Egyptian World No.7 Nour El Tayeb mounted a superb fightback from two games down in Riyadh to send second seed Camille Serme out of the inaugural Saudi PSA Women’s Squash Masters, PSA World Series tournament at the second round stage.
The pair had met nine times previously on the PSA World Tour, with both players taking it in turn to claim victories after Serme won their first clash back at the 2007 Santiago Open.
Serme was 5-4 ahead on the duo’s head-to-head record coming into their meeting in Saudi Arabia, having won their last meeting in March’s British Open, and looked destined to break the cycle after winning the first two games on the tie-break. But an increase in pace saw El Tayeb charge back to complete a scintillating comeback, taking it 13-15, 11-13, 11-5, 11-6, 11-4 to reach the quarter-finals.
"Since we’ve been playing, it’s been my turn [to win], then her turn, then my turn," said El Tayeb.
"Today was supposed to be my turn and when I found myself 2-0 down, I thought that I was going to jinx it. I can’t believe I won this match, I’m not the kind of player that normally comes back from 2-0 down, so achieving that result today gives me a lot of confidence for tomorrow.
"I had two World Champions advising me, Nour [El Sherbini] and Raneem [El Welily] and a future World Champ, Hania [El Hammamy] and I never would have won without their support"
Malaysia’s eight-time World Champion Nicol David stands between El Tayeb and a place in the semi-finals after the World No.6 recovered from a game down to defeat Indian No.1 Joshna Chinappa.
Meanwhile, World No.1 Nour El Sherbini continued her tournament with a comfortable victory over World Junior Championship runner-up Hania El Hammamy and her quarter-final opponent will be World No.20 Dipika Pallikal Karthik - the only unseeded player left in the tournament - who upset England’s World No.10 Alison Waters by a 3-0 margin.
"It was my first time playing Hania and she is one of the young players coming up, she is so tough to play," El Sherbini said.
"I didn’t know what to expect, that’s why in the first game I was still trying to figure her out.
"She obviously had a plan today and it’s great that at such a young age she can implement it on court. I was trying to play my game, but when she gets a bit more experience, she is going to be so good."
World Champion Raneem El Welily booked her quarter-final berth after easing past United States No.1 Olivia Blatchford, with World No.7 Sarah-Jane Perry lying in wait after dispatching Welsh World No.12 Tesni Evans.
"You know that Olivia will finish anything loose and her counter dropping is amazing, so I had to be very careful with the way I selected my shots today," said El Welily.
"After the first game, she changed her game plan and I was glad I was able to adapt to it."
Egyptian World No.4 Nouran Gohar and New Zealand’s World No.9 Joelle King will line up in the other quarter-final after they secured passage through to the last eight with respective victories against Victoria Lust and Annie Au.
Quarter-final action from the Saudi PSA Women’s Masters will be held tomorrow (January 10) as a number of the world’s top female players battle to earn a coveted berth in the semi-finals of the first professional women’s squash tournament to take place in Saudi Arabia - play starts at 17:30 local time (GMT+3).
Results – Second Round: 2018 Saudi PSA Women’s Squash Masters
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt Hania El Hammamy (EGY) 3-0: 11-9, 11-7, 11-3 (32m)
Dipika Pallikal Karthik (IND) bt  Alison Waters (ENG) 3-0: 11-9, 12-10, 11-7 (30m)
 Joelle King (NZL) bt  Annie Au (HKG) 11-8, 12-10, 11-5 (29m)
 Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt  Victoria Lust (ENG) 3-1: 11-9, 11-5, 9-11, 11-5 (38m)
 Raneem El Welily (EGY) bt  Olivia Blatchford (USA) 3-0: 11-1, 11-7, 11-4 (19m)
 Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) bt  Tesni Evans (WAL) 3-1: 11-5, 7-11, 11-7, 11-6 (43m)
 Nicol David (MAS) bt  Joshna Chinappa (IND) 3-1: 6-11, 11-5, 11-7, 11-7 (38m)
 Nour El Tayeb (EGY) bt  Camille Serme (FRA) 3-2: 13-15, 11-13, 11-5, 11-6, 11-4 (61m)
Draw – Quarter-Finals: To Be Played January 10th
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) v Dipika Pallikal Karthik (IND)
 Joelle King (NZL) v  Nouran Gohar (EGY)
 Raneem El Welily (EGY) v  Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG)
 Nicol David (MAS) v  Nour El Tayeb (EGY)
photos Janos Schmidt