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16 Jul 2024

King & El Welily Eliminate English Interest In Women's World Quarters For First Time Ever

14 Dec 2017

The quarter-finals of the Women's PSA World Championships will be without English interest for the first time in the event's 38-year history after New Zealand's Joelle King and Egypt's Raneem El Welily defeated world No.7 Sarah-Jane Perry and world No.16 Victoria Lust, respectively, in the second round of the AJ Bell-sponsored tournament in Manchester.

It was 24 hours earlier that former champion Laura Massaro and Alison Waters, the England numbers one and three, respectively, departed from the tournament on the opening day of second round action in a disappointing day for the hosts at the National Squash Centre.

A slow start from Perry saw the 2017 British Open runner-up go a game down and, despite battling back to take the second, the Birmingham-born 27-year-old was powerless to stop an in-form King from moving into the last eight for the first time since 2013, courtesy of an 11-1, 6-11, 14-12, 11-6 victory.

"I think we're the two tallest female players on the Tour, so it's always tough trying to get the ball past each other," said Kiwi King.

"We're also good friends off court, so it's always nice just to come and play some good squash, where whoever plays the best squash on the day wins.

"I normally play quite a high-intensity style of play and I think you could see today that I was quite tense in my movement. One of the things that [Coach] Hadrian [Stiff] has been working on a lot is to make me more relaxed but still stay aggressive."

France's Camille Serme will stand between King and a maiden World Championship semi-final appearance after the world No.3 eased past US No.1 Olivia Blatchford, winning 11-4, 11-3, 11-6 in 26 minutes.

Meanwhile, El Welily's 3/1 win over Lust - which leaves men's world No.6 Nick Matthew as the only English player left standing in the tournament - means that she will take on Malaysia's eight-time winner Nicol David in the quarter-finals, in what will be a repeat of the 2014 World Championship final, where David recovered from four championship balls down to win.

"I don't think Nicol and I have played each other in a while," said El Welily.

"Nicol is a legend of squash and it will be an exciting match. It's never going to be easy but I hope it's a match people will enjoy."

The men's tournament saw round three draw to a close as defending champion Karim Abdel Gawad kept his title defence on course, with the Egyptian world No.4 recovering from a game down to defeat Indian No.1 Saurav Ghosal 12-14, 11-5, 11-6, 11-7.

Gawad will take on world No.5 Marwan Elshorbagy in the next round, with the Egyptian defeating Frenchman Lucas Serme - the younger brother of Camille - to reach a maiden World Championship quarter-final.

"Today was a tough day and I had to fight until the end," said Gawad, who beat compatriot Ramy Ashour in last year's final.

"Even when I was 10-6 up in the fourth, I knew he could come back easily with his awesome winners, so I knew I had to push until the end.

"Last year I had no pressure and I played my best squash for the whole month and I won it. This year, I came here with a little bit of pressure as I'm defending the title but I just try to play like it is the first match of the tournament."

Colombia's former world No.4 Miguel Angel Rodriguez became the first South American to reach the quarter-finals at this tournament two years ago - and he matched that finish after a surprise five-game victory over world No.7 Tarek Momen.

"It's been a tough season, probably the worst in my career, but this is definitely my best tournament of the year," Rodriguez said.

"Two years ago I had my best season, so I'm trying just to enjoy my game as I've achieved a lot of dreams already and I'm happy to represent my country and represent South America."

He will face world No.3 Ali Farag, who made it a four-strong Egyptian contingent in the men's quarter-finals - matching the women's event - after the US Open champion defeated Australia's Cameron Pilley with a devastating display to take it in three.