World champion Raneem El Welily and France’s Camille Serme have earned their places in the semi-finals of this year’s PSA Dubai World Series Finals after Serme registered a sublime 2-0 victory over England’s Laura Massaro on Thursday, while El Welily posted a 2-0 win over Sarah-Jane Perry.
El Welily’s victory sees her qualify top of the women’s Group B – meaning defending champion Massaro is out of the tournament, due to having a lower games won percentage than both El Welily and Serme, who qualifies in second. Perry finished in fourth without a win.
Serme was a semi-finalist at last year’s tournament and was as solid as Massaro was sluggish in their match, with the World No5 finding her targets right from the off. For her part, Massaro was unable to rediscover the accuracy that took her to wins in her first two matches and Serme blitzed to an 11-7, 11-5 victory in 22 minutes.
“I’m very happy with the way I played, I managed to relax and play my shots better than the other days,” said Serme.
“She’s such a fighter, she loves playing here and she never gives up, so until the very last point I didn’t want to give her anything.
“I was a bit upset with myself after losing yesterday, then on the other side I was like ‘you still have a chance, be positive!’ I called my coach and he was telling me what went wrong in my match yesterday but you have to focus on the positive side and refocus the next day.”
El Welily had lost out to Massaro on day one of the tournament but her victory over Serme yesterday ensured that she came into the final day of group stage action needing a win over Perry to have any chance of reaching the knockout semi-finals.
“I am very pleased to be through to the semis. It’s the second time for me in Dubai, I didn’t quite make it last year but I’m definitely happy to be in the semis this year” said El Welily.
“I can’t help but feel bad for Laura, she won her first two matches and didn’t do anything wrong there but she didn’t qualify. It was a tough group just like the other one and I’m just glad to be through against such tough competitors.
“Dubai is definitely a favourite tournament, we all have a great time here, we’re taken good care of and I really enjoy the crowd and the atmosphere, it’s absolutely fantastic to play in front of such a cheerful crowd.”
Meanwhile German No1 Simon Rosner made it three wins out of three in the men’s Group B after he claimed a 2-0 victory over Frenchman Gregory Gaultier to leave the former World No1 without a win for the second year running.
Rosner had already qualified top of his group after wins against World No2 Ali Farag and World No8 Karim Abdel Gawad and he claimed an 11-8, 12-10 victory over 35-year-old Gaultier to maintain his 100 per cent record thus far.
And in the decider for the other qualifier from Group B, Egyptian Farag got the better of compatriot Karim Abdel Gawad to finish second behind Rosner.
Both players had beaten Gaultier earlier on in the group stage and had suffered defeats to Rosner, meaning that it was a winner-take-all battle, with a semi-final berth up for grabs.
And it was 26-year-old Farag who fired on all cylinders to take an 11-5, 11-5 victory in just 21 minutes and he will be rewarded with a semi-final matchup tomorrow against the winner of either World No1 Mohamed ElShorbagy or England’s Nick Matthew.
“It was very tough, not only is he a good friend, he’s such a lethal player,” said Farag, who will appear in the last four of this tournament for the first time.
“Last year I was in the exact same position, I won my first match, lost the second and then it was winner takes all in the third match and I lost to James [Willstrop], who played brilliantly.
“Today I wanted to learn from that and go through to the semis for the first time ever, so I’m quite delighted.”
The semi-finals will be played at 20:00 on Friday, while the finals will commence at 20:00 on Saturday.
Tickets for the World Series Finals can be purchased at dubai.platinumlist.net or at the venue.
Know more about Sport360 Application