England’s Laura Massaro and Malaysia’s world number one Nicol David denied the hosts of the Alexandria International an all-Egyptian semi-final line-up after hard-fought victories over local players in the quarter-finals of the WSA International 100 squash event at Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Alexandria.
World No.4 Massaro avenged a defeat in their last meeting in the US Open in October when she twice came from behind to beat Alexandrian Nour El Sherbini, ranked just three places below, 5-11, 11-8, 7-11, 11-7, 11-8 in 63 minutes.
“Nour is so talented, I’m happy I managed to get one more win out of her today,” Massaro told the event website www.alexandriainternationalsquash.com later. “I’m sorry I spoiled the party for the crowd, everybody wanted her to win – I had to work extra hard in each rally to compensate for everybody cheering for Nour!”
Top seed David is now just one win away from a 100th WSA World Tour final appearance following a tough battle with Cairo-based Nour El Tayeb, the fifth seed. A stunning rally brought the match to a close when David leapt to put away the winner with the Egyptian stranded on the floor after a dive.
“I think it was a very exciting match for the crowd, with Nour diving all over the court and just picking up everything,” said David after her 11-5, 11-8, 11-9 triumph in 41 minutes. “It was a very tough match, it was very hot on there, and I’m truly happy to get through in three!”
David will now face her third successive local opponent when she takes on career-long rival Omneya Abdel Kawy for a place in the final. The world No.9 from Cairo pulled off the day’s only upset when she survived a five-game battle with England’s Alison Waters, the world No.6.
Kawy recovered from a 2/1 lead by Londoner Waters to take the last two games for the loss of just six points, much to the delight of the home crowd.
“That was very tough,” said Abdel Kawy after her 8-11, 11-9, 2-11, 11-3, 11-3 victory. “In the first two games, strangely enough I was very tired, and she was playing very, really well, and my head was just not there.
“My coach told me ‘come on, you can win this, you know you are not tired, just give it a big push’.”
Sixth seed Serme, who won the British Open title in May against expectations and went into the Alexandria quarter-final boasting a 15-match winning streak since March, built up a 2/1 lead.
But from 0-3 down in the fourth, the Alexandria-born world No.2 dominated proceedings, dropping just three more points to record a popular 8-11, 11-4, 11-13, 11-5, 11-1 win in 55 minutes.
“She was playing unbelievably well, obviously,” said the relieved Egyptian. “The plan I had prepared today was a dangerous one I really didn’t like, but I couldn’t afford to change it at all. I’m just so relieved to get through.”
Alexandria International, Quarter-finals: Nicol David (MAS) bt  Nour El Tayeb (EGY) 11-5, 11-8, 11-9 (41m)
 Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) bt  Alison Waters (ENG) 8-11, 11-9, 2-11, 11-3, 11-3 (53m)
 Laura Massaro (ENG) bt  Nour El Sherbini (EGY) 5-11, 11-8, 7-11, 11-7, 11-8 (63m)
 Raneem El Welily (EGY) bt  Camille Serme (FRA) 8-11, 11-4, 11-13, 11-5, 11-1 (55m)