anything right now," said the
delighted winner, now in her eighth WSA World Tour
final. "I can't believe I'm in the final of the US Open!
"In the first she was playing so well,
killing everything, and I didn't have a solution. I relaxed,
started to play my own game and thankfully it worked, but I
was so tired when she was coming back at the end, I was just
hitting the ball and what happened would happen!"
By contrast, David reached her 95th WSA Tour
final after seeing off Egyptian rival Raneem El Welily
11-3, 15-13, 6-11, 11-7.
The world No3 from Cairo proved to be David's
most difficult match of the tournament thus far, becoming
the first player to take a game off the two-time defending
champion in David's longest match of the tournament, lasting
"It feels great," David (pictured above
with El Welily) said of her win. "She started off not in
the game, but I knew she would just keep coming back and
hitting some amazing shots. I just really had to dig deep
and come back to my own game and really stick to it. I'm so
pleased to win that one 3/1."
David admitted the importance of fighting off
three games balls in the second game.
"I think it makes a huge difference between
when you're one all or two love up so I used that to my
advantage. She came out and played better squash in the
third, so I had to come back in the fourth and really
switched on and played much better and won it."
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
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."
A subdued Massaro told her Twitter followers
later: "Lost tonight in the QF of the @USOpenSquash to Nour.
Pretty disappointing for me but a break from events now and
back to it in December."
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 above 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."
Nicol Sets Up Raneem Revenge Bid In
Malaysia's world No1 Nicol David
set up arguably the biggest revenge match of her career when
she meets Egypt's world No3 Raneem El Welily in
Friday's semi-finals of the Women's Delaware Investments
US Open in Philadelphia.
Both players won their quarter-final matches
in the 2014 WSA World Series Platinum event at
Drexel University in straight games - David beating
compatriot Low Wee Wern and El Welily overturning a
defeat by England's Alison Waters in last week's
Carol Weymuller Open in New York.
But David's reward is a chance to avenge her
last defeat on the WSA World Tour at the Malaysian Open
in August - when a shock semi-final win by El Welily denied
the Queen of Malaysian squash a place in the final of her
country's most high-profile event for the first time in 12
appearances since 2003!
David's match with Wee Wern was a repeat of
their Asian Games final in September - an historic
first all-Malaysian climax which led to favourite David
winning a remarkable fourth gold medal.
Bidding to win a record third successive US
Open title, David extended her unbeaten run over her fellow
Penangite by beating Low 11-6, 11-4, 11-9.
Unlike the four-game, hour-long Asian Games
final in which Low claimed the first game, David controlled
the US Open quarter-final from the beginning, forcing a
number of Low errors to win the first game. The second ended
just as clinically after an even start when David won six
straight to clinch the game 11-4.
Low's most formidable response came in the
third game when she won three points to level the game at
9-9, at which point David closed out the 40-minute match
"It's a different tournament and for me it's
another big tournament, so I'm excited to be here," David
said of her pristine record in Philadelphia. "It was tough
out there today playing Wee Wern, but I'm happy to win in
"It's difficult playing against your
team-mate, but you have to just think that it's the
quarter-finals and whoever is there is a contender, and
they're out to get you. I had to be alert and sharp today
and I'm really pleased with my performance," added
31-year-old David, now in her 21st successive WSA World
Series semi-final since losing in the US Open quarters in
Earlier, El Welily recovered from 5-0 down to
overcome fifth seed Waters 11-9, 11-8, 11-5. Londoner Waters
not only beat the Egyptian last week at Heights Casino
en-route to winning the biggest title of her career, but
also held an 8-2 career head-to-head record over El Welily
going into the match.
The most dangerous moment for El Welily came
as she reached game ball at 10-9 in the first. Waters'
straight return of serve brought up a 'no let' call, but the
Egyptian made good use of the video review to get that
decision overturned, and promptly won the next rally to take
"I'm very thankful, and happy to win that
match," said the 25-year-old from Cairo. "I don't think
Alison was as fresh as she was last week. She wasn't getting
to a lot of shots that she was running down in New York.
"The rest days we get in this tournament are
great," added El Welily. "It gives you time to relax, chill
out, and then prepare for the next round."
It was a typically cool David who commented
on her upcoming clash with El Welily, against whom she
boasts a 13-3 Tour head-to-head record: "I've had a few
tournaments since that match, so I've a few big wins, and I
think I'll just bring that forward. I'm looking forward to
the semi-finals and I'm ready to go."
