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Raneem El Welily (right) clashes with Nour El Sherbini during the 2016 Women's Windy City Open final

Throwback Thursday: Story of 2016 Women’s Windy City Open

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The 2017 Windy City Open presented by Guggenheim Partners and EquiTrust Life Insurance Company will see the battle for points on the Women’s PSA Road to Dubai Standings intensify when the World Series tournament begins on Thursday February 23.

With only the top eight players on the Road to Dubai Standings earning qualification for the lucrative, season-ending PSA Dubai World Series Finals, the world’s top stars will be out in force at the University Club of Chicago to book their place in Dubai.

World No.2 Camille Serme, World No.4 Nouran Gohar, World No.1 Nour El Sherbini and United States No.1 Amanda Sobhy hold the top four places on the standings, and have all but secured their places at the showpiece tournament.

The rest of the top eight features World No.5 Laura Massaro, Malaysia’s eight-time World Champion Nicol David, defending champion Raneem El Welily and World No.8 Sarah-Jane Perry – all of whom will look to put daylight between themselves and the challengers lurking just outside of the top eight.

Last year’s Windy City Open brought drama and excitement to Chicago, so we’re having a look back to a thrilling week of action.

First Round Results
[1] Laura Massaro (ENG) bt Line Hansen (DEN) 3-0: 11-2, 11-7, 11-5 (30m)
[16] Victoria Lust (ENG) bt Heba El Torky (EGY) 3-0: 11-7, 11-4, 11-7 (27m)
[15] Emily Whitlock (ENG) bt [Q] Christine Nunn (AUS) 3-1: 11-6, 8-11, 11-7, 11-3 (49m)
[6] Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) bt [WC] Olivia Blatchford (USA) 3-0: 12-10, 11-5, 11-9 (31m)
[5] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt [Q] Samantha Teran (MEX) 3-0: 12-10, 11-7, 11-5 (32m)
[14] Delia Arnold (MAS) bt Tesni Evans (WAL) 3-1: 9-11, 11-7, 11-5, 11-7 (54m)
[11] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) bt [Q] Deon Saffery (WAL) 3-0: 11-6, 11-5, 13-11 (25m)
[3] Nicol David (MAS) bt [Q] Fiona Moverley (ENG) 3-0: 11-5, 11-1, 11-6 (22m)
[4] Camille Serme (FRA) bt [Q] Hania El Hammamy (EGY) 3-0: 11-6, 11-9, 11-3 (35m)
Joey Chan (HKG) bt [12] Low Wee Wern (MAS) 3-1: 7-11, 12-10, 11-9, 14-12 (65m)
[10] Joelle King (NZL) bt Donna Urquhart (AUS) 3-1: 11-8, 11-4, 6-11, 11-5 (44m)
[7] Amanda Sobhy (USA) bt Salma Hany Ibrahim (EGY) 3-0: 11-2, 11-4, 11-5 (19m)
[8] Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt [Q] Mariam Metwally (EGY) 3-0: 11-9, 11-6, 11-4 (30m)
[13] Jenny Duncalf (ENG) bt Nicolette Fernandes (GUY) 3-0: 12-10, 11-7, 11-5 (37m)
[9] Annie Au (HKG) bt [Q] Nele Gilis (BEL) 3-0: 11-5, 11-8, 11-1 (20m)
[2] Raneem El Welily (EGY) bt [Q] Coline Aumard (FRA) 3-0: 11-3, 11-3, 11-1 (20m)

Then World No.1 Massaro got her 2016 Windy City Open campaign off to a winning start after a comfortable three-game rout against Denmark’s Line Hansen.

Massaro had made a slow start to life as the world’s top player, falling to a quarter-final defeat at the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions a month earlier, but she responded with a dominant win over Denmark’s Hansen to reach the second round.

El Welily, who had conceded top spot to Massaro the previous month, was also in winning form on day one after she dispatched Frenchwoman Coline Aumard in straight games.

