Abdel-Kawy eyes her first World Open squash semi

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AMSTERDAM: Omneya Abdel-Kawy, the heroine of Egypt’s world team title triumph, continued her bid to reach the world’s top five for the first time by reaching her fifth World Open quarter-final.

The sixth-seeded Abdel-Kawy did that with a hard-worked four-game win over Samantha Teran, the Mexican who has a training base here in Amsterdam, a success owing much to her adaptability in a change of conditions.

Both players had had to play the day before on the very different fixed center court in the Frans Otten stadium, rather than the demountable all-glass court being used for the rest of the tournament – and for a while Abdel-Kawy struggled.

She lost the first game to the bustling and determined Teran, and found herself in a dogfight in the fourth, in which she trailed by 4-5, before coming through to win 8-11, 11-5, 11-4, 11-7.

“The conditions were very different, Abdel-Kawy said. “The other court seems to absorb the power of the ball but here sometimes it was really fast. It really affected me so it’s good to have come through.

She did that by producing a familiar drop-kill combination to get back to 5-5 in the fourth game, and then by responding immediately when Teran tenaciously won a monster rally to reach 6-7.

Abdel-Kawy, who has one of the most brilliant front court games on the tour, patiently played out the next, psychologically important rally, and after winning it captured two quick points to ease away from danger.

“I am improving very slightly, said Abdel-Kawy. “Not big improvements, but I’m still young at 24.

“I am trying to work on some stuff to be in the form of a top five or top four player. And hopefully it will work some day.

“I feel like I am consistent but I am need one more step – and then one step after that. I have been at seven or eight for two years now and I need a change.

Abdel-Kawy is very conscious that three times out of five in the World Open quarter-finals she has played Nicol David, by far the world’s most consistently successful player, and is pleased that by avoiding the Malaysian this time she has a better chance of making the semi-finals for the first time.

The draw suggested that her opponent should be the third-seeded Rachael Grinham, the 2007 world champion who has been based for much of the past six years in Cairo, making the Egyptian and the Australian regular sparring partners.

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