Raneem El Welily (EGY) bt  Annie Au (HKG) 3-1: 15-13, 7-11, 11-8, 11-7 (43m)
Defending champion Raneem El Welily stuttered into the quarter-finals of the 2016 Windy City Open presented by Guggenheim Partners and Equitrust Life Insurance Company courtesy of an unconvincing 3-1 victory over Hong Kong’s Annie Au.
After a total annihilation of her first round opponent Coline Aumard for the loss of just seven points El Welily slipped back in the inconsistent play that has dogged her recent appearances on the PSA World Tour as she engaged in a all-out shootout with Au from the off in an opening game that rarely saw a rally last more than five shots.
The pair traded winners with abandon as they gathered up 28 points in less than ten minutes, with El Welily taking it 15-13, but parity was restored on the game scores after Au won the second as the match followed on a similar pattern.
With a total of 58 outright winners recorded between the pair, with El Welily hitting a boggling 34 winners, the games continued to fly past apace but it was the Egyptian who managed to do just enough to get off the court in four to regroup and come back for the last eight encounter where she’ll be hoping to significantly lift her levels.
After squandering a series of game ball opportunities in the latter stages of the first game El Welily managed to re-group and produce a couple of back-to-back winners to eventually take the game. Had she lost the opener things could have been very difficult for the defending champion later on.
Shot of the Match
With Au on the charge in the fourth game El Welily hits a sumptuous backhand reverse crosscourt kill to wrong foot the Hong Kong player and open up a two point lead which proved vital in the final outcome.
Raneem El Welily: “She played very well and probably the best she has played against me. The court was colder than previous and that suited her better than it suited me.
“I had to dig in and stay confident and focused as much as possible. It’s too early to talk about the final or anything yet, I’m happy to be in the quarters and I’m looking forward to the next match.