Raneem El Welily (EGY) bt  Camille Serme (FRA) 3-0: 11-9, 13-11, 11-8 (37m)
After stuttering through the early rounds of the 2016 Windy City Open in unconvincing fashion Egypt’s Raneem El Welily, the defending champion, produced a highly polished performance to overcome Camille Serme of France 3-0 and book her place alongside compatriot Nour El Sherbini in tomorrow’s title-decider.
The former World No.1 is one of the most enigmatic characters on the woman’s tour, capable of putting in spells where she is totally un-playable, but has struggled to maintain her focus on court so far this week despite reaching the last four.
But she played with renewed focus and energy in a high quality encounter with the French World No.5, managing to just nose ahead after a competitive opening game that illustrated the contest in style between El Welily’s high attacking play and Serme’s counter-punching approach.
After losing out by just two points in the first Serme looked on course to level at 1-1 when she held game ball in the second. But a crucial spell of play, in which El Welily enjoyed the fruits of two fortunate nicks, turned the tide to establish a 2-0 lead which set her up perfectly to take the match in three.
Serving at 11-10 up in the second Serme looked on course to level the match but a fortunate width which hit the side-wall nick left the Frenchwoman stranded as El Welily levelled and when her following serve landed in the back-nick, leaving Serme stranded once again, it was the Egyptian who surged on.
Shot Of The Match
It’s not often you see an Ace off the serve in squash but El Welily’s timely selection at 11-11 in the second was pinpoint and proved to be the tipping point.
Raneem El Welily: “Camille is a very strong player physically and mentally so I knew today would not be easy but I tried to stay relaxed and play to my game plan and I think her great match yesterday definitely affected her a little.
“I focused well and managed not to get loose and play too many shot down the middle – the she kills everything and I’m very happy to be into the final again here in Chicago. I enjoy this tournament and it brings the best out of me.
“It is great that it is an all-Egyptian final and I’m looking forward to playing Nour. She’s in top form and played really well today so it should be avery good match tomorrow.”