Downs David For Career-Biggest Title In Windy City
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
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 (pictured
above, left, in action with David) 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
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.
"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
When reminded of her recent World
Championship clash with David, when she squandered a
match-ball in the final, El Welily (pictured above with
men's champion Nick Matthew) commented:
"I thought I'd forgotten about that match
until I was 2/1 up and had match-ball at 10-6.
The world's top two squash players will
contest the women's final of the Windy City Open
presented by Guggenheim and EquiTrust Life Insurance Company
after Malaysia's world number one Nicol David and
Egypt's Raneem El Welily, the world No.2, prevailed
in contrasting semi-finals of the WSA World Series
event at the University Club of Chicago in Chicago,
After her shock quarter-final exit at the
Tournament of Champions in New York in January, David
has been in scintillating form. The 31-year-old from Penang
swept through the field of the WSA International
Cleveland Classic in Ohio last month to win the title
without dropping a game - and extended this straight games
run in Chicago with an 11-9, 13-11, 12-10 semi-final victory
over Egypt's eighth seed Nour El Tayeb.
The win takes David into the 99th WSA
World Tour final of her career - one step away from her
80th title triumph!
"I tried hard to stick to my game plan
tonight and to keep my focus and I really fought hard and
dug deep in each of those games to make sure she did not
explained the Malaysian who has topped the women's world
rankings unopposed since August 2006.
"It's exciting to be here in Chicago playing
this tournament and it's fantastic for women's squash that
there is equal prize money for the women - and to be in with
a chance of winning the title makes it extra special.
"I'm very pleased to be in the final and I'm
going to prepare for the final tomorrow to make sure I am
El Welily, winner of the 2015 Tournament of
Champions title, is unbeaten by any player on the WSA Tour -
except for David - since October last year.
But the 26-year-old from Cairo was taken the
full distance before surviving her Chicago semi-final
against France's Camille Serme.
The pair have been rivals throughout their
careers - and contested both the World Junior
Championship and British Junior U19 Open finals
Sixth seed Serme opened up a 2/1 lead in
their latest encounter, but El Welily regained control in
the fourth before closing out the match 11-8, 8-11, 8-11,
11-9, 11-3 in 58 minutes to extend her Tour head-to-head
record over the world No.6 from Creteil to 6/2.
David and El Welily will be celebrating their
21st Tour meeting since July 2006 - and their 11th in a
final. The Malaysian currently leads the head-to-head 17/3.
Egypt's Nour El Tayeb avenged a five-game defeat by
compatriot Nour El Sherbini in January's Tournament of
Champions in New York when she upset the world No.4 in straight
games in the quarter-finals of the Windy City Open presented by
Guggenheim and EquiTrust Life Insurance Company - the WSA
World Series squash event at the University Club of Chicago
in Chicago, USA.
watched our match from ToC to see where I went wrong and what
mistakes I made,"
admitted the 21-year-old from Cairo (picture above, foreground, with
El Sherbini) after her resounding 11-7, 11-9, 11-5 victory.
made a game plan today and stuck to it - and thankfully I was able
to come through the match!"
Team-mates in Egypt's 2012 World Team Championship-winning
squad, El Tayeb and El Sherbini were marking their seventh Tour
clash, with world No.7 El Tayeb celebrating her first win since
and I are very good friends, we are even sharing a room here at this
tournament, so we'll put the match behind us now and go out for some
added El Tayeb, now in the Windy City semi-finals for the first
New York revenge was also in the air for the young Egyptian's next
opponent: World No.1 Nicol David suffered a rare
quarter-final exit at this year's Tournament of Champions when a
powerful performance from Alison Waters saw the English
underdog beat the favourite for only the second time in 25 meetings.
But the Malaysian was back to her supreme best at the Cathedral Hall
in Chicago where David defeated Waters 12-10, 12-10, 11-7 in 40
"Alison was on form and finding the angles today but I managed to
get going midway through that first game,"
explained the 31-year-old from Penang (picture above, left, with
Waters) later. "She's had a few wins over
me recently so I knew I would have to work hard to win today.
"At ToC she was a better player on the day but today I was aiming to
play my best and I'm really glad to come through in three games,"
added David - who now faces El Tayeb in a bid to reach the 99th
WSA World Tour final of her career.
and 2014 runner-up Raneem El Welily will celebrate their
second successive appearances in the semi-finals after prevailing in
the quarter-finals in the lower half of the draw.
