New Zealand’s Joelle King reached her first career World Series final by ending Raneem El Welily’s winning streak in Chicago, while ElShorbagy brothers Mohamed and Marwan are set to contest the men’s final of the 2018 Windy City Open presented by the Walter Family & Equitrust at the University Club of Chicago.
Tuesday evening’s session saw both women’s semifinals extend to five games.
King, world No. 9, ended Raneem El Welily’s winning streak in Chicago that spanned eighteen matches and included three consecutive titles. The Kiwi clinched her place in a career-first World Series final 7-11, 11-7, 11-7, 7-11, 12-10 after sixty minutes. In 2014, King reached her first career World Series semifinal in Chicago a few months before a near-career ending Achilles injury. The former world No. 4 has returned to the world’s top ten this year on the back of reaching the 2017 U.S. Open semifinals, 2017 Carol Weymuller final and winning the 2018 Cleveland Classic.
“I’m just over the moon that I was able to hold my nerve in the end in what was another brutal battle,” King said. “I definitely think I’m playing the best squash of my whole career right now. I think the injury helped me go away and figure out a few things that were missing in my game and I’ve never really looked back. The exciting thing is that I still feel like there is a lot more to come in my game. I think I’m just enjoying my squash which is the main thing and I think it shows and I’m really excited to be in the final.”
King will face Egypt’s Nour El Tayeb in the final after the world No. 3 reached her first World Series final since capturing her maiden World Series title at the 2017 U.S. Open presented by Macquarie Investment Management.
El Tayeb held off a two-game comeback from England’s Sarah-Jane Perry, emerging victorious 11-6, 11-9, 3-11, 14-16, 11-7 after seventy-three minutes.
“After I won the first two games, I started to feel nervous,” said El Tayeb. “I was thinking ‘am I going to be in another final? This is huge’ and I let go of thinking about the actual points and the squash. In the fourth, I started to play well again so I’m happy I won of course.”
The men’s final will feature a familial battle between brothers Mohamed and Marwan ElShorbagy in their first PSA Tour match up since the 2017 PSA World Championship final in December.
Both advanced to the final after emphatic three-game semifinals against fellow Egyptians. Marwan upset two seed Ali Farag, thwarting the U.S. Open champion’s pursuit of a second World Series title this season.
“I’m so happy to reach another final in Chicago and if I could get my first ever World Series title here it would mean a lot,” said Marwan after reaching his second successive Windy City Open final. “To play in another major final with my brother is amazing. We played in the World Championship final and to play against each other again, this time in Chicago, is fantastic.”
Mohamed, world No. 2, dispatched Tarek Momen in straight games to reach his first World Series final of 2018. Mohamed, the elder brother, defeated Marwan to claim his maiden world title in December, but Marwan notched his first victory against his brother in Chicago last year.
“It’s great to be in another final, it will be my third final in Chicago,” Mohamed said. “I’m very happy to be playing my brother, he beat me here last year, so I will be looking for revenge. I’m really happy with the way he has been playing this season and I’m really proud of him. He has been playing really well and playing with consistency and he is showing the whole world what he can do and what he can achieve. The way he played today was unbelievable to take Ali 3-0. We learn from each other but tomorrow he is going to go for me and I know he feels that this is his time to take his first World Series event and it’s up to me to make sure that doesn’t happen.”
Watch Wednesday’s finals live on SquashTV from 6pm local time, 7pm EST.
For tickets and more tournament coverage visit www.windycityopen.com.