El Weleily Spectacular In Weymuller Semis Win Over Second Seed Perry
by Rob Dinerman for DailySquashReport.com

Dateline September 24th
– Trailing 12-11 in the first game, with four wasted game-ball opportunities in her wake and a one-game-to-love predicament against her veteran WISPA top-three opponent staring her in the face, Raneem El Weleily, the precocious 22-year-old rising Egyptian star, conjured up a spectacular 16-0 run that formed the linch-pin of a 14-12 11-0 11-8 victory over Madeleine Perry this afternoon before a highly appreciative crowd at Heights Casino in the semifinal round of the $50,000 Carol Weymuller Open. It marked the third time in as many days that the unseeded El Weleily had toppled a seeded player (preceded by a 13-11fifth-game opening round over fourth seed and 2010 Weymuller runner-up Laura Massaro, followed by a route-going quarterfinal with Camille Serme in which El Weleily won both the last two games by airtight 11-9 tallies) and her first-ever career advance to the final of a Gold-level WISPA tournament.

   It will be the first of many such appearances for El Weleily if she is able to consistently play to the standard she achieved on this unseasonably warm afternoon in Brooklyn Heights, during which she shook off the three straight backhand tins that caused a 10-6 opening-game lead to slip away, saving that 11-12 game-ball-against with a powerful reflex forehand volley winner and salting that game away with a pair of forehand drives down the vacated right wall with Perry stuck up front. But the latter had rebounded from early-match losses of close games in both of her pre-semis matches (against Dipika Pallikal and Annie Au, who had similarly won a first-game tiebreaker before Perry had asserted herself in the remaining three games), and with El Weleily having admitted to being “really tired” after her lengthy Friday-evening bare-survival marathon with Serme, the match appeared to still be very much up for grabs entering the second game.

  Certainly no one could have foreseen the avalanche of El Weleily winners, many of them breath-taking in their execution and imagination --- highlighted by two hardball-style forehand three-wall nicks and two look-away cross-drops --- that would engulf an increasingly beleaguered Perry throughout that second game (in which the play was as one-sided as the shut-out score) and into the opening portion of the third. The Egyptian’s touch can only be described as magical, which was true as well of the creativity with which she crafted the exchanges of every point, inventing different patterns that constantly had even the been-through-the-wars veteran Perry on the defensive and forced to react to El Weleily’s imaginative forays rather than generating any attack of her own. Down 4-love almost as soon as the game began, Perry by her own post-match admission felt her game “go flat,” losing confidence as the next several points also slipped away and effectively conceding the last few points in order to gird up for the third game.

  To her credit, and even after falling behind 8-4 in the third, Perry, ever a gritty match competitor, managed to bootstrap her way into contention, closing to 7-8 and then 8-9. El Weleily, possibly forcing some shots with the finish line so tantalizingly near, finally caught a few tins, and if Perry could have somehow managed to force a fourth game, there was at least the chance that El Weleily might have been affected by having a 2-0, 8-4 lead get away and fallen, possibly precipitously, from the compellingly-high quality that had heretofore characterized her output.

  It was not to be. On the ensuing exchange, El Weleily nursed an incredibly delicate forehand drop shot just over the tin to get to 10-8, following which a lengthy all-court point ended when Perry went for broke on a difficult overhead volley drop shot that rang loudly off the tin. No one could criticize Perry for playing the ball so close to the tin, since El Weleily, who moves with silent feline grace (a contrast with Perry’s furious sneaker-squeaking intensity), had retrieved so well and counter-punched so effectively from that front-right position, that Perry HAD to go for a winner when the opportunity to garner one presented itself. The 34-year-old Irish champion had yet another in a long line of solid tournament-long performances, but on this afternoon the genius that permeates El Weleily’s game convincingly carried the day, launching her inexorably into tomorrow afternoon’s 2:00 final with even her WISPA colleagues in the gallery shaking their heads in admiration at her brilliant match-long performance.

Linda Elriani Added This Report On The Weymuller Semis:

Semi finals day is here at the 2011 Carol Weymuller Open. Everyone was excited to see some more action packed squash as the quarter final matches were so entertaining and such a tribute to how strong and amazing women’s professional squash is.

Before the semi finals began we held a ‘Play a Pro’ event for our juniors so that they had a chance to get on court with some of the top women’s squash players in the world. World # 20 Samantha Teran, world # 4 Rachael Grinham, World # 16 Jaclyn Hawkes, World # 19 Sarah Kippax, World # 14 Donna Urquhart and World # 26 Emma Beddoes all very kindly agreed to play with our two groups of juniors. We had the under 11 kids playing first and then the 12 and over playing second. They all had such a fun time, trying their hardest to win a point or two off the pros! Thanks so much to the WISPA players for taking part in this. We really appreciate it. They are all a credit to women’s squash as they are so prepared to give back to the tournaments and help spread the joy of playing squash.

The first semi final on this afternoon was World # 3 Madeline Perry and World # 12 Raneem El Weleily. In the head to head Madeline was 3-1 up but Raneem has been playing so well and gaining more and more confidence by the day that we knew it would be a great match. A very happy Raneem said after her match “I’m SO excited!!!!After two 5 game matches this week, I didn’t expect it to be 3-0!!! I tried and it worked! It’s always a plan to get the right combination between patience and shots and when I get that it’s really good. It’s my first gold final so I’m just happy to be there."

The second semi final match was between defending champion and world # 3 Jenny Duncalf and Kasey Brown world # 6. They have a head to head of 7-1 in Jenny’s favor, but Kasey has taken Jenny to 5 in 3 of the last 4 matches they have played, so we knew that this could be a fantastic match too. The first game was closely contested with both players vying for the T and looking to take the ball early. Jenny came out on top 11/8 finishing the game with some lovely holds, making it impossible for Kasey to get onto the ball early.

Kasey started the 2nd well going 5-2 up by hitting deep penetrating lengths and forcing Jenny back on the court, not giving her chance to use her deadly short game. Then mid game Kasey’s drives started to drop a little short and Jenny took back the control and went through to 7-5. The end part of the second had some great flowing rallies with both players playing accurate squash, but Jenny managed to find the openings at the right moments and made no errors, taking the second game 11/6 and a 2-0 lead.

Kasey took an early lead again in the 3rd and went 5-2 up and we were left wondering if Kasey could capitalize on the lead this time. Jenny was making a few unforced errors and lost her earlier patience and Kasey kept her lead and enhanced it to 8-4. But from 4-8 back to 8-8 Jenny hit an array of amazing short shots from almost nowhere and managed to re-gain her control of the game. Kasey made an unforced error on the return of serve to give Jenny a 9-8 lead and then hit a perfect tight length on the forehand to equalize at 9-9. A perfect backhand drop shot form Jenny took her to match ball and Jenny was through to reach the final of the Carol Weymuller Open for the 4th year running. The last 2 years Jenny has been the champion and the year before she was a finalist. Jenny said after her match “I felt I played well. Similar to yesterday really, fairly in control. I felt calm throughout the match and that my length and width was good. I was trying to keep her off her volley. My basics were good which allowed me to finish it off at the front. Raneem’s playing well . She quite different from all my other opponents so far and I feel that I’ll have to be on my toes tomorrow…I’ll be ready for anything! It should be a good game."

Semifinal Results, $50,000 Carol Weymuller Open, Brooklyn NY

Raneem El Weleily beat Madeline Perry 14/12, 11/0, 11/8.

Jenny Duncalf beat Kasey Brown 11/8, 11/6, 11/9.

Jenny Duncalf

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