Serme, the new world No.6 from France, ended England's Emma
Beddoes' impressive Chicago run, beating the 16th seed 11-4,
Welily, the world No.2 from Egypt, won her 10th Tour meeting with
Malaysian Low Wee Wern, beating the seventh seed 9-11, 11-6,
England's Emma Beddoes recorded one of the best wins of her
career in the Windy City Open presented by Guggenheim and
EquiTrust Life Insurance Company when she overcame compatriot
Laura Massaro, the defending champion ranked three in the world,
to reach the quarter-finals of the first WSA World Series
squash event of the year at the University Club of Chicago in
After two straight games defeats to the former world champion, it
was Beddoes' first Tour victory over her illustrious England
team-mate - and takes the world No.16 from Leeds into her first
World Series event quarter-final for more than three years.
Massaro twice led in the match - but underdog Beddoes (pictured
above, right, in action with Massaro) battled back both times to
draw level, surviving a tie-break fourth game to force the decider.
was after almost an hour of play that the 16th seed clinched her
breakthrough victory, winning 6-11, 11-7, 7-11, 12-10, 11-7 to
secure her surprise place in the event's last eight.
can't quite believe I've just won,"
exclaimed the jubilant 29-year-old Beddoes afterwards.
"It felt like a real battle and I don't think that
either of us were playing our best out there - but to win is just
"My short game has been improving a lot in recent years and on a
court like this if you play the shots well you get rewarded so I'm
just really pleased to get through this one in good health and we'll
see how the rest of the week goes."
Beddoes progresses to face sixth seed Camille Serme after the
French number one ended 14th seed Sarah-Jane Perry's winning
streak. With unexpected title triumphs last month at the British
National Championships and the WSA Granite Open in
Canada, the 24-year-old England had been enjoying the best run of
But it took exactly an hour for Serme, the world No.6 from Creteil
(pictured above, left, with Perry), to stop Perry - winning 11-9,
11-13, 11-6, 11-5 to claim a second successive quarter-final berth
Whilst the 2014 champion has been denied the opportunity to emulate
her former success, runner-up Raneem El Welily is on course
to reach the final for the second successive year.
The No.2 seed from Egypt overcame fellow countrywoman Omneya
Abdel Kawy, the ninth seed, 11-7, 7-11, 11-9, 11-8 and will now
face Malaysian Low Wee Wern for a place in the semi-finals.
The seventh seed from Penang recorded her fourth successive win over
Australian Rachael Grinham - bringing their career
head-to-head tally to four wins apiece - but was taken the full
distance by the former world number one and world champion before
winning 7-11, 11-2, 3-11, 11-9, 11-6.
2nd Round Top Half
Seeds Safely Through In Chicago
The four seeds in action on day three of the Windy City Open
presented by Guggenheim and EquiTrust Life Insurance Company
safely secured slots in the women's quarter-finals of the WSA
World Series squash event at the University Club of Chicago
in Chicago, USA.
was a revenge win for fourth seed Nour El Sherbini when the
19-year-old Egyptian made up for the shock defeat by Hong Kong's
Annie Au in last month's Cleveland Classic in Ohio.
Sherbini, the world No.4 (pictured above, left, with Au) in her
maiden appearance in the Chicago championship, needed 45 minutes to
see off the tenth-seeded left-hander 11-6, 11-4, 8-11, 11-8.
"Even when I was 2/0 it wasn't easy today against Annie,"
admitted the Alexandria-based teenager afterwards.
"She came back well in the third and then was playing
really positive in the fourth so I'm happy I was able to hang in
"We played just a few weeks ago and she beat me so I felt like I
needed to win today to make sure I don't lose to her twice in a row
and I'm happy to win."
Sherbini will now face compatriot Nour El Tayeb to ensure
Egyptian interest in the semi-finals. In the opening match of the
day, the 21-year-old No.8 seed from Cairo defeated 13th seed
Madeline Perry, the 38-year-old world No.14 from Ireland, 11-6,
11-7, 11-9 in a victory which brings the pair's career head-to-head
tally to three wins apiece.
Revenge will be in the air in the other quarter-final line-up
settled after straight games wins by Nicol David and
Top seed David, the world No.1 from Malaysia, defeated qualifier
Heba El Torky, the world No.26 from Egypt, 11-5, 11-4, 11-7.
"She's Egyptian so you have to expect her to be shooting from all
over the court and you just have to be prepared to work hard
throughout all the rallies,"
explained the 31-year-old from Penang (pictured above at full
stretch against El Torky) who is poised to reach the 99th WSA
World Tour final of her career in Chicago.
knew I had to be sharp from the start and I'm really pleased to win
three love today.
"It's fantastic that the organisers and the sponsors here at the
Windy City Open have managed to make prize money at this event equal
for women and it's a great boost for all the girls. It's my first
ever time here in Chicago so I'm looking forward to trying my best
to win here this week."
Waters, the world No.5 from England, also ousted a qualifier - in
this case compatriot Victoria Lust in a 13-11, 11-5, 11-4
victory in 32 minutes.
was earlier this year, at the Tournament of Champions in New
York, that Waters produced one her finest performances on a squash
court to beat David in only her second win over the eight-time world
champion in 25 meetings.
