Nour El Sherbini passes Omneya Abdel Kawy exam at PSA World Series Finals in Dubai
DUBAI // A day after losing her opening match of the PSA World Series Finals, world champion Nour El Sherbini was at her merciless best against good friend and compatriot Omneya Abdel Kawy on Wednesday, cruising to a 11-4, 11-8 win in just 14 minutes.
Taking the court for the first time since her win over Briton Laura Massaro to win the world title in Malaysia last month, El Sherbini lost two tight games to former world No 1 Raneem El Welily on the opening day of the Finals on Tuesday, but she dismissed suggestions that the loss served as a wake-up call.
“I don’t think yesterday’s loss was a shock or something,” said El Sherbini, who came bolting out of the blocks against Kawy and was up 6-1 ahead after just two minutes. Three minutes later, she was up a game.
“Raneem has been the world No 1 and growing up, I was looking up to her. I learnt a lot from her. She has beaten me a lot of times, and I think I have only a few wins against her,” El Sherbini said of her opening defeat.
“So I was very happy the way I played against her; I am happy it was two close games. I don’t think yesterday was a bad result for me after all the stuff that happened after the world championship.”
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Returning home from the World Open in Malaysia, El Sherbini had little time for squash, as she appeared for her university exams and also tried to accommodate the unprecedented media demands on her time.
“I missed a few papers because I was at the worlds,” said El Sherbini, who is studying media management. “But I sat for all six exams after returning home. Now I am done with that and I have my final exams later.
“It’s really hard for me. I am trying to manage between the exams and the squash ... just trying to do my best.”
Despite the difficulties of balancing her squash career and studies, the 20 year old from Alexandria will be hoping she does not return early from the Finals. El Sherbini meets Frenchwoman Camille Serme in her final group match on Thursday and needs a win to make sure she qualifies for the last four; a defeat will send Serme through.
“It’s another important match for me; it’s going to decided whether I am in or not,” said El Sherbini, who has won her last two matches against Serme after losing to her in the quarter-finals of both the US Open and British Open in 2015.
“We’ve always had very, very tough matches against each other, so I am just going to go out and do my best. Hopefully, the better player will win.”
El Welily will have no such concerns as she has already booked her spot in the semis after staging two superb rallies to upstage Serme.
Having lost the opening game, El Welily managed to fightback from 6-8 in the second and 6-9 in the deciding third game to win 9-11, 12-10, 11-9. She will now take on Egyptian compatriot Kawy in her final Group B and is happy she will not be taking the court today with the “pressure of qualifying” still on her mind.
“I am pretty lucky to get through I guess with a very close win yesterday and an even closer win today,” El Welily. “So I am really happy because I don’t have to come out tomorrow not knowing what I need to do to qualify.
“Still, I don’t think there will be a drop in my intensity levels. My plan is just to keep winning every match no matter what and to prove to myself that I can beat anyone. That is my mental attitude at the moment. The match might be inconsequential for me, but I have things to prove to myself.”
Gregory Gaultier, the reigning men’s world champion, is also through to the last four after brutalising Australian Cameron Pilley 11-3, 11-1 on Wednesday. The Frenchman had defeated Germany’s Simon Rosner 11-2, 11-9 Tuesday.
Rosner, meanwhile, has kept his qualifying hopes alive with a comfortable 11-3, 11-7 win over Egyptian fourth seed Omar Mosaad, who has now lost both his matches. He will meet Pilley in their final group match on Thursday, and the winner of that match will join Gaultier from Group B in the semis.
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