Adel Makes World Series Breakthrough In
Egyptian teenager Yathreb Adel created
the biggest second round upset in the Women's Delaware
Investments US Open when she despatched eighth seed
Annie Au in straight games to celebrate her first
appearance in the quarter-finals of a WSA World Series
The 18-year-old qualifier from Cairo - the
lowest-ranked player in the draw - frustrated the Hong Kong
international who never held a lead throughout any of the
three games in the WSA World Series Platinum event at
Drexel University in Philadelphia.
"I'm very thrilled to be in the
quarter-finals of the US Open," said the world No74
(pictured above in action with Au) after her 11-9, 11-8,
11-3 triumph in 28 minutes. "It's such a prestigious event,
and it's the first time I've played here."
Adel, the only qualifier to make the last
eight, admitted she was happy to turn around the result from
her only previous encounter against Au in the Hong Kong
Open in December.
"It was last year so I think I improved a lot
maybe, and this year I had a different plan and it worked.
Last year was the first time I played her so I was used to
her shots. I was more concentrated today than I was then."
Adel now faces French international
Camille Serme for the first time. The No4 seed from
Creteil made it to the quarter-finals for the first time
since 2011 after ending the run of unseeded Tesni Evans
- the Welsh player who upset 13th seed Kasey Brown in
the opening round.
"I didn't feel on top of my game physically,
so that was a tough day at the office," said world No6 Serme
after her 11-7, 11-8, 11-7 victory. "She made it very tough
despite having a long match in the last round, so I'm very
pleased to win that in three games."
Nour El Sherbini
ensured Egyptian interest in three out of the four
quarter-finals when she beat England's Jenny Duncalf
11-4, 11-7, 11-5 - not only avenging her defeat by the
former world No2 from Harrogate in their last meeting in
January 2013, but also moving ahead 3/2 in their career
"I wasn't 100% comfortable with my shots
today," said the No7 seed (pictured above in action with
Duncalf) playing in her first WSA World Tour event since
the British Open in May. "It's been a long time since
I played a big match on a glass court and Jenny's not the
type of player you want to meet in this sort of match.
"It feels amazing to be back, and I'm really
pleased and excited that I could be able to come and play
here. I know I'll be playing another Englishwoman next, and
either Laura [Massaro] or Sarah [Kippax] will be tough, so
good luck to them and I hope we have a good match on
In the last match of the day, it was second
seed Laura Massaro who claimed the final
quarter-final slot when she beat England team-mate Sarah
Kippax 12-10, 11-7, 7-11, 11-3 to repeat the result of
their previous meeting only a week ago in the Carol
Weymuller Open in New York.
"It's really tough whenever you're playing a
teammate and friend," said world champion Massaro later. "We
played first round in Brooklyn last week, and we practiced
together in between, so we played each other a fair bit
"It's always hard because you know each
other's games and you're trying to adapt what you've learned
so it was good to come out with the win."
David & Low Set Up Mighty Malaysian US Open
Just two weeks after combining to help
Malaysia win team gold in the Asian Games,
Nicol David and Low Wee Wern will be on opposite
sides of the squash court as they face off for a place in
the semi-finals of the 2014 Women's Delaware Investments
US Open, the WSA World Series Platinum event at
Drexel University in Philadelphia.
Sixth seed Wee Wern, now boasting a
career-high world No5 ranking, recorded her fourth
successive Tour win over Nicolette Fernandes when she
beat the 16th seed from Guyana 11-8, 11-7, 5-11, 11-3 in
just over an hour to reach the event's last eight for the
second year in a row.
"I was really struggling at the start,"
admitted Low (pictured above with Fernandes). "I just
couldn't see the ball or find any length. I was struggling
through all the games really. She was playing well and
putting a lot of pressure on me."
Top seed David is bidding to win a record
third successive title. The world No1 played out her 35th
Tour match with veteran Australian Rachael Grinham -
and earned a 14th successive win over the 2006 champion
(since losing the British Open final in 2007) when
she beat 37-year-old Grinham 11-1, 11-8, 11-3.
"I think it's the Philly Cheesesteak!" David
(pictured above with Grinham) jested when asked about
her luck in Philadelphia. "It's been great. I love coming
back to Philly. I have so many great memories after winning
two US Opens here. I just love this court and the crowd as
well. You can just feel the vibe to the whole event, which
just makes you want to play good squash.