England's Laura Massaro began the defence of her Windy
City Open presented by Guggenheim and EquiTrust Life Insurance
Company title in style in Chicago when she beat Malaysian
qualifier Delia Arnold in four games on the second day of
first round action in the first WSA World Series squash event
of the year at the University Club of Chicago.
The former world champion from Preston (pictured above, right, with
Arnold), ranked three in the world, recovered from a game down to
extend her unbeaten run over world No.28 Arnold, winning 7-11, 11-5,
Massaro now takes on England team-mate Emma Beddoes, the 16th
seed from Leeds. Beddoes had the easiest run through to the last 16
round, barely breaking sweat after her Egyptian opponent Salma
Hany Ibrahim conceded their match with just four points on the
There was further English success on the night when Sarah-Jane
Perry powered past Nicolette Fernandes, registering her
first win over the world No.20 from Guyana 11-6, 11-6, 11-7 after 37
World No.16 Perry, who arrived in the USA fresh from her surprise
British National Championship title success in Manchester -
where she beat favourite Massaro to claim the trophy for the first
time - now takes on French number one Camille Serme.
The sixth seed from Creteil crushed top-ranked Canadian Samantha
Cornett 11-6, 11-5, 11-3 in just 26 minutes to make the second
round for the second year in a row.
Second seed Raneem El Welily, the world No.2 from Egypt
(pictured above, right, with Hansen) who was the 2014 runner-up,
eased into the second round after seeing off Danish qualifier
Line Hansen 11-3, 11-5, 11-3.
"Only got 25 min on the glass court tonight!!"
Hansen told her Twitter followers shortly afterwards.
"Raneem was in chop chop mood."
Welily, 26, from Cairo, now also faces a fellow countrywoman in the
next round when she takes on Omneya Abdel Kawy. The
Cairo-based No.9 seed got the better of Tesni Evans, beating
the Welsh qualifier 11-5, 11-7, 10-12, 11-8.
her maiden meeting with fast-rising Egyptian teenager Habiba
Mohamed, Malaysia's No.7 seed Low Wee Wern needed 65
minutes to secure an 11-8, 9-11, 12-10, 11-6 victory.
"Happy with my 3-1 win against Egyptian Habiba Mohamed
tweeted the world No.8 (pictured above, right, with Mohamed) from
Penang afterwards. "Looking forward to a
rest day tmr before taking on Rachael Grinham!"
Round Top Half
Qualifiers Shake Off Seeds In Chicago
Qualifiers Heba El Torky and Victoria Lust advanced in
the Windy City Open presented by Guggenheim and EquiTrust Life
Insurance Company in the USA after impressive upsets on the
opening day of main draw action in the first WSA World Series
squash event of the year at the University Club of Chicago in
Lust, the world No.31 from England who is based in Canada, recovered
from a game down to beat rising Egyptian star Nouran Gohar,
the 17-year-old from Cairo who is the event's 15th seed.
After the 7-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-6 win was credited on social media to
'Victory Lust', the 25-year-old from Luton tweeted "loving my new
Egypt was the beneficiary of the second upset when Alexandria-based
El Torky toppled Dipika Pallikal, the 12th seed from India,
11-9, 11-9, 5-11, 11-6.
was a disappointing day for India when Pallikal's Commonwealth
Games Women's Doubles gold medallist partner Joshana Chinappa,
the 2011 champion, also exited after losing 11-8, 11-3, 12-10 to
Egypt's 8th seed Nour El Tayeb(pictured above, right,
There was much anticipation for the comeback appearance of
Natalie Grinham, the former world No.2 from the Netherlands
making her return to the WSA World Tour just seven months
after the birth of her second child.
The 36-year-old boasted a 9/2 career head-to-head over opponent
Alison Waters going into the match - and forced two games into
tie-breaks in her first professional match for more than a year.
But it was Londoner Waters, the world No.5 from England (pictured
above with Grinham, foreground), who ultimately prevailed -
winning 12-10, 11-3, 12-10 to earn her anticipated place in the last
Top seed Nicol David also had a comfortable first round
victory, extinguishing home interest in the championship after
beating US wildcard Olivia Blatchford 11-3, 11-6, 12-10 in
her first Tour meeting with the 22-year-old from New York.
David, the world No.1 from Malaysia expected to notch up her 99th
WSA Tour final appearance in Chicago, will now face El Torky for a
place in the quarter-finals.
