World No.5 Camille Serme made her way through to the quarter-finals of the Windy City Open presented by the Walter Family, after fighting back from a game down to defeat World No.10 Hania El Hammamy in one of the matches of the season so far.
The pair had met on the PSA World Tour five times previous to this clash, with the Egyptian having won the most recent meeting, her only win over Serme. She took an emotional victory in the quarter-finals of the CIB PSA Women’s World Championship at the Pyramids in October. Prior to that, the Frenchwoman had held a perfect 100% record over El Hammamy.
This match was an even better quality than that last clash, with a fast-pace right from the off, one that lasted right the way through to the end of the match, some 80 minutes later. It was the 19-year-old that started the stronger, but several errors in the middle part of the first game allowed Serme to cruise into the 1-0 lead.
El Hammamy fought back, with several roars accompanying winning shots. It got her going, and she was able to carry the momentum, taking the second on a tie-break 12-10. The Egyptian then took the third as well, after playing some clever, tactical squash during the middle part of the game to break away.
That is outstanding!— PSA World Tour (@PSAWorldTour) March 2, 2020
Take a bow
CamilleSerme</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/HaniaaElHammamy?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">HaniaaElHammamy
Breathtaking squash in Chicago #WCOSquash pic.twitter.com/y3TMEJWtHt
She would hold the lead in the fourth game as well, and at one point it looked like she had broken ‘La Panthere’ down, but the French No.1, and winner of the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions six weeks earlier, fought back. She saved a match ball to send the clash into a deciding game, taking the fourth 14-12.
The tempo was maintained into the fifth, despite the pair having been on court for more than an hour. El Hammamy showed some great touch at the front of the court to come back from 8-6 into a tie at 9-9, but Serme was able to close the match out by winning the next two points, letting out a scream of emotion, as she booked her place in the last eight.
The Frenchwoman will now face either Donna Lobban or World No.4 Nour El Sherbini in the quarter-finals at the University Club of Chicago on Monday evening.
“That was long! I knew it was going to be a battle. She is top ten now, but she can beat anyone in the top ten so I knew it was going to be hard. I was focused on what to do on court, what the right tactics were and trying to play the best that I could. At the end it could have gone either way,” Serme admitted.
“I tried to forget about the Pyramids, but I tried to remember what I did wrong and what she did well, to try and avoid her playing her best. It has always been amazing, the standard of women’s squash, but now it is the best it has ever been. The top 20, top 30, everyone is so good!”
 Camille Serme (FRA) bt  Hania El Hammamy (EGY) 3-2: 11-7, 10-12, 7-11, 14-12, 11-9 (81m)