"Rachael and I have played so many times,
she's so experienced and tricky - you have to have plans A,
B and C ready against her! I knew I had to be totally
focused, and I was really pleased with my performance
David's clash with fellow Penangite Low will
be their first meeting since contesting the Asian Games
individual final in September. "It's always tough going up
against your teammate," David continued. "It's great for
Malaysia for us both get to the quarter-finals. It's nice to
see Wee move up the rankings as well, so I'm looking forward
to a good match, but it's still the quarter-finals of the US
Open so I'm going to put my focus in and get started
The other quarter-final decided from the
first session of second round action will see a repeat of
last week's Carol Weymuller Open semi-final clash in
New York between Egypt's Raneem El Welily and
England's Alison Waters, the third and fifth seeds,
El Welily, the world No3 from Cairo, reduced
the deficit of her 4-7 head-to-head record with compatriot
Omneya Abdel Kawy by beating the 10th seed 11-8,
"I'm very happy with how I played," said El
Welily, the 2012 runner-up. "I was moving well - the physio
team here are looking after me really well."
Waters faced unseeded Egyptian Nouran
Gohar, the 17-year-old prodigy to whom she lost in
straight games in their only previous meeting, in the
China Open just a year ago.
The Londoner saw a two-game lead cut back by
the impressive Cairo teenager before she reasserted her
authority in the decider to win 12-10, 11-8, 1-11, 15-17,
11-2 in 62 minutes.
"That was really tough," admitted world No7
Waters. "For 17 years old her hitting is amazing and
endless. I'm glad I managed to beat her now, in a couple of
years it's going to be very difficult!
"I was still feeling pretty good and quite
confident despite losing those match balls in the fourth,
but I was glad I was able to come back strongly in the
fifth. I think she got a bit excited about the prospect of
Unseeded Welsh 21-year-old Tesni Evans
denied 13th seed Kasey Brown any further action in
the 2014 Women's Delaware Investments US Open when
she beat the retiring WSA President on the second day of
first round action in the WSA World Series Platinum
event at Drexel University in Philadelphia.
Runner-up in 2011 and a quarter-finalist for
the past two years, Australian Brown had announced this week
that she would call it a day at the 2014 championship in
Philadelphia, bring to an end a glittering 12-year career on
the WSA World Tour.
And the 29-year-old from New South Wales had
a second round match in her sights after she built up a
two-game lead over her younger opponent.
But Evans kept plugging away, keeping Brown
working hard, and pulling away from the middle of the third
and fourth game to level the match. And the Cardiff-born
underdog did the same in the decider - pulling away from
four-all and raising a fist in the direction of the small
Welsh contingent in the crowd as she took the game to win
the match 7-11, 10-12, 11-8, 11-6, 11-7 after 76 minutes.
"I knew it would be tough - we had a 3/2 last
time we played," said world No28 Evans (pictured above in
US Open action with Brown). "So at two-nil down I had to
believe I could still win, but it's always good to win close
matches like that."
Evans later admitted to her Twitter
followers: "Was tough to play @kaseybrownSQU today as she
retired from the tour! Wish you all the best in the future!"
As Brown came off court for the last time she
said: "It's been a great twelve years on the tour, I've
enjoyed every minute of it. It's probably a good time to get
out now, with all these young kids coming through!"
Evans, now in the US Open last 16 for the
first time, will face Camille Serme, the fourth seed
from France who ended domestic interest in the event when
she beat US wildcard Sabrina Sobhy 11-6, 11-4, 13-11.
Another seed bit the dust when Egyptian
qualifier Yathreb Adel emerged unscathed from a
physical match against England's Sarah-Jane Perry.
The 17-year-old world No74 from Cairo - the lowest-ranked
player in the draw - defeated 14th seed Perry 11-6, 11-7,
9-11, 11-7 in 49 minutes.
"It was such a battle for me," said Adel
(pictured above with Perry) after her first meeting with
the world No17. "It's the first time I played the US Open
and playing in the main draw.
"I was really looking forward to the match
and was trying to keep focused as much as I can and not
trying to get involved in what's happening on court, so I'm
glad I did it!"
Adel will now meet Annie Au after the
No8 seed from Hong Kong beat English qualifier Victoria
Lust 11-4, 11-8, 11-8.
Adel was joined by compatriot Nour El
Sherbini in the second round. Playing in her first Tour
event since a shock first round defeat in the British
Open in May, seventh seed El Sherbini was drawn against
her victor Emma Beddoes - and was after revenge over
the English player.
Beddoes has enjoyed a good Tour run over the
past few months and currently boasts a career-high world
No20 ranking. But El Sherbini, the 18-year-old former world
No4, was focussed on her task and after 42 minutes wrapped
up her 11-4, 6-11, 11-1, 11-8 victory.
