New Zealand’s World No.5 Joelle King was the only non-Egyptian player to reach the semi-finals of the CIB Black Ball Squash Open, PSA World Tour Gold event after she overcame India’s Joshna Chinappa in Cairo, Egypt earlier today.
King, 30, played out a tight five-game battle with the Indian No.1 to move within one win of reaching the final after she recovered from going 2-1 down to triumph in five-games at the Black Ball Sporting Club.
“You’ve got to hand it to Joshna,” said World No.5 King. “She has had an amazing tournament. She beat Nicol [David] 3-0, obviously beat SJ [Perry] yesterday and came out firing against me today.
“It’s just one of those wins when you are on the backend of someone playing really well and it took me a while to find my feet, but I think the pleasing thing is that I found a way to win.
“Those matches can be easy to tick off and think you’ve been outplayed, but I dug in and at least thought that if she is going to beat me then I’m going to make it really hard and it’s nice to come off winning.”
The World No.5 will now face reigning World Champion Nour El Sherbini in the last four after the Egyptian overcame France’s World No.4 Camille Serme in a thrilling encounter that went all the way to five-games.
The two players were meeting for the second time in two weeks after facing each other in the semi-finals of the PSA World Championships in Chicago, which saw El Sherbini claim the victory in five-games before going onto win the prestigious title.
Serme came out of the blocks firing in Cairo today and looked determined throughout the entire match to avenge that defeat, however, El Sherbini was resilient to prevail, coming from 2-1 down to win 4-11, 12-10, 6-11, 11-7, 11-8 in 64-minutes.
“It’s really hard every time against Camille,” said 23-year-old El Sherbini following her victory. “Last time I was 2-0 up and this time I was 2-1 down, I’m really happy that I’m through. I just kept pushing and pushing.
“I’m playing Joelle, it’s going to be tough. We last played a while ago and so it is going to be a tough one. I’m going to try to relax now and focus and look forward to tomorrow’s match.”
The other semi-final will see Egypt’s World No.1 Raneem El Welily pitted against compatriot and World No.8 Nouran Gohar.
El Welily was in formidable form to dispatch England’s former World No.1 Laura Massaro in straight-games to advance, while Gohar came out on top against ‘giant killer’ Hania El Hammamy, who recorded an impressive win over World No.3 Nour El Tayeb in round two yesterday.
“Laura is a very tough opponent and is hard to beat,” said 30-year-old El Welily. “She’s very hard to play and I’m very pleased to be through to the semi-finals today.
“I’m trying to enjoy myself on court as much as possible, that was my aim at the start of the season. This is what led me to become No.1 and I’m trying to do the same in every match.
“Nouran is a very good friend and we play for the same club – Wadi Degla – so we have shared a lot of good moments together and we are very close off court. Recently we have played a lot, so it’s going to be another exciting match.”
“To play against Hania you have to play at your best,” said 21-year-old Gohar following her victory. “I knew I had to be on my toes from the first point even when I was a match ball up and it was really tough out there.
“I’m really happy to be back and enjoying my game again. It would mean the world to me to take the title here, a big title like this and it’s a big bonus that it is being held here in Egypt as well.”
The semi-finals of the CIB Black Ball Squash Open will take place on Thursday March 14 and play starts at 19:00 (GMT). Matches will be shown live on SQUASHTV (rest of world), Eurosport Player (Europe only) and the official Facebook page of the PSA World Tour (Indian subcontinent only).
Results: CIB Black Ball Squash Open Quarter-Finals
 Raneem El Welily (EGY) bt  Laura Massaro (ENG) 3-0: 11-7, 11-7, 11-4 (31m)
 Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt Hania El Hammamy (EGY) 3-1: 6-11, 11-7, 11-4, 11-4 (48m)
 Joelle King (NZL) bt Joshna Chinappa (IND) 3-2: 7-11, 12-10, 2-11, 11-5, 11-8 (64m)
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt  Camille Serme (FRA) 3-2: 4-11, 12-10, 6-11, 11-7, 11-8 (64m)
Draw: CIB Black Ball Squash Open Semi-Finals – To be played March 14
 Raneem El Welily (EGY) v  Nouran Gohar (EGY)
 Joelle King (NZL) v  Nour El Sherbini (EGY)