Qualifiers From Eight Nations Blow Into Windy City
Eight qualifiers from eight separate nations earned
places in the main draw of the Windy City Open presented by
Guggenheim and EquiTrust Life Insurance Company after fierce
battles in the women's qualifying finals of the first WSA World
Series squash event of the year, at the University Club of
Chicago in Chicago, USA.
doubled North American interest in the championship after recovering
from two games down to beat top-ranked Japanese opponent Misaki
Kobayashi 9-11, 7-11, 11-7, 12-10, 11-9 in 54 minutes. In her
first appearance in the main draw, the Canadian number one who is
ranked 32 in the world will take on France's sixth seed Camille
Malaysian Delia Arnold also stared defeat in
the face after losing the first two games in her final qualifying
encounter against Welsh opponent Deon Saffery. But the
29-year-old from Selangor dug deep to regain the upper hand before
closing out the match 8-11, 10-12, 11-8, 11-7, 11-8 in 75 minutes.
Arnold, ranked 28 in the world, now lines up against
defending champion Laura Massaro, the world No.3 from England
who won the title for the first time last year.
Mexico's Samantha Teran also earned herself
the chance to win the title for a second time after despatching
France's Coline Aumard 11-8, 11-8, 11-7. The 33-year-old
world No.33, the champion in 2008, will take on Madeline Perry,
the 13th seed from Ireland who last week won her 15th national
Antipodean qualifying success came courtesy of
Amanda Landers-Murphy, the world No.48 from New Zealand who
became the lowest-ranked player to survive after upsetting England's
world No.29 Emily Whitlock 3-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-4.
While Victoria Lust boosted English interest
in the event after beating Egypt's Mariam Metwally 7-11,
11-4, 11-5, 10-12, 11-6, Egyptian success came when Heba El Torky
defeated US veteran Latasha Khan 14-12, 11-8, 15-13.
and Line Hansen secured slots in the main draw for the first
time after straight games wins: Welsh champion Evans beat Dutch
opponent Milou van der Heijden 11-5, 11-6, 11-5, while Dane
Hansen denied South African interest in Chicago after seeing off
Cape Town-based Siyoli Waters 11-9, 11-6, 11-5.
Malaysia's world number one Nicol David will
be making her Windy City Open debut against US wild card Olivia
Blatchford. The 31-year-old from Penang, who this month became
the sport's longest-reigning world number one of all-time, is seeded
to reach her 99th WSA World Tour final - where she is due to
face 2014 runner-up Raneem El Welily, the world No.2 from
Second seed El Welily, 26, from Cairo, begins her
2015 campaign against qualifier Hansen.
More than a year since last competing on the WSA
World Tour, and just seven months after the birth of her second
child, former world number two Natalie Grinham will be making
her comeback at the 2015 Windy City Open.
Winner of 19 Tour titles in a distinguished career
which began 20 years ago, 36-year-old Grinham will take on England's
fifth seed Alison Waters.
Just seven months after the birth of her second child, former world
number two Natalie Grinham will make her comeback at the first
Women's Squash Association World Series championship of the year,
the Windy City Open presented by Guggenheim Partners and EquiTrust
Life Insurance Company in Chicago from 26 February to 4
World Series Platinum event is making history by offering the
richest purse in North America this year and providing parity for men's
and women's prize money. The Windy City Open, hosted by the
University Club of Chicago and staged in the club's prestigious
Cathedral Hall, is one of only two Pro Squash World Series Events to
offer prize money parity for men and women professionals.
Australia-born Grinham, a record triple gold medallist in the 2006
Commonwealth Games who now represents the Netherlands where she
boasts three national titles, is excited about making her latest Tour
comeback after the birth of her second son Ryan on 31st July last year.
feel like an addict about to get my fix," admitted the 36-year-old from
Hoofddorp. "I am excited to be going back on tour, but at the same time
nervous and curious."
Grinham, who has appeared in 44 WSA World Tour finals and boasts 19
titles, lines up against Alison Waters, the world No.5 from
England, in the first round in the top half of the draw.
"How far will I get, and will I be satisfied?" continued Grinham
(pictured above with Ryan). "I think it's possible to get back to
being competitive at the highest level.
"Having two kids requires a lot more structure, so it's going to be
tougher this time - but I do love a challenge!"
draw also includes Natalie's older sister Rachael Grinham, the
11th seed. The former world number one faces Hong Kong's Joey Chan
in the other half of the draw.
Malaysia's reigning world number one Nicol David is seeded to win
her 61st WSA World Series title in Chicago. The 31-year-old from Penang,
who last month won a record eighth world title, opens her Windy City
Open campaign against US wild card Olivia Blatchford.
draw predicts a final between David and Raneem El Welily, the
Egyptian who moved up to two in the January world rankings after
reaching December's Wadi Degla World Championship final at her
home club in Cairo against expectations.
Defending champion Laura Massaro, who beat El Welily in last
year's final, is the event's third seed. The world No.3 from England
faces a qualifier in the opening round.