Omneya Abdel Kawy reaches her first World Series semi-final in over a year after beating a third consecutive seeded player in the Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Squash Open quarter-finals.
The unseeded Egyptian, who had already eliminated the second and tenth seeds in the competition, today lined up against No.6 seed Alison Waters. The Englishwoman sits at No.4 in the WSA world rankings, but Kawy maintained her fearless approach from the beginning of the match to take the first game. Waters hit back with an equally close second game win, before stretching out a larger lead to take the third. Kawy, formerly a world No.4 herself, came back at the Englishwoman, denying her time on the ball and upping the pressure to claim the fourth and force a deciding fifth game. The Egyptian seemed relentless in pursuing her semi-final goal, but Waters stayed in the contest until 8-all, when Kawy pulled away, and the deficit proved too much.
Kawy hasn’t reached a World Series semi-final since July 2011, but will now face eleventh seed Camille Serme in the next round. Serme, whose last World Series semi-final also came at the Malaysian Open in July 2011, took just 28-minutes to defeat Rachael Grinham and ensure the extension of her Hong Kong campaign. The young Frenchwoman dominated the opening exchanges and seemed largely untroubled until Grinham applied the pressure in the third. The resilient Australian did enough to force a tiebreak, but was unable to capitalise and went down in straight games.
One Grinham sister did make it through to tomorrow’s semi-final round, as Dutch international Natalie Grinham defeated No.3 seed Jenny Duncalf in four games. With head-to-heads stretching back as far as 2002, Duncalf holds the better record, although Grinham had claimed four of their last six clashes. A recent drop in form from Duncalf means that the Englishwoman hasn’t progressed past the quarter-finals of a WSA World Tour event in over a year. A close early encounter went in favour of Grinham, but her opponent hit back with a hard fought tiebreak win in the second game. The game seemed to have taken a lot out of Duncalf, and Grinham was able to claim a comfortable third game, before closing out the contest without much of a fight-back from the former world No.2.
Grinham will have her work cut out tomorrow as she is drawn to play six-time Hong Kong Open champion Nicol David. The Malaysian is yet to drop more than five points in a game so far in this year’s event, and was on lethal form as she dispatched Australian ninth seed Kasey Brown in 30-minutes.
Play switches tomorrow from the Hong Kong Squash Centre, to an all-glass court set up on the Hong Kong harbour-front.
18.45 –  Nicol David (MAS) v  Natalie Grinham (NED)
17.45 – Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) v  Camille Serme (FRA)
 Nicol David (MAS) bt  Kasey Brown (AUS) 11-2, 11-4, 11-3 (30m)
 Natalie Grinham (NED) bt  Jenny Duncalf (ENG) 11-8, 10-12, 11-2, 11-5 (49m)
 Camille Serme (FRA) bt  Rachael Grinham (AUS) 11-6, 11-7, 12-10 (28m)
Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) bt  Alison Waters (ENG) 11-9, 9-11, 6-11, 11-8, 11-9 (67m)