The top stars on the PSA World Tour will head to Chicago next week when the University Club of Chicago hosts the 2018 Windy City Open presented by the Walter Family & EquiTrust Life Insurance Company between February 22-28.
This year’s instalment will also see the event become the most lucrative PSA World Series tournament ever when $500k of prize money will be split equally across both the men’s and women’s draws.
As another exciting week of squash action comes up, join us as we take a look back at the events of last year’s women’s tournament where Raneem El Welily continued her dominance in Chicago.
 Victoria Lust (ENG) bt [Q] Samantha Teran (MEX) 3-1: 12-10, 13-15, 11-7, 11-8 (46m)
 Emily Whitlock (ENG) bt Line Hansen (DEN) 3-0: 11-3, 11-6, 11-8 (27m)
 Joey Chan (HKG) bt [Q] Salma Hany (EGY) 3-1: 11-9, 4-11, 11-3, 11-8 (38m)
Tesni Evans (WAL) bt  Nour El Tayeb (EGY) 3-2: 6-11, 11-6, 6-11, 11-6, 11-9 (66m)
 Alison Waters (ENG) bt Liu Tsz-Ling (HKG) 3-0: 11-7, 11-7, 11-3 (25m)
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt [Q] Nadine Shahin (EGY) 3-0: 11-7, 11-8, 11-4 (23m)
 Nicol David (MAS) bt [Q] Hania El Hammamy (EGY) 3-0: 11-8, 11-6, 11-9 (38m)
 Camille Serme (FRA) bt Heba El Torky (EGY) 3-1: 11-7, 11-6, 7-11, 11-4 (45m)
 Annie Au (HKG) bt [Q] Mayar Hany (EGY) 3-0: 11-4, 11-8, 11-6 (27m)
[Q] Samantha Cornett (CAN) bt  Joelle King (NZL) 3-1: 11-13, 11-7, 15-13, 11-9 (48m)
 Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) bt Donna Urquhart (AUS) 3-0: 11-8, 11-9, 11-8 (30m)
 Laura Massaro (ENG) bt Mariam Metwally (EGY) 3-1: 11-9, 8-11, 11-5, 11-7 (40m)
[WC] Olivia Blatchford (USA) bt  Joshna Chinappa (IND) 3-0: 13-11, 11-4, 11-5 (31m)
 Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt [Q] Fiona Moverley (ENG) 3-1: 9-11, 11-7, 11-4, 11-7 (38m)
 Raneem El Welily (EGY) bt Jenny Duncalf (ENG) 3-1: 11-5, 9-11, 11-7, 11-3 (35m)
 Amanda Sobhy (USA) bt [Q] Nele Gilis (BEL) 3-0: 11-5, 11-3, 11-1 (20m)
Malaysia’s Nicol David, who has won every title going on the PSA World Tour except for the Windy City Open, was looking to get her tournament off to the perfect start as she mounted a challenge for the title that had so far evaded her.
The eight-time World Champion came through a potentially tricky encounter with Egyptian rising star Hania El Hammamy – who had come through qualifying to reach the main draw – but David’s class and ability shone through as she came through in just under 40 minutes.
Meanwhile, America’s top two players Amanda Sobhy and Olivia Blatchford set up a head-to-head encounter for the second round after coming through their respective opening fixtures.
Blatchford recorded one of the biggest wins of her career as she downed India’s Joshna Chinappa in straight-games to mark the first time she has ever reached the second round of a PSA World Series tournament.
The tournament wildcard twice saved game ball in the first to take it 13-11 in the tie-break and from then on she played without pressure to secure an impressive 13-11, 11-4, 11-5 victory.
Sobhy, meanwhile, took just 20 minutes to defeat Belgium’s Nele Gilis in a comprehensive 11-5, 11-3, 11-1 win.
