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Despair and delight

WSF: El Welily Books Semi Spot

After defeating Camille Serme in a nail-biting three-game battle Egyptian Raneem El Welily is the first player to qualify for the semi-finals of the PSA Dubai World Series Finals taking place adjacent to Dubai's iconic Burj Khalifa.

The duo both came into the contest knowing that the winner would be assured of a place in the last four with one round robin match to spare and it was Serme who started strongly, picking up where she left off from her first round victory over Omneya Kawy to play with precision and accuracy to stifle El Welily and squeeze a tight first game.

But the flamboyant shot-maker from Alexandria, now based in Cairo, fought back to level the match in an equally tense second game before again falling behind in the third as Serme looked to be charging towards the last four.

El Welily came back from 6-8 down to reel off four consecutive points and set up match ball – which she duly sealed at the first time of asking after a lengthy rally that epitomised the high quality 41-minute encounter.

“I don't know how I won that – she was playing really well and she was in front for 80 per cent of each game so I'm really happy to win in the end,” said El Welily.

“I had a very close win yesterday and an even closer win today but I'm pleased because I didn't want to go into tomorrow's match with the extra pressure of having to win to stay in the competition.

“I maybe wasn't as energised as I was yesterday and I stood back too much and played to her strengths. But I'm into the semis now.

“I still want to win tomorrow though. I still have to give it my all and be prepared for the match and the matches that follow and I have to prove a few things to myself that I can come here play well and win all my matches.”

[4] Raneem El Welily (EGY) bt [7] Camille Serme (FRA) 2-1: 9-11, 12-10, 11-9 (41m)

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