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22 Jun 2024

Perry, Willstrop & Massaro Make It England Day In New York

18 Jan 2017

World No.11 Sarah-Jane Perry triumphed in a remarkable rollercoaster encounter with world No.3 and 2015 winner Raneem El Welily to lead three English players through to the semi-finals of the iconic 2017 JP Morgan Tournament Champions in New York while securing her first ever appearance in the last four of a PSA World Series event.

Just 24 hours after halting home favourite Amanda Sobhy, the 2016 runner-up, in an epic five-game thriller at Grand Central Terminal, Perry showed no signs of fatigue as she raced to a 2/0 game lead over second seed El Welily.

But the former world No.1 from Egypt battled back to draw level at two-all before taking a 4-1 lead in the decider.

A sublime run of nine consecutive points however swung the match back in favour of the Birmingham-based underdog as Perry completed the 11-7, 12-10, 10-12, 5-11, 11-5 win to set up a seismic clash with compatriot Laura Massaro, guaranteeing an English finalist.

"That's my first win over Raneem, to reach my first ever World Series semi-final, and I get to play here again inside Grand Central Terminal tomorrow - so I'm very pleased and very proud," said 26-year-old Perry.

"I've been working hard on and off court for the past year and I've got more confidence and belief in myself. And having that self-belief is imperative at this level because I was 2-0 up and all of a sudden she was back and I was down in the fifth - so I had to really work hard to make sure I got back on track.

"I didn't realise I won nine points in a row. I was just focusing on each point, getting my discipline back, and refusing to stop believing and I'm excited about the semi-finals tomorrow.

"I've played Laura many times and it's a massive match. I'm just going to focus on trying to play how I want to play and do my best."

Perry will take on world No.5 Massaro after the 33-year-old from Preston dominated last eight opponent Omneya Abdel Kawy, beating the world No.9 from Egypt 11-4, 12-10, 11-6.

Meanwhile, in one of the most eagerly-awaited matches of the night, world No.1 Nour El Sherbini kept her title defence alive with a narrow victory over eight-time World Champion Nicol David in a thrilling 64-minute battle.

Egyptian El Sherbini will now meet Camille Serme after the world No.4 from France knocked out world No.2 Nouran Gohar in a hugely impressive 3/1 win that was inspired by a newly-adopted training technique - yoga!

"Nouran beat me twice last year in very tough five-game battles so I knew it would be hard today," said Serme, who beat El Sherbini 3/1 in the US Open final last October.

"But I had no pressure on me. She's No.2 in the world and I felt like the pressure was on her - I just focused on what I needed to do, which is exactly what I had done at the US Open as well, so I'm very, very happy.

"I'm trying to get into the same state of mind as I was in Philadelphia. I started Yoga recently and anytime I feel nervous I use the respiration techniques to try and let it go - and it seems to be helping!"

In the men's draw it was another No.11, James Willstrop, who backed up his headline-grabbing defeat of perennial rival Nick Matthew - his first win in 20 attempts over his old adversary - with an accomplished four-game win over New Zealand's Paul.

33-year-old Willstrop, the 2011 tournament winner, utilised his exquisite court-craft and ball placement to counter the unrelenting physicality of the 24-year-old Kiwi, ending Coll's 10-match winning streak, and setting up an intriguing battle with second seed Karim Abdel Gawad. The World Champion from Egypt recovered from a game down to see off Germany's Simon Rösner.

"I'm very happy to get through today because he's flying at the moment and arguably one of the in-form players out there," said Willstrop. "To break that run I had to play very well.

"I had to make sure I didn't lose sight of the end goal. He makes the court so small with his physicality and speed that you have to keep putting the work in, move him around as much as possible and try to break him down.

"You have to put the ball in good areas against guys like Nick and Paul because they're such wonderful athletes. I've done that well in the past two rounds and I'm excited at the chance to be out on that stage against tomorrow and I'm keen to soak it up.

"But there's no reason that I can't look to progress further. I feel alright and if I'm beating players like Paul then I'm set to go and hopefully I can produce it again. It's my favourite event - the venue speaks for itself - and there's nothing like being here. I've had some great moments here and hopefully I'll have a few more still to come."