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Raneem El Welily fist pumps after reaching the last four

WWC Update: El Welily is first Semi-Finalist After Holding Off Sobhy


World No.3 Raneem El Welily sealed her place in a fourth World Championship semi-final after fending off United States No.1 Amanda Sobhy on the fourth day of action in the Naza PSA Women’s World Championship in Bukit Jalil, Malaysia.

El Welily, who was looking to avenge January’s Tournament of Champions defeat to the American, started the match brilliantly and was firing on all cylinders, with a feast of impressive shots coming off her backhand in particular. She duly took the opening game for the loss of five points, before the second game started in a much tighter manner with both players trading points. Sobhy eventually broke away after finding her range with a number of vicious drives moving El Welily out of position and the 22-year-old levelled things up at a game apiece.

It was then El Welily’s turn once more to make her stamp on proceedings as she surged into an 8-2 lead, but a catalogue of errors from the Egyptian enable Sobhy to battle back and force a tie-break, where El Welily relinquished two game balls. However, she managed to force the win over the line after rediscovering her touch, sending the match into a fourth game.

Sobhy looked to be in fine fettle and powered 3-1 ahead, but her momentum was halted by El Welily who, with the score delicately poised at 6-6, took five of the next six points to claim an 11-5, 5-11, 12-10, 11-7 victory to put her within one win of reaching a second successive World Championship final – with the last iteration seeing her squander four match balls against defending champion Nicol David.

“It was a really tough match today, mentally more than anything else,” said El Welily.

“For some reason, I was putting too much pressure on myself. I was playing alright at the beginning of every game but, for some reason, I lost a few points and these points made me lose my confidence and my focus. I think that’s what happened in the second game.

“With the heat as well, if you’re not confident enough then you’re not able to push yourself as much as you want to. I’m very happy to win today and very happy to have been tested that way and come through.

“I think that whoever wins this tournament is the person who does the best they can with what they have, that day, on court. No matter what you did in the past few days or months, every day has its own conditions and its own things so you just have to deal with them, one thing after the other.”

Result – Quarter-Final: Naza PSA Women’s World Championship
[3] Raneem El Welily (EGY) bt [7] Amanda Sobhy (USA) 3-1: 11-5, 5-11, 12-10, 11-7 (42m)

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