Second Round Results
[1] Laura Massaro (ENG) bt [16] Victoria Lust (ENG) 3-0: 11-5, 11-2, 11-9 (31m)
[6] Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) bt [15] Emily Whitlock (ENG) 3-1: 12-10, 5-11, 11-9, 11-4 (41m)
[5] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt [14] Delia Arnold (MAS) 3-0: 11-5, 11-9, 11-8 (30m)
[3] Nicol David (MAS) bt [11] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) 3-0: 11-6, 11-9, 11-5 (31m)
[4] Camille Serme (FRA) bt Joey Chan (HKG) 3-0: 11-6, 11-5, 11-2 (28m)
[7] Amanda Sobhy (USA) bt [10] Joelle King (NZL) 3-0: 11-6, 11-4, 11-5 (25m)
[8] Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt [13] Jenny Duncalf (ENG) 3-0: 11-9, 11-9, 11-4 (27m)
[2] Raneem El Welily (EGY) bt [9] Annie Au (HKG) 3-1: 15-13, 7-11, 11-8, 11-7 (43m)

The legendary David saw off the threat of England’s Perry in round two, with the 33-year-old dismissing the then World No.12 in just 31 minutes.

There were also wins for the likes of Serme, El Sherbini and Sobhy, who claimed respective wins over Hong Kong’s Joey Chan, the recently-retired Delia Arnold and Joelle King of New Zealand.

Quarter-Final Results
[1] Laura Massaro (ENG) bt [6] Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) 3-0: 11-7, 11-7, 11-9 (29m)
[5] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt [3] Nicol David (MAS) 3-0: 11-9, 12-10, 11-9 (36m)
[4] Camille Serme (FRA) bt [7] Amanda Sobhy (USA) 3-2: 6-11, 11-4, 5-11, 12-10, 11-9 (63m)
[2] Raneem El Welily (EGY) bt [8] Nouran Gohar (EGY) 3-0: 11-8, 11-8, 11-9 (36m)

Egypt’s El Sherbini – riding high after her Tournament of Champions title triumph – achieved her third straight win over David after dominating the Malaysian superstar like few others have ever managed to do, taking a 3-0 win to earn her place in the last four.

Her win saw her pitted against Massaro for a place in the final, with Massaro producing an equally dominant display to fend off Egypt’s Omneya Abdel Kawy.

The match of the round took place between Serme and Sobhy – with the former winning in five games to set up a semi-final fixture with El Welily, who defeated fellow Egyptian Nouran Gohar.

Semi-Final Results
[5] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt [1] Laura Massaro (ENG) 3-0: 11-7, 11-9, 11-9 (35m)
[2] Raneem El Welily (EGY) bt [4] Camille Serme (FRA) 3-0: 11-9, 13-11, 11-8 (37m)

El Sherbini and El Welily set up an all-Egyptian final clash after they earned wins against Massaro and Serme, respectively.

Fresh off the back of sending a strong title message with her win over David, El Sherbini completed a similarly impressive win over Massaro to move to within one win of back-to-back World Series titles.

Meanwhile, El Welily ensured that she would meet her good friend in the final after she halted Serme’s run, with the Frenchwoman unable to back up her result against Sobhy in the previous round.

Final Result
[2] Raneem El Welily (EGY) bt [5] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) 3-1: 9-11, 11-6, 11-3, 11-6 (35m)

A spell-binding performance from El Welily saw her axe Sherbini courtesy of a 3-1 margin to lift her first World Series title since the 2015 edition 12 months previously.

The 28-year-old had struggled with her form since dethroning David as the World No.1 in September 2015, but played some of her best ever squash to limit El Sherbini’s attacking excellence and claim her first Tour title in five months.

“I’m lost for words right now,” said an emotional El Welily after the match.

“I’m very, very happy to have won today. It’s the first title in a long time.

“I need to work hard to make sure I have that same attitude and huger on court for the rest of the season. There’s still a few tournaments to play – I’m really grateful that I won today and hopefully I can keep it up.”

El Sherbini was full of praise for the victorious El Welily, saying: “She was just too good today, she’s the one that played perfect squash.

“She deserves to win, she has been playing so well all week from the first match. It’s nice to see her back at her best form.”

Catch more Windy City Open classics by tuning in to SQUASHTVwhere you can watch the 2014 final between Massaro and David.

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