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El Welily Wins First ToC Title

“Relaxed and happy and grateful,” said Raneem El Welily when she was asked how she felt after  defeating fifth seed Alison Waters in four games to claim her first J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions trophy.

Just under an hour earlier, Welily was not quite so relaxed. The Egyptian and her English opponent were exchanging the lead almost every other point in the first game, until Waters took the match lead as she won the opener at 11-9.

“I was thinking too much, putting too much pressure on my shoulders,” said Welily of her state of mind in the opening game. In the second game, the world no. 2 focused on getting better length on her shots and started pushing her opponent into the back of the court. As in the first, Waters went toe-to-toe with Welily – down 5-8, Waters tied the score at eight all, then nine all then 10 all – at which point El Welily played two decisive points to win the second game 12-10.

The sharp shooting Egyptian entered the third game determined to attack even more and be quicker getting to the ball. “Against a player like Alison, you have to keep the pressure on all the time,” she said. After dropping behind 1-3, Welily found her rhythm, and at four all, reeled off the next seven points to win the game.

In the fourth, the 30-year-old Waters was visibly tired and made several errors as Welily closed out the match by winning the game 11-4. “Every tournament is meaningful in its own way,” said Welily after receiving the championship trophy. Just under a month ago, the 25-year-old had been on the verge of winning her first World Open, but lost all four match points that she held. “Winning the first tournament after losing that World Championship means a lot,” Welily observed. “Back home, everyone is really happy!”

 Results – J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions in Grand Central Terminal
Friday, January 23, 2015
Final Round
 [3] Raneem El Welily (EGY) def. [5] Alison Waters (ENG) 9-11, 12-10, 11-4, 11-4  [48 mins]