British Open Champion Nour El Sherbini secured her place in the quarter-final of the Naza PSA Women’s World Championship courtesy of a 3-1 win over Hong Kong’s Annie Au in Bukit Jalil, Malaysia – setting up a mouthwatering clash with eight-time World Champion Nicol David in the next round.
The opening two games of the match were dominated with short, sharp rallies as both players went for drops often and neither seemed to want to open up the court with any longer rallies. El Sherbini was the greatest beneficiary of this approach and she soon built up a two-game lead as she looked to continue her flawless progress so far in Kuala Lumpur.
However, a change in Au’s game plan allowed the World No.10 to claw a game back after she utilised a lob and drop tactic to take advantage of the fact that the court was becoming increasingly dead as the match wore on and she was helped on her way due to some uncharacteristic errors from El Sherbini.
The 20-year-old Egyptian soon found herself back on top though in the fourth as she cantered to victory, earning the win by an 11-5, 11-6, 6-11, 11-3 scoreline to ensure she will go head-to-head with David for a place in the last four as she looks to maintain her four-match unbeaten run against the Malaysian superstar.
“She’s a very skilful player and she has a lot of tricky shots,” said El Sherbini.
“If you hit a loose shot, she kills it so I have to always make sure that my shots are very deep in the end. I think I lost a bit of concentration in the third and I slowed down the pace, so she found her shots again and that’s what made the difference in the end. In the fourth, I tried to stick to my game plan and get the ball deep in the back to make it hard for her to find her shots.”
El Sherbini’s upcoming clash with David will be arguably the most highly-anticipated quarter-final fixture as the duo get set to lock horns for the fourth time.
Despite the fact that David’s last three tournament exits came at the hands of El Sherbini, the current World No.2 insists that she is taking nothing for granted as she prepares to take on the former World No.1 in front of her home crowd.
“Every match is different than the others and it depends on the day, how everyone’s feeling and the mood,” said El Sherbini.
“Nicol is playing here in Malaysia in her home town and everyone is going to come and support her. I’m just going to play and try to do my best and I’m sure it’s going to be a tough one. I’m going to give it everything I have, it’s the biggest tournament and everyone wants to do their best so I’m just going to give it 100 per cent and hopefully it will be a good match.”
Result – Second Round: Naza PSA Women’s World Championship
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt Annie Au (HKG) 3-1: 11-5, 11-6, 6-11, 11-3 (36m)
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