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16 Jul 2024

El Tayeb Takes Out El Welily In Philadelphia Thriller

15 Oct 2015

World No.8 Nour El Tayeb produced the shock of the tournament at the 2015 Delaware Investments US Open when she knocked world No.1 Raneem El Welily out of the PSA World Series event in a thrilling high-quality quarter-final encounter at Drexel University in Philadelphia.

The Egyptian pair, two of the best and most audacious shot-makers on the women's tour, put their friendship on hold as they came out firing - hitting winners at will as they traded points, rallies and games in a high-octane clash that went the full distance in front of an enraptured crowd.

After almost 70 minutes of action and some of the most physically punishing rallies seen on the stunning all-glass show court all week - and with the scoreline reading two-all and 9-9 - a fortuitous nick handed El Tayeb match ball and she duly converted to record one of her best ever wins and move into the semi-finals.

"Raneem and I are great friends off court and it took me a little while to forget that tonight but I had to keep telling myself she's just another opponent and pretend I don't like her very much," said the 22-year-old from Cairo.

"I wanted to win just as much as she did and I gave everything to beat her and to make the semi-finals means so much to me. But I didn't come here to beat the world No.1 and then lose in the next round so I've got to recover and prepare now for the semi-finals as best I can and give it my all."

The win handed El Tayeb just her second every victory over El Welily and it was made all the more remarkable due to a dramatic turn of events in the third game as the match looked to be heading towards a premature end when El Tayeb screamed out in pain after a heavy fall. But the underdog returned to court following an injury time-out and, despite her visible discomfort, played through the pain to book a place in the US Open semi-finals for the first ever time.

"I still felt pain in my shoulder (after the fall) but it's the quarter-final of the US Open and opportunities like this might not come again so I just had to push through and forget about it and I owe a lot of thanks to my fiancé Ali (Farag) for keeping me motivated to push on."

Elsewhere there was double delight for French squash enthusiasts as Gregory Gaultier and Camille Serme out-classed their quarter-final opponents, Simon Rösner and Nour El Sherbini, respectively, to reach the last four.

32-year-old Gaultier, a two-time US Open winner, demolished German Rösner in an emphatic straight-games triumph while Serme was similarly ruthless as she despatched 2014 runner-up El Sherbini, the Egyptian world No.7 - also in straight games.

"Beating Simon 3/0 is a good performance and one I'm happy with," said Gaultier.

"He's No.6 in the world and close to the four guys so he's a very dangerous opponent but I was very fluid in the first two games - I feel confident and I'm really enjoying my squash.

"I've felt good all week and as long as I play well that's all that matters. I'll keep doing my routines during the day off tomorrow and stay as healthy as possible and do all the things that I need to do to stay in the best shape for the semi-final."

Gaultier will now face world No.1 Mohamed Elshorbagy, the defending men's champion who defeated French number two Mathieu Castagnet, for a place in the final - while Serme will take on El Tayeb.

"I'm really pleased to be in the semi-finals especially beating such as dangerous player 3/0," said British Open champion Serme.

"I'm looking forward to playing again on Friday and hopefully I can play well again."

US Open image courtesy of www.squashpics.com