Egypt broke two records in quick succession in the quarter-finals of the Penang-CIMB 29th Women’s World Championships at the SPICE Arena.
First, 18-year-old Nour El Sherbini put her name in the record books when she stunned fifth seed Joelle King of New Zealand 11-9, 8-11, 13-11, 11-6 to become the youngest-ever semi-finalist in the history of the championships. Malaysia’s Nicol David, now the world No. 1, held the previous record when she made the top four in 2003 at the age of 20.
“It’s amazing to be winning every match and I certainly did not expect a result like this,” said a jubilant El Sherbini, who dumped 12th seed Kasey Brown of Australia and then Alison Waters of England earlier in the championship.
“Although Joelle came back strongly, I just kept playing the way I normally play. I’m really so excited to be in the semis because my initial target was only just the quarter-finals.
“I feel that I’m getting better and I’m enjoying my game,” added the three-time world junior champion.
Spurred on by El Sherbini’s success, world No. 3 Raneem El Weleily survived a topsy-turvy match against 37-year-old Madeline Perry of Ireland to make her second straight semi-final appearance in the championship.
El Weleily’s 10-12, 14-12, 11-3, 7-11, 11-7 win in 59 minutes means this is the first time that Egypt will have a record two players in the semi-finals.
“I was literally on the edge of my feet the whole game. Madeline played really well today (Friday),” said El Weleily, who will face Laura Massaro for a place in the final.
“When Madeline beat me in the Tournament of Champions (TOC) in January, she did not play that well.
“The pace of today’s match was really fast and I’m really happy to be in the semis.
“It’s really great for Egypt to have El Sherbini in the semis too.
“But I definitely need to be more consistent, more relaxed and get a feel of the game in my next match,” added Weleily.