Camille Serme going strong for France in Dubai squash tournament even as Gregory Gaultier is beaten
DUBAI // Camille Serme, the top seed in the women’s section, will keep the French flag flying at the Dubai World Series Finals after the shock early exit of men’s defending champion Gregory Gaultier.
Serme defeated Egyptian world No 2 Raneem El Welily, last year’s runner up, 11-7, 7-11, 12-10 in her final group match on Thursday to book her place in the last four with an all-win record.
Winner of two World Series events this season – the US Open and Tournament of Champions – the world No 3 had started her campaign with a battling 2-1 win over Alison Waters in her opening match before edging a tense thriller against Nouran Gohar on Wednesday, saving four match balls.
Serme had to save two match ball against Welily as well and was delighted to get through.
“I can hardly believe I have made it,” she said. “I saved two match balls again and it was just a lucky shot at the end. I think you can count only on one hand how many times I have beaten her, so I’ll take this one.
“Really it could have gone either way. It was so close. I just tried to fight as much as I could and try to retrieve every ball.”
Serme, however, was disappointed her compatriot and world No 1 Gaultier will not be joining her in the last four of a tournament he has won three times.
Gaultier will be making a group-stage exit for the first time in his career after losing 11-9, 11-4 to Englishman James Willstrop.
He was on a 27-match unbeaten streak coming to Dubai, having won six tournaments in a row, but was stunned in straight games by Egyptian Ali Farag in his opening match on Tuesday night. A second consecutive defeat means he has no chance of progressing to the last four even if he wins his final group match against Mohamed El Shorbagy, who has already qualified for the semis.
“It is a shame because we never really won at the same time the whole season,” a disappointed Serme said. “But yeah, he has been on an amazing run these last six months, so he must be feeling tired now.
“I hope he can perform well in his final match just to finish on a good note, and I will do my best for the French flag tomorrow.”
Men’s Group A
7-Simon Rosner (GER) bt 5-Nick Matthew (ENG) 13-11, 11-8
1-Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt 4-Marwan El Shorbagy (EGY) 11-7, 12-10
Men’s Group B
6-James Willstrop (ENG) bt 2-Gregory Gaultier (FRA) 2-0: 11-9, 11-4
3-Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt 8-Ali Farag (EGY) 2-1: 8-11, 11-8, 12-10
Women’s Group A
5-Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt 8-Alison Waters (ENG) 11-7, 14-12
1-Camille Serme (FRA) bt 4-Raneem El Welily (EGY) 11-7, 7-11, 12-10
Women’s Group B
2-Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt 6-Nicol David (MAS) 2-0: 11-6, 11-9
3-Laura Massaro (ENG) bt 7-Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) 2-0: 11-6, 14-12
Joining Serme in the last four from the women’s Group A is Gohar, who bounced back from the disappointment of Wednesday’s loss to the top seed to down Waters 11-7, 14-12.
“It was a really crucial match today, so it was really important for me to be relaxed, stay calm,” Gohar, 19, said. “It’s like a dream for me to make it to the semis of Dubai.
“I am really happy to give myself the chance of playing one more match on this beautiful court.”
Laura Massaro, the women’s defending champion, has also booked her place in the semi-final following a 11-6, 14-12 win over Sarah-Jane Perry.
The Englishwoman had defeated Malaysia’s Nicol David in her opening match.
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Updated: June 8, 2017 04:00 AM