The shortest reign in world championship history came to an end in Cairo when fifth seed Alison Waters upset England team-mate Laura Massaro, the No.2 seed, in the quarter-finals of the Wadi Degla Women’s World Squash Championship.
It was only nine months ago – in the 2013 championship staged in Penang, Malaysia, in March this year – that Massaro became the first Englishwoman to win the world title for 15 years. The world No.2 also became the first English player to hold both the women’s British Open and World Championship titles simultaneously.
Just a week after combining to lead England to victory in the Women’s World Team Championship in Canada, Massaro and Waters were back in more usual head-to-head action for a place in the semi-finals of the premier WSA championship at the Wadi Degla club in the Egyptian capital.
Their pre-match career head-to-head tally showed Londoner Waters ahead 7-5 – but Lancashire lass Massaro had the upper hand in their two most recent meetings, both wins in straight games.
Massaro ultimately prevailed in a lengthy opening tie-break game – but it was underdog Waters, ranked three places lower, who gained the upper hand thereafter before closing out the match 12-14, 11-2, 11-7, 11-9 in 52 minutes.
“Playing in Canada gave me a lot of confidence,” Waters explained to the event website www.worldsquashchamps.com later. “I learnt a lot about myself there, after I lost against Joey (Chan). I came back very strong – I realised that I was actually mentally very strong.
“In the fourth it could have gone either way at nine-all,” added the 30-year-old. “I came here to prove myself and I’m pretty proud of what I achieved.”
El Welily also survived a four-game battle, beating Egyptian compatriot Nour El Tayeb, the eighth seed, 11-7, 11-9, 11-13, 11-5 to make the last four for the third time in a row.
“I’m over the moon,” said the world No.3 afterwards. “I tried to stay patient and strong. It was a great match with Nour, a great friend and a sister.”
An all-Egyptian final is on the cards after Omneya Abdel Kawy, the No.10 seed from Cairo, beat seventh-seeded Malaysian Low Wee Wern 12-10, 11-3, 11-4 to reach the semis for the first time since 2010.
Kawy, the 29-year-old former world No.4, will now face career-long rival Nicol David, the world number one from Malaysia who is bidding to extend her record to eight world titles.
“Oh my God! I’m back in the semis of the worlds – in Egypt!” exclaimed Abdel Kawy after her quarter-final upset. “I got to the final in Sharm, against Nicol, so that’s the rematch – that’s my revenge!”
David beat top-ranked French opponent Camille Serme, the sixth seed, 11-9, 11-7, 13-11.
“Getting a 3/0 result against Camille is a great result – I’m very happy with that,” said the event favourite.
Wadi Degla Women’s World Squash Championship, Cairo, Egypt Nicol David (MAS) bt  Camille Serme (FRA) 11-9, 11-7, 13-11 (43m)
 Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) bt  Low Wee Wern (MAS) 12-10, 11-3, 11-4 (30m)
 Raneem El Welily (EGY) bt  Nour El Tayeb (EGY) 11-7, 11-9, 11-13, 11-5 (43m)
 Alison Waters (ENG) bt  Laura Massaro (ENG) 12-14, 11-2, 11-7, 11-9 (52m)