Defending Champions ElShorbagy and Perry Reach Semifinals; Au Stuns Serme

[Above: Mohamed ElShorbagy (l) avenged his British Open final loss against Miguel Angel Rodriguez]

The first of two days of quarterfinal play saw defending champions Mohamed ElShorbagy and Sarah-Jane Perry come one step closer to the finals, while Hong Kong’s Annie Au produced the upset of the day against world No. 5 Camille Serme Saturday at Bay Club San Francisco and the SuiteSuccess Court in Embarcadero Plaza.

The first match of the day at Bay Club proved to be the biggest upset of the quarterfinal rounds as Au recorded her first victory over Serme in six years. After falling behind 2-1, Au’s measured attacking play frustrated her French counterpart as she claimed the match 5-11, 11-8, 9-11, 11-7, 11-6 in fifty-five minutes.

“I’m feeling really happy, it’s been long time since I beat her.” Au said. “She’s been playing very well over the last few years so I’m very happy with my performance today. We had the Asian Games this summer, which is a very important event for Hong Kong, so I think that has helped me start the season in good form. I knew today I had to patient and that there would be a lot of long rallies. But I tried to relax and just go for my shots when there was an opening.”

Both players were vying for the first semifinal spot in their first tournament appearances in San Francisco.

“There was no pressure on me and I could see she was tense so I tried to make the most of it,” Au said. “I’m very excited now to have the chance to play on the glass court here. It’s an amazing location so I’m looking forward to it.”

Annie Au (r) against Camille Serme

Perry followed on court for her sixth career PSA match up against New Zealand’s world No. 4 and two seed Joelle King. King Earned an early advantage with an 11-7 opening game, then was on the cusp of a two game lead with six game balls in hand at 10-4. Perry then dug in to rattle off eight consecutive points to take the second game 12-10. The English international continued her momentum by clinching the match 7-11, 12-10, 11-7, 11-6 in forty-two minutes.

“I was being very predictable in the first game,” Perry said. “I’ve never beaten her before but I tried to put that out of my mind before the match. I really enjoy playing here in San Francisco. I’ve done amazingly well here and the title last year was the biggest of my career. I haven’t looked past this match in the draw, it was a huge match against Joelle. I’d love to do really well again but it’s one match at a time for now.”

Saturday’s evening session heralded in the first matches on the Oracle NetSuite SuiteSuccess Court in Embarcadero Plaza.

In a rematch of the 2018 Allam British Open final, ElShorbagy reaffirmed his status as world No. 1 with a decisive, yet entertaining, three-game victory against Colombia’s world No. 6 Miguel Angel Rodriguez.

“Miguel obviously beat me in the final of British Open and completely deserved it,” ElShorbagy said. “I know just how hard he works and his success as recovering from a drop in form to get back to number six in the world shows his strength of character. As much as I was disappointed to lose the British, it was great for the sport to have a South American win the event, but today I was happy that it was me who won our first battle of the season. Every time you go on court the conditions are different. I’ve got the experience to know that and I’m really happy to be back on court and playing here in San Francisco and I’m looking forward to the semi-finals now.”

Sunday evening’s session will field the two remaining men’s quarterfinals and the first women’s semifinal from 7pm local time.

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