"Actually for me it was a revenge match
because my last match against her I lost in the British
Open," reiterated El Sherbini. "So when I saw the draw I
knew I needed to win this match. I kept the plan and I'm
happy to be through.
"My Egyptian teammates mean to me everything
when I see them sitting outside," added the talented
teenager. "Without them I'm never going to win any match so
thank you everyone for being here!"
El Sherbini progresses to a second round
clash with England's No11 seed Jenny Duncalf. The
2009 champion, competing in her ninth US Open since 2002,
denied further Egyptian interest in the last 16 when she
beat Alexandria's Heba El Torky 11-2, 11-5, 11-6.
An English quarter-finalist will be assured
after No2 seed Laura Massaro and 15th seed Sarah
Kippax face each other in the second round. World
champion Massaro eased to an 11-4, 11-6, 11-6 win over South
African qualifier Siyoli Waters while world No18
Kippax was taken the full distance by Line Hansen
before defeating the Dane 11-5, 11-9, 5-11, 12-14, 11-8.
"Obviously Line's a big fighter, and it's
always tough to come back when you're two love down," said a
relieved Kippax afterwards. "She always has the capability
of doing that. It's quite edgy when you get to that stage,
when you've been 2/0 up and it's two all, so I had to just
stay calm and stick to my tactics."
World No2 Massaro was upbeat after her first
round win: "I love it here," said the 2013 runner-up. "This
new court looks and plays great - it's a great way to
showcase the women's game.
"US Squash has worked hard to get parity for
this event and hopefully others will follow suit.
"Last year's semi and final were pretty
brutal," added the 30-year-old from Preston. "I hope I can
go one better this year."
Round Top Half
Scores Settled In US Open Openers
Revenge was the name of the game on the
opening day of action in the Women's Delaware Investments
US Open when four of the eight matches in the WSA
World Series Platinum event at Drexel University
in Philadelphia gave players the chance to avenge
the world No22 from Guyana elevated to 16th seed following
the withdrawal of US number one Amanda Sobhy, beat
Irish qualifier Aisling Blake 11-5, 12-10, 11-5 to
reverse the straight games defeat she suffered at the hands
of the Dublin-born world No37 in their previous Tour meeting
two years ago.
"This is the farthest I've been in the US
Open," said the delighted 31-year-old (pictured above in
full flight during her match) later. "It's such a huge
event and there is a real vibe to the whole thing, it makes
you want to do well here.
"The season's only just begun, but there have
been lots of tournaments already," Fernandes continued. "I
had to miss the Caribbean Games, which my Federation didn't
like, but to get through in an event like this makes it
Fernandes will now face Low Wee Wern,
the No6 seed from Malaysia who also settled a score when she
ousted Joey Chan - the world No23 from Hong Kong who
came out on top last time on Wee Wern's home soil.
The Malaysian number two battled for 46
minutes to overcome Chan 11-5, 14-12, 7-11, 11-6 in her
first Tour match since recording a career-high world No5
ranking two weeks ago.
"I think Joey played really well today," said
Wee Wern. "I was in and out. Mentally, after I lost the
third, I was thinking, 'I really need to hold her back and
get into the fourth game because you can't give Joey
anything with her hands.' So mentally I think it was really
hard to get back in the match again after being 2/0 up.
"I love the US Open. It's a great tournament,
and it's my fourth time here. I've played a few tournaments
leading up to this so I'm looking forward to one more go
before I take a quick break."
England's Alison Waters arguably had
the biggest score to settle: Just a month ago, in the China
Open, the experienced world No7 went down in four games to
18-year Egyptian Salma Hany Ibrahim.
But, fresh from her biggest Tour title
success last week at the Carol Weymuller Open in New York,
30-year-old Londoner Waters despatched qualifier Ibrahim
11-9, 11-8, 11-3 to earn a place in the second round for the
fifth time in a row since 2007.
"After China I knew it would be tough, and I
wasn't taking it lightly," said Waters (pictured above).
"I like stepping up the court and volleying and that was
working well today, so I'm delighted to come off with a
three-nil. She's going to be a real handful over the next
But there was revenge success for another
Egyptian teenager when unseeded Nouran Gohar defeated
seasoned campaigner Madeline Perry, the 37-year-old
ninth seed from Ireland, 11-2, 11-6, 11-9.