 Alison Waters (ENG) bt  Joey Chan (HKG) 3-1: 11-9, 11-7, 11-13, 11-6 (46m)
 Nicol David (MAS) bt  Emily Whitlock (ENG) 3-0: 11-7, 11-6, 11-7 (34m)
 Camille Serme (FRA) bt Tesni Evans (WAL) 3-1: 8-11, 11-8, 11-6, 13-11 (56m)
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt  Victoria Lust (ENG) 3-0: 11-2, 11-7, 11-8 (25m)
 Raneem El Welily (EGY) bt  Annie Au (HKG) 3-1: 11-8, 8-11, 11-4, 11-7 (37m)
 Amanda Sobhy (USA) bt [WC] Olivia Blatchford (USA) 3-1: 11-7, 12-14, 12-10, 11-3 (41m)
 Laura Massaro (ENG) bt [Q] Samantha Cornett (CAN) 3-0: 11-2, 11-8, 11-8 (30m)
 Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt  Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) 3-1: 6-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-6 (49m)
France’s Camille Serme maintained her unbeaten start to 2017 in her round two clash with Wales Tesni Evans, winning 3-1.
Serme was forced to come from behind to defeat then-World No.21 Evans after the Welshwoman had put together one of the most impressive performances of her season so far.
Evans took the match to Serme from the off but the Frenchwoman showed the qualities of a champion as she fought back to save two game balls in the fourth and prevail 8-11, 11-8, 11-6, 13-11.
Meanwhile, in the all-American battle it was Sobhy who came out on top as she took the first game comfortably before being drawn into a real battle as Blatchford upped her game to take the second 12-10 in a tie-break. However, Sobhy managed to get herself out of trouble in the third to take it 12-10 before sealing the win with a one-way 11-3 fourth game.
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt  Nicol David (MAS) 3-1: 11-9, 6-11, 11-6, 11-4 (45m)
 Camille Serme (FRA) bt  Alison Waters (ENG) 3-1: 10-12, 11-6, 12-10, 11-4 (51m)
 Raneem El Welily (EGY) bt  Amanda Sobhy (USA) 3-1: 11-6, 11-7, 5-11, 11-5 (30m)
 Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt  Laura Massaro (ENG) 3-0: 11-7, 11-3, 11-5 (37m)
In the quarter-finals, Nouran Gohar secured a big 3-0 win over former World No.1 Laura Massaro courtesy of a dominant performance that saw her control proceedings from the start and leave Massaro powerless.
Gohar joins her compatriots Nour El Sherbini and Raneem El Welily along with France’s Camille Serme in the last four after they defeated Nicol David, Amanda Sobhy and Alison Waters, respectively.
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt  Camille Serme (FRA) 3-1: 8-11, 11-3, 11-6, 11-4 (46m)
 Raneem El Welily (EGY) bt  Nouran Gohar (EGY) 3-2: 7-11, 11-6, 9-11, 11-5, 11-9 (62m)
2015 and 2016 champion, Raneem El Welily, made sure she kept her hopes alive of completing a Chicago-three-peat by winning a mammoth battle with compatriot and 19-year-old Nouran Gohar.
El Welily kept her composure to twice come from behind to take the match and keep her winning streak going in the Windy City.
In the other semi-final, it was Nour El Sherbini who ensured a safe passage through to the final as she overcame France’s Camille Serme by an 8-11, 11-3, 11-6, 11-4 scoreline in 46 minutes and set up a final clash against compatriot El Welily in a repeat of the 2016 final.
 Raneem El Welily (EGY) bt  Nour El Sherbini (EGY) 3-1: 10-12, 11-7, 11-7, 11-7 (42m)
Egypt’s El Welily made it a hat trick of title triumphs at the Windy City Open, as she added the 2017 title to her 2015 and 2016 crowns by defeating compatriot Nour El Sherbini.
El Welily came from a game down and played some scintillating squash as she punished any loose play from El Sherbini to march to a 10-12, 11-7, 11-7, 11-7 victory.
“She played really well in the first game and I wasn’t sharp enough,” said El Welily following her victory.
“Half way through the first game I started to find my spots and my angles. Even though I lost that first game, I knew that I was on my way to find the right plan. I’m really happy to win, it’s fantastic.
“Chicago is my lucky city and I’m always happy to be here.”