The top two players in Women’s squash, World No.1 Laura Massaro and World No.2 Nour El Sherbini, will go head-to-head for the Naza PSA Women’s World Championship crown after semi-final victories over Raneem El Welily and Nouran Gohar, respectively, in Bukit Jalil, Malaysia set up a repeat of the 2013 World Championship final – where Massaro won her maiden World Championship title.
Massaro’s clash with El Welily saw the lead change hands multiple times throughout a tightly-contested fixture, with neither player being able to maintain their momentum when they were on top. Massaro eased to the opener in comfortable style, before El Welily levelled in the second and almost took the third, but surrendered a five-point lead to hand Massaro the initiative.
A blistering start to the fourth from El Welily brought the match back to all square once more but Massaro again took the reigns in the fifth to amass four match balls. El Welily fought back to send the match to a tie-break, but Massaro held out and a fine boast evaded her opponent’s grasp to give the Englishwoman an 11-2, 7-11, 11-9, 6-11, 12-10 victory.
“I think Raneem and I aways have battles and she’s such a good player,” said Massaro.
“If you don’t play her in exactly the right way then you get severely punished. She played well in patches, I played well in patches and in some ways it’s a fair result. I’ve played two World Championship semi-finals on a tie-break against her so I guess that was going through my mind because, if I had done it before, I knew I could do it again.
“It would be amazing [to become World Champion for a second time]. All week I have been saying that you can’t win the World Championship in the first or second round but you can certainly lose it. All I’ve done is given myself a chance and that’s really exciting for me.”
Egypt’s El Sherbini followed up her superb quarter-final victory over eight-time World Champion Nicol David with a dominant display against compatriot and World Junior Champion Gohar.
El Sherbini had been pushed all the way to five games by Gohar in last month’s Allam British Open final but the 20-year-old, who became the first female Egyptian to win that tournament, was on fire this time around and controlled proceedings as she prevented Gohar from building any rhythm.
After seeing off eight-time World Champion and Malaysian icon Nicol David in the previous round, a superb 29-minutes of squash from the most in-form woman on the PSA World Tour saw her take out Gohar with 11-5 victories in all three games to reach the final.
“We always play out five games, but I’m going to keep going the way I am. I am going to give it everything and I’m sure it is going to be a good match.
“I really want to win this tournament, for my country, for Raneem and Nouran and for everyone. I really want this badly so I am going to give it everything and hopefully it will be mine this time.”
Semi-Finals: Naza PSA Women’s World Championship
 Laura Massaro (ENG) bt  Raneem El Welily (EGY) 11-2, 7-11, 11-9, 6-11, 12-10 (61m)
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt  Nouran Gohar (EGY) 11-5, 11-5, 11-5 (29m)