The semifinals of the 2019 PSA World Championships presented by the Walter Family are set following two days of quarterfinal play with all but one of the world’s top four men and women progressing in Chicago’s Union Station.

France’s world No. 5 proved to be the sole player to defy the world rankings to reach the last four, upsetting New Zealand’s world No. 4 Joelle King in three games and thirty-seven minutes. King had recently defeated Serme on U.S. soil at the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions in January.

“When I lost to Joelle in New York, she played really well, but it was a tough loss for me,” Serme said. “We always say you learn more from a loss than a win, so I worked hard on that match, and I was really focused on what to do on court and not about the World Championships or rankings. I just wanted it so badly, I stayed focused the whole way, and I’m very happy with that.”

Serme will take on Egypt’s world No. 2 and two-time world champion Nour El Sherbini in the semifinals after the twenty-three-year-old dispatched Wales’ Tesni Evans in three games and thirty-one minutes.

“Tesni has been playing very good from the start of the season and improving,” El Sherbini said. “She’s in the top ten now, and even though it was 3-0, it wasn’t easy. I’m happy with the way I played. I had a tough last round against Amanda, but I had a day off yesterday and recovered well to come back again today refreshed.”

Simon Roesner (front) against Suarav Ghosal

On the men’s side, Simon Rösner made history by becoming the first German to reach the world championships semifinals courtesy of a three-game, fifty-minute victory against India’s Suarav Ghosal.

“It’s big, I’ve never reached the quarters before, and now I’ve made it to the semis,” Rösner said. “It’s very satisfying, especially with the way I played. After the tough match I had two days ago, I felt much better today and played some aggressive and much more controlling squash, and that put Saurav under a lot of pressure.”

Harvard graduate Ali Farag marked the eve of his ascent to world No. 1 on Friday, March 1, by sealing his place in the semifinals with a four-game win over New Zealand’s Paul Coll. After dropping the first two games, Coll earned new life by taking the third 11-4. The Egyptian closed the door in the fourth, however, with an emphatic 11-1 to end the match after fifty-seven minutes.

“I’ve been very excited [about becoming World No.1], I would have loved it to have been in a different circumstance and not had a match to focus on, but I’m very excited,” said Farag, who will appear in the semifinals for the second time. “He [Coll] gets smarter and fitter, and I think today was very tactical. It was going to go to whoever got the middle of the court, he used the height and angles very well and he never gave me anything easy.”

Thursday’s victors join the top four seeds who had sealed their place in the semifinals in Wednesday’s first round of quarterfinal play.

Semifinal play is set for Friday, March 1, at 5pm local time, 6pm EST.

Tickets for the semifinals and final are still available on Watch the semifinals and finals live on SQUASHTV.

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