Egypt’s World No.4 Nour El Tayeb is into the final of the Manchester Open after getting the better of home favourite Sarah-Jane Perry in a tight four-game battle at the National Squash Centre.
El Tayeb held a perfect 100% record over the Englishwoman from their previous seven meetings on the PSA World Tour, and was victorious in their last clash, which came in the final of the Cleveland Classic, a Bronze level tournament, back in February.
There was the typical fast start from the ‘Black Widow’ in this one, as she went out into a 9-3 lead in the opening game. Perry attempted to mount a comeback, and came close to sending it into a tie-break, but the Egyptian held off to take the early advantage.
The World No.5 fought back in the second, but some crucial errors late on meant the game went into a tie-break. El Tayeb saved three game balls to stay alive, and even had one of her own, but it would eventually be Perry that took it to level the match at one game apiece.
The third game also went to a tie-break, as El Tayeb had to fight back from being 9-6 down. She also had to save a further three game balls in this one, but this time, she got her own back on the Englishwoman, to win it 14-12. The World No.4 went on to win the fourth in comfortable fashion as Perry tired.
The Egyptian extends her 100% record over the World No.5 to eight games, and will now face the World No.3, and the tournament’s top seed, Camille Serme in the final of the event on Tuesday evening.
“It was one of those matches where I was not very happy with my squash performance, but I was happy of how I dug in and resisted. Luckily, she made a few errors at the end, which I think was an outcome of me digging in. I am very happy with the win for sure,” El Tayeb said.
“I think I am feeling fit. I was telling myself to keep pushing, step up the ’T’ and to hit the ball harder. It might have made that slight difference at the end.
“The third was crucial. I think she had a big margin, so for me to get the game was important. I could tell she was tired from the beginning of the match, but she just comes up with winners, or she picks up the ball somehow and the ball stays in play. Maybe that caught me by surprise because I thought she would give in but she didn’t. Definitely, the third was crucial for the winner of the game and that was me.
“I always tell Ali [Farag, El Tayeb’s husband] that I hate playing SJ, I hate it. She always bothers me with her holds and her straight lines. Every time we play, she figures me out and keeps hitting straight lines. I am working hard on not being bothered by that. For now I am very happy with the head-to-head and I hope it doesn’t change because I think it is the only positive one I have in the top ten.”
 Nour El Tayeb (EGY) bt  Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) 3-1: 11-8, 11-13, 14-12, 11-6 (51m)