Egyptian World No.2 Nour El Sherbini and current World Champion Nicol David will go head-to-head in a highly-anticipated quarter-final battle in the Naza PSA Women’s World Championship after they claimed respective second round victories over Annie Au and Alison Waters in Bukit Jalil’s National Squash Centre, Malaysia.
The in-form El Sherbini, who defeated David en route to winning last month’s prestigious Allam British Open, dropped her first game of the tournament against Au but still managed to dispatch the World No.10 with an 11-5, 11-6, 6-11, 11-3 scoreline.
“Every match is different than the others and it depends on the day, how everyone’s feeling and the mood,” said El Sherbini, as she prepares to maintain her four-match unbeaten streak over David.
“Nicol is playing here in Malaysia in her home town and everyone is going to come and support her. I’m just going to play and try to do my best and I’m sure it’s going to be a tough one.
“I’m going to give it everything I have, it’s the biggest tournament and everyone wants to do their best so I’m just going to give it 100 per cent and hopefully it will be a good match.”
Set in the aptly named Nicol David Arena, the match began in an attritional style with both players trading cautious blows in a bid to find a chink in each other’s armour. David, who beat 2007 winner Rachael Grinham in the opening round, increased the tempo mid-game and Waters struggled to respond as the Penangite took the first game, before she controlled proceedings in the second to double her lead, with a tinned shot from Waters handing her a two-game advantage.
Waters came out fighting at the beginning of the third and final game and marched into a 5-1 lead as she looked to be on the verge of launching a strong comeback, with a particularly gruelling 50 shot plus rally going in the World No.11’s favour. However, David picked up the pace again and roared back to take the next 10 points in a sensational ending to a 38-minute encounter, courtesy of a 11-9, 11-3, 11-5 margin of victory.
“You need to be on it, every point, and that’s how I felt today so I was very pleased with my performance,” said David.
“Every player wants to start well and get in there first because it always gives you that extra bit of confidence. Playing Alison as well, you have to be on it and you can’t give her any confidence to play her game. I really dug deep and I played the right shots and had the right tactics at the right time so I’m really pleased to come through 3-0.
“I’m really pleased to play the way I did today. If I can bring this forward to tomorrow then I will be pushing the quarter-finals as best I can.”
The tournament top seed was in sharp form and put Chinappa under a barrage of pressure throughout a whirlwind three-game salvo that saw Massaro take it 11-3, 11-6, 11-3.
“I wanted to go out there and make a really fast start and try and be positive from the beginning,” said Massaro.
“I wanted to get in front and I felt like, in the first round, I was a little bit passive to start with. It was just about trying to get out and start strong, keep my intensity quite high and I think I probably set a record for the amount of fist pumps considering the length of time that I was on court for. I was making sure that I was there for the entire match and that I didn’t let her get up at any point.”
There will be four Egyptian representatives in the quarter-final of a World Championship for the first time in the tournament’s history after Raneem El Welily, Omneya Abdel Kawy and Nouran Gohar all won. El Welily will take on Amanda Sobhy, who dispatched Nour El Tayeb, while Kawy will face Massaro. French No.1 Camille Serme is the other quarter-finalist thanks to her win against Sarah-Jane Perry and she will take on Gohar in a repeat of their British Open semi-final fixture.
Results – Second Round: Naza PSA Women’s World Championship
 Laura Massaro (ENG) bt Joshna Chinappa (IND) 11-3, 11-6, 11-3 (26m)
 Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) bt Delia Arnold (MAS) 9-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-8 (54m)
 Amanda Sobhy (USA) bt Nour El Tayeb (EGY) 11-0, 11-7, 4-11, 7-11, 12-10 (51m)
 Raneem El Welily (EGY) bt Joelle King (NZL) 11-9, 11-5, 12-10 (31m)
 Camille Serme (FRA) bt Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) 11-5, 11-7, 11-6 (34m)
 Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt [Q] Nadine Shahin (EGY) 11-5, 11-6, 11-4 (24m)
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt Annie Au (HKG) 11-5, 11-6, 6-11, 11-3 (36m)
 Nicol David (MAS) bt Alison Waters (ENG) 11-9, 11-3, 11-5 (38m)