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Hania El Hammamy

Black Ball Open RD3: El Hammamy Sends Out Serme to Reach Quarters

Egypt’s World No.10 Hania El Hammamy produced an incredible performance to take out France’s World No.3 Camille Serme in the last 16 of the CIB Black Ball Squash Open taking place in Cairo, Egypt.

The past two times the two players have faced each other have served up humdingers and contenders for ‘Match of the Season’, with El Hammamy coming from two-games down to win at the PSA Women’s World Championship in November and Serme winning a thrilling five-game battle in Chicago last week. And today, proved no different as El Hammamy and Serme displayed their athleticism and skilful prowess to the full to impress the crowd gathered inside the Black Ball Sporting Club.

It was Frenchwoman Serme who got off to the better start today as she looked calm and composed to find a good shot combination and keep El Hammamy at bay to take the first, 11-9.

Serme continued that control in the second to lead 7-4, but a drop off in concentration saw El Hammamy make her way back into the match to draw level and begin to ask questions of the World No.3.

The third displayed the best from both players with Serme and El Hammamy demonstrating squash of the highest calibre, but it was Serme who broke away first to hold three game balls. El Hammamy showed her mental determination though to save all three and push the third to a tie-break before duly converting her game ball on the second attempt to lead the match 2-1.

The two players continued to battle it out deep into the fourth with El Hammamy maintaining her lead, but Serme was able to claw back the points on the scoreboard with neither player then able to take a big lead in the match. El Hammamy was the first to hold match ball but Serme kept pulling her back in each time until the 19-year-old Egyptian was able to convert on her third attempt to close out 9-11, 11-8, 13-11, 13-11 in 73 minutes.

El Hammamy will face America’s Amanda Sobhy in the quarter finals.

“I have my coaches here with me, my parents and my grandma. I always win when she’s around, so it’s always fun to have her,” said El Hammamy afterwards.

“It was such a hard match mentally and physically. I’m absolutely pleased to be able to beat one of the players in the top five. Playing Camille is always physical, we both like to run even if the shot is perfect, we still go for it and keep getting the balls back, so it’s always tough to play against her. The rallies never end.

“At the beginning, I was a bit nervous, I wanted to make sure I produced a good level of squash as I did in our last two matches, and I so wanted to win. But I never felt comfortable on there, I was struggling with my length, and made a lot of unforced errors.

“But from the second on, I was able to calm down, and stick to my game plan, which was very simple, stay away from her volley, and when I was managing that, things were a bit better, a bit easier.

“The difference between here and Chicago's match is the conditions. In Chicago, the conditions were so hot, we couldn't attack at all, we kept sending the ball to the back, and none of us played a single drop shot the whole match. But we are both talented with the racket, and today, it was much better, we were both able to attack, and I think that made the difference.”

[9] Hania El Hammamy (EGY) bt [3] Camille Serme (FRA) 3-1: 9-11, 11-8, 13-11, 13-11 (73m)

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