Waters and El Welily to Meet in ToC Finals
Tenacity, composure and strategic play earned Alison Waters her first trip to the finals of the ToC.
The journey to the championship match had several ups and downs and ended with a dramatic finish as the world #5 had to save two match balls before claiming victory over fourth seed Nour El Sherbini.
“I thought we both played really good squash,” said the Englishwoman after the match. ”But at the end, on those match balls, I was actually relaxed while I think Nour may have gotten just a little bit tight,”
The Egyptian teenager was anything but tight at the start of the match as she led the entire way in the first game to take it 11-8. Undeterred, Waters claimed the second in a tie break. Sherbini roared back in the third, 11-5.
Traditionally a power hitter who likes a fast-paced game, Waters demonstrated some new versatility, especially in the last two games, as she added more lift and lobs to her usual hard hitting flat game. She also displayed a new attitude. “I have made some big improvements in my mental game,” the four-time British national champion explained. “I am not allowing myself to get annoyed with the officials’ decision and I have been working on not getting petulant with myself.”
After going up 10-5 in the fourth, Waters let four points slip away before she closed the game out at 11-9. Sherbini seized the momentum in the fifth, breaking out to an 8-4 lead, before Waters answered with her own four point run to tie the match. After saving two match balls at 8-10 and 10-11, the 30-year-old closed the lid on the match, 13-11. “It feels especially good to back up my win last night over Nicol David with the win today,” said Waters.
Waters’ finals opponent will Raneem El Welily who eliminated Laura Massaro in four games. Massaro started very strong and was playing with authority and purpose during the first 14 points of the match as the players stayed neck and neck through seven all. El Welily then took control and surged ahead to win the game 11-7. The second game was all El Welily. As the authority from Massaro’s game faded away, the 25-year-old Egyptian gave up just two points to take a 2-0 lead in the match. It looked to be over in the third as El Welily had two game balls at 10-8, but the 2013 World Champion put together a string of three fantastic points to keep her hopes alive and win the game, 13-11.
In the fourth, Massaro rode the wave of momentum generated at the end of the previous game to take an early 3-0 lead. After El Welily tied the game at 3 all, the lead exchanged hands through 7-6 at which point El Welily once again took control to close out the match , winning the game 11- 6. “Each of us was playing well at different times,“ El Welily observed. The 25–year-old from Cairo played well at just the right times to ensure that she is fresh for the women’s finals .
 Raneem El Welily (EGY) def.  Laura Massaro (ENG) 11-7,11-2,11-13,11-6 [44 mins]
Alison Waters (ENG) def.  Nour El Sherbini (EGY) 8-11,12-10,5-11,11-9, 13-11 [76 mins]
Schedule of Play
Friday, January 23, 2015Grand Central Terminal 6:00  Raneem El Welily (EGY) v.  Alison Waters (ENG) 8:00  Mohamed Elshorbagy v. Nick Matthew (ENG)