Nour El Sherbini claimed her third WSA title after a thrilling finale to the Tour Silver Greenwich Open 2013.
The 17-year-old Egyptian, seeded second for the event, saw her way comfortably through from round one after a straight games defeat of qualifier Joey Chan of Hong Kong. Natalie Grinham was unable to continue her Tournament of Champions winning form against eighth seed Camille Serme, despite 13-11 and 18-16 tiebreak games in the second and third. The only seeded surprise of round one came as qualifier Nour El Tayeb defeated fourth seed Annie Au in four games to progress to the quarter-finals.
After a confident first game, Raneem El Weleily saw her fortunes change as Camille Serme stormed back to a four-game victory against the Egyptian in the quarters. The Frenchwoman needed a 14-12 tiebreak to see off the final game, recording her second ever win against El Weleily.
At the other end of the draw, El Sherbini faced a real battle against No.6 seed Dipika Pallikal of India. The Egyptian world No.6 led after the first game, but Pallikal forced her way back into the contest against the higher seed to lead 2-1. El Sherbini fought back to win two consecutive games, and booked her semi-final place against Kasey Brown, who had beaten Nour El Tayeb in a close four-game tie.
Low Wee Wern had made her way quietly through the draw, picking up two four-game wins first against Irish pair Aisling Blake and then fifth seed Madeline Perry. The third seed Malaysian then faced giant-killer Camille Serme in the semi-final round, and a somewhat anti-climactic result saw the world No.7 move past her French opponent in a quick three games, bringing their overall WSA head-to-head to 4-4.
El Sherbini saw a similar three-game result against last week’s Tournament of Champions finalist Kasey Brown, to confirm a second versus third seed final. The Malaysian had won the pair’s only previous meeting back in 2010, when Wee Wern defeated a then 14-year-old El Sherbini in an 85-minute Singapore Masters qualifying match in 2010.
On this occasion however, it was the Egyptian who led from the start, doing enough to establish an early advantage to close out a first game victory. Wee Wern did her best to limit El Sherbini’s deadly attacking short game, playing disciplined line and length squash to supress her opponents opportunities.
The Malaysian drew level after the second game, but again went behind as world No.6, so lethal in the front of the court, took her chances well to retake the advantage. The scoreline didn’t quite reflect how evenly matched the player’s were as many points lasted 30-40 shots before an opening came. Wee Wern again showed her resolve to draw level and force the deciding fifth game, and what a tense affair it proved to be.
Nothing separated the pair throughout the contest, with neither player giving an inch to their opponent. A tie-break was forced at 10-all, and the score continued to rise as both finalists gave it there all. Wee Wern had one or two opportunities to finish the contest herself, but in the end it was the teenage sensation from Egypt who finally tipped the balance in her favour to claim the Greenwich Open title, her first on foreign soil.
Despite winning the World & British Junior Championships in 2012, El Sherbini’s last WSA title came back in the 2011 where she won the Alexandria International Open in her home town, and before that, the Heliopolis Open in Cairo in 2010.