Teenager Nour El Sherbini claimed the scalp of the day as the WSA players joined proceedings at the O2 Arena, London for the $95K Allam British Open Squash Championships second round.
The Egyptian sixteen-year-old showed a sign of things to come as she stormed to a first game lead against Irish opponent Madeline Perry. Perry was able to steady the play and get a foothold in the game, drawing level and then leading 2-1 as she used her years of tour experience to her advantage. The rallies were ferocious and the momentum seemed to be in the No4 seed’s favour, but Sherbini weathered the storm and struck back in the fourth to force the deciding game. Depleted, the Irishwoman succumbed to the youthful stamina of the teenager, who has already played ten games in the tournament so far, during which she has seen 99-minutes of match play.
The win is sweet revenge for Sherbini, who lost to Perry last month in the Irish Open quarter-finals. “I am so happy to win,” states the teenager. “I love the atmosphere here at the O2 Arena and it is so exciting to be playing here. It helps you to play your best squash.
“At 2-1 down I had to be focused. I got my confidence back and played a lot of drops. That seemed to be working well but first of all I had to get Madeline to the back of the court.”
Fellow Egyptian Raneem El Weleily maintained her unbeaten record against Dipika Pallikal, but the Indian star didn’t let the No5 seed have things all her own way.
Weleily began confidently and was able to extend a promising lead quickly as Pallikal seemed sluggish following her 70-minute round one match the day before. Poor lengths and lose balls were easily picked off by the Egyptian, and it was the second game before Pallikal began to assert any form of control on proceedings. With an improved length and sharper movement, the world No14 was far more of a match for her opponent, and tellingly took the second game to draw level. The following two games were a similar cat-and-mouse story as neither play could hold a sustained period of pressure. It was the higher seed though, perhaps more fresh from a 3-0 win in round one, who came out on top to take the 3-2 win and progress to Friday’s quarter finals.
Earlier, Annie Au inflicted Alison Waters’ first loss of the 2012 WSA World Tour after a dramatic round two comeback. The English wild card entry had been on an unbeaten streak so far this year, having claimed three successive WSA titles since returning from injury in January. Further progression seemed assured for Waters as she took a commanding 2-0 lead against the world No6 but the Hong Kong international altered her tactics to great effect in the third game to spark a resurgence.
“She’s quite a steady player, and she kept me at the back of the court for the first two games,” explained Au. “I tried to mix things up more, keep a good length and then play to the front of the court.
“Sometimes I’m really not patient enough, like I was early on today. So I have to remind myself of that a lot so I don’t keep giving points away. She had a long first round game yesterday, so I was aware she might be tired today. The fourth game in particular was very tight, and I thought when I got back to 9-all and won a stroke, that I could come back and win it.”
A scrappy win for Jenny Duncalf saw her take the last quarter final spot of the day after beating Australia’s Donna Urquhart 3-1. The English home-hope had looked in complete control in the early stages, with Urquhart yet to make an impact on the match. A quick 5-minute first game was the wake-up call the Australian needed though, as she tightened her length and met the pace of the game to force Duncalf to a tie-break, which she took 13-11. A similar lapse in concentration seemed to follow for the world No17 and Duncalf was again allowed to close out a quick game to regain the lead. Urquhart tried in vain to establish her second-game form, but was ultimately slightly off the pace in the fourth as her English opponent settled the contest with a tie-break win on the first attempt.
The Allam British Open second round continues today for the top half of the draw and is aired live on www.psasquashtv.com.
Round 2, bottom half results:
 Annie Au (HKG) bt [WC] Alison Waters (ENG) 9-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-7 (59m)
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt  Madeline Perry (IRL) 11-6, 4-11, 5-11, 11-3, 11-5 (45m)
 Raneem El Weleily (EGY) bt  Dipika Pallikal (IND 11-4, 8-11, 11-4, 7-11, 11-7 (51m)
 Jenny Duncalf (ENG) bt  Donna Urquhart (AUS) 11-2, 11-13, 11-4, 12-10 (45m)
Round 2, top half draw:
12:00 Jaclyn Hawkes (NZL) v  Camille Serme (FRA)
14:15  Laura Massaro (ENG) v  Natalie Grinham (NED)
18:00  Rachael Grinham (AUS) v  Joelle King (NZL)
20:15  Nicol David (MAS) v  Samantha Teran (MEX)