The 17-year-old from Cairo will celebrate her
first appearance in the event's second round by taking on
Determined Mexican Samantha Teran
denied Latasha Khan a tenth appearance in the main
draw of her country's major squash championship when she
beat the US veteran in the qualifying finals of the
Women's Delaware Investments US Open, the WSA World
Series Platinum event at Drexel University in
World No38 Teran, Mexico's most successful
player of all-time (pictured above in action with Khan),
defeated 41-year-old Khan - a seven-time US national
champion ranked just two places lower - 17-15, 11-6, 6-11,
Teran - who made her US Open debut in 2002 -
will now take on top seed Nicol David, the world
number one from Malaysia who is bidding to become the first
player in the championship's 60-year history to win three
titles in a row.
US qualifying bids from Olivia Blatchford,
Cecelia Cortes and Maria Elena Ubina also
failed - but North American interest in the championship was
boosted by Canadian number one Samantha Cornett when
the 23-year-old from Ottawa beat Deon Saffery of
Wales 6-11, 11-7, 12-10, 8-11, 11-9 in 53 minutes.
It was the second time in a week that the
Canadian had recovered from the brink of elimination by
overcoming a sizable deficit to win a match in five games.
"Without even knowing, I think I like going in from behind,"
said Cornett. "I think there's some kind of trigger at nine
or ten that just says, 'Stick...In' and don't give up."
A trio of Egyptians came through the
qualifying competition to make their debuts in the
championship. At 15 years old, Habiba Mohamed Ahmed
became the youngest player in the draw when she survived a
five-game battle with local star Olivia Blatchford,
winning 10-12, 11-6, 11-9, 12-14, 11-7 in 65 minutes.
The Alexandria teenager now faces 12th seed
Rachael Grinham, the 37-year-old 2006 champion from
Australia, in the first round.
Malaysian Nicol David is seeded to become the first
player in the 60-year history of the US Open Squash
Championships - man or woman - to win three titles in a
row when the 2014 event reaches its climax next week in
The Delaware Investments US
Open, a World Series Platinum event on the
Women's Squash Association World Tour, gets underway
tomorrow (Saturday) at Drexel University, leading to
the final on Saturday 18 October. Whilst the Women's
Championship made its debut in 1993, it was back in 1954
that the inaugural Men's event took place.
David, who 10 days ago
celebrated her 99th successive month at the top of the WSA
World Rankings, makes her return to the WSA World Tour this
week after winning a remarkable fourth individual gold medal
in the quadrennial Asian Games, before leading
Malaysia to gold in the women's team event.
"It feels great to know that
and I didn't realise it," said the 31-year-old from Penang
when hearing of her latest potential three-successive-title
record. "My main aim is to start strong here in the first
round and to bring in my top performance on the day.
"I've just arrived in
Philadelphia and the buzz is kicking in the moment I got
here having to play this US Open again. This tournament
brings out a vital importance of the women's squash game
having equal prize money with the men for the second year
running and makes us women squash players kick into another
gear to present a top showcase this week.
"The US Open has the same
level of prestige like a Grand Slam in tennis being among
the four major titles in the squash tour that every player
would like to get their name on the challenge trophy," added
the event favourite. "I always enjoy coming back competing
in this tournament and US Squash with supportive sponsors
continue to step it up every year for us to compete in an
extraordinary atmosphere each time.
"My goals for the rest of the
year are really on each tournament basis. I'll be
concentrating on the US Open now then straight after is the
Macau Open, in December the World Teams and World
Championships to finish off the year. Exciting tournaments
still to come that keeps the excitement for me to work
harder and stay on track with everything."
David will meet a qualifier in
the opening round and is expected to line up against her
Malaysian team-mate Low Wee Wern, the sixth seed now
ranked a best-ever five in the world, in the quarter-finals.
Egypt's third seed Raneem
El Welily, to whom she lost in the Malaysian Open
semi-finals in August, is David's predicted semi-final
opponent - whilst the event is due to climax in a repeat of
the 2013 final between the Malaysian and England's Laura
Second seed Massaro is the
reigning world champion, ranked two in the world, who will
also begin her 2014 US Open campaign against a qualifier.
Hopes of a first ever home
winner of the women's title were dealt a blow today when US
number one Amanda Sobhy - a semi-finalist in the two
previous WSA World Series events - was forced to withdraw as
the result of an injury. Guyana's Nicolette Fernandes
moves into Sobhy's seeded position in the draw, while
England's 20-year-old former European junior champion
Emily Whitlock is elevated from the qualifiers into the