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MATCHES OF THE SEASON: Hong Kong Open – Perry v El Sherbini

We’re taking a look back at the best matches from the 2018/19 season and today sees us go back to November as we revisit a Hong Kong Open classic between England's Sarah-Jane Perry and then-World No.1 Nour El Sherbini.

Perry, then ranked at World No.6, launched a staggering comeback to deny El Sherbini a second successive title at the Hong Kong Open – a win which also forced the 23-year-old to surrender her place at the top of the World Rankings to compatriot Raneem El Welily.

Going into the tournament, El Sherbini had to make sure she bettered El Welily’s results to remain at the top of the World Rankings, however, Perry had other ideas and produced some incredible squash in a thrilling quarter-final battle.

El Sherbini took the lead as both players struggled to settle into their natural rhythm.

The Englishwoman battled back in the second, however, to set up a gripping third game which was taken by the Egyptian, on a tie-break, as she once again edged her nose in front.

At the start of the fourth, Perry tripped over El Sherbini’s foot and crashed into the side wall, injuring her shoulder and hitting her head on the glass. It looked like this had affected the Englishwoman as she struggled to hit the ball and maintain any rallies as El Sherbini comfortably went ahead.

As the match wore on, Perry amazingly managed to fight through the pain barrier to get back into the match and took an 8-7 lead before converting her game ball at the first attempt.

Sarah-Jane Perry (left) celebrates victory over Nour El Sherbini (right) in the 2018 Hong Kong Open quarter-finals

The 29-year-old from Birmingham then powered through the fifth to take a remarkable 7-11, 11-7, 11-13, 11-8, 11-5 victory.

“I’m absolutely thrilled,” said Perry afterwards.

“It was one of those where I just tried to get into the zone and just play how I could and get on with my shots.

“At the start it took me a bit by surprise how dead the court was and I hit a few errors, but I knew I was hitting the ball well so I just got my legs going a bit and I felt alright after yesterday surprisingly, so I just kept plugging away.

“Nour is an amazing player, she’s the World No.1 going into the match and she’s earned that. I’ve beaten her before but not in a best of five and so to beat her 3-2, I’m really pleased.”

Perry was eventually beaten by New Zealand's Joelle King in the semis, with the Kiwi going on to defeat El Welily in the title decider to win her first PSA Platinum event.

Result:
[8] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) bt [1] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) 3-2: 7-11, 11-7, 11-13, 11-8, 11-5 (58m)

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