England’s world number two Jenny Duncalf secured her anticipated place in the last four of the Women’s Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Open – but only after coming through a 79-minute five-game marathon against eighth seed Kasey Brown in the quarter-finals of the $74,000 WISPA World Tour squash event, the seventh WISPA Gold championship of the year.
“That’s the best Kasey’s ever played against me,” admitted a relieved Duncalf to www.squashsite.co.uk after her 10-12, 11-7, 11-9, 11-13, 11-8 win. “I had game balls in both the games I lost, which was a bit of a downer, especially the first – but I managed to regroup.
“It was so dead on there. I was struggling to find the balance between defence and attack, and I even thought of asking for the ball to be changed. It’s been bouncy on there in practice, but not today.”
The 27-year-old from Harrogate will now face England team-mate Alison Waters for a place in the final. Fourth seed Waters extended her unbeaten run against Omneya Abdel Kawy by beating the fifth seed from Egypt 9-11, 11-1, 14-12, 11-6.
The other semi-final will herald the 30th WISPA Tour meeting – and fourth in Hong Kong over the past five years – betweenNicol David, the top seed from Malaysia, and Rachael Grinham, the No3 seed from Australia.
David, the world number one chasing her sixth successive Hong Kong title, recovered from a game down to defeat England’s seventh seed Laura Massaro 7-11, 11-4, 11-4, 11-4, while Grinham, twice a runner-up, saw off sixth seed Madeline Perry 12-10, 14-12, 11-5.
It was the disappointing end of a fine run of form from Ireland’s Madeline Perry who won the biggest Tour title of her career at the Australian Open earlier in the month.
“After taking the first I was ahead in the second, but when she came back to 9-6 I didn’t expect to win it,” admitted Grinham. “I just tried to make her win the points rather than give them away, so having a 2/0 lead was a good bonus for me.
“I thought I was playing well, working her front and back, and she got a bit tired in the third. It’s also harder to get yourself up when you’re 2/0 down. I was more confident with a 2/0 lead so I just kept going for it.”
A dejected Perry responded: “She played really well, and her drops were just ridiculous!”
 Nicol David (MAS) bt  Laura Massaro (ENG) 7-11, 11-4, 11-4, 11-4 (36m)
 Rachael Grinham (AUS) bt  Madeline Perry (IRL) 12-10, 14-12, 11-5 (37m)
 Alison Waters (ENG) bt  Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) 9-11, 11-1, 14-12, 11-6 (51m)
 Jenny Duncalf (ENG) bt  Kasey Brown (AUS) 10-12, 11-7, 11-9, 11-13, 11-8 (79m)