World No. 1 El Welily Dethrones Perry; ElShorbagy Brothers Set up Semifinal Clash

[Above: Raneem El Welily ended Sarah-Jane Perry’s run of nine unbeaten matches in San Francisco]

Egypt’s world No. 1 Raneem El Welily avenged her 2018 Oracle NetSuite Open final loss against two-time defending champion Sarah-Jane Perry, while Egypt’s ElShorbagy brothers set up a semifinal showdown Friday, September 28, in Embarcadero Plaza. Friday’s matches were presented by the WSDA.

Last year, Perry upset El Welily for the first time in her career to lift her second straight title in San Francisco. Perry carried an unbeaten run of nine matches in San Francisco into the quarterfinal match up, which El Welily ended 11-8, 11-8 in twenty-one minutes.

“It just shows how strong the women’s tour is,” El Welily said. “Everyone is such a strong contender to win every tournament and everyone has chances to win. I had to be prepared today because SJ is never an easy match, but I am glad it was 2-0. I almost lost that second game but I recovered well to get off in two.”

The first match on the all glass Squash Engine Glass Court proved to be a spectacle for the sold out crowd, as Marwan ElShorbagy and Germany’s Raphael Kandra sparred back and forth over forty-five minutes. It was the German who had the crowd on their feet in the second game when he fought off a match ball with a volley into the nick and went on to take the second 12-10. A climactic end to the match saw Marwan fend off four match balls on his way to coming back clinching the match 13-11.

“I just fought,” ElShorbagy said. “I was 10-7 down and I told myself, I only remember everything that I went through last season. This is the only thing that pushes me mentally and it is the only thing that came into my mind. I was thinking that I went through so much and if I can handle that, I was sure that I could handle coming back from 10-7. I am proud of the way I handled it but I am not happy with the way I played at all. I could have played a lot better, but great credit to Raph because he played really well.”

Marwan ElShorbagy (l) and Raphael Kandra

Marwan will face his older brother, Mohamed, for the second time this season, and for the first time in San Francisco. Mohamed, world No. 2, swiftly dispatched Australian Ryan Cuskelly 11-5, 11-5 in twenty minutes.

“I played him Mo in Shanghai and lost 3-1 in four games and if I get to play him then it is another opportunity to play one of the best,” Marwan said. “My brother is already one of the greats of all time and every time I step on court with him I learn something new.”

“We have played each other so much,” Mohamed said. “We have played against each other in so many venues, but this will be the first time we play against each other in this venue and I hope it will be a good match.”

India’s Joshna Chinappa continued her successful San Francisco debut in the final match of the night, when she took out four seed and world No. 6 Joelle King. In what was their fifteenth career match up, Chinappa emerged victorious for the fourth time 11-9, 6-11, 11-3 in thirty-five minutes. Throughout the match Chinappa enjoyed vocal support from the Honorable Sanjay Panda from the Consulate General of India in San Francisco.

“I think it’s great to have home support wherever I go, especially here, it’s best support I’ve ever had overseas, thank you so much for coming and supporting me,” Chinappa said. “I got a whole new team. I train in Bristol, England, now and Hadrian Stiff has added a lot to my game. Having fresh ideas and things to work on has made the difference for me over the past year. She also trains in Bristol so we play each other quite often. I just feel really lucky that I came out on the winning side tonight.

Saturday session will feature the second half of the quarterfinals from 6:45pm local time.

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