Sarah-Jane Perry beats Raneem El Welily to successfully defend NetSuite Open title

A sublime performance and stunning 57 minute 11-9 11-7 9-11 7-11 11-7 victory over Raneem El Welily of Egypt saw Sarah-Jane Perry successfully defend her NetSuite Open title in San Francisco.

After storming through the women’s draw to book a place in the final without dropping a game El Welily, the 29-year-old World No.2, picked up where she left off during the opening exchanges of the women’s final as she raced into an early 6-1 lead to set up what looked certain to be a comfortable opening first game.

But Sarah-Jane Perry responded to the challenge, finding her own lethal streak mid-way through to swing the game on its head and take the opener 11-9 against the run of play. Buoyed by her comeback in the first, Perry continued to enjoy a purple patch as she dominated the second to double her advantage - leaving El Welily searching for a way to stop the onslaught.

The Egyptian though responded in kind, lifting her level once again to engage Perry in rally after rally of physically testing and tactically probing squash. With the finishing line in sight at 9-7 through a series of errors from the racket of Perry gifted El Welily a reprieve, and she took full advantage to gain a lifeline on the scoreboard before taking the fourth in just eight minutes to level the scores.

The crucial fifth and final game began with a series of cat-and-mouse exchanges with little to separate them but from 4-4 Perry turned the screw to set up match ball at 10-4. A series of sumptuous winners saw El Welily threaten to extend the match into a tie-break but Perry finally sealed the match, and her second Oracle NetSuite Open title 11-9 11-7 9-11 7-11 11-7.

“I’m speechless,” said Perry afterwards. “She was making me work so hard and any time there was even a slight chance she was punishing me.

“I had to play as clever as I have ever done before and I was absolutely knackered in that fifth game but I just forced myself to keep pushing. I knew I was playing well and that I didn’t have to chance much tactically, I just had to execute. But even at 10-4 up she was coming back and she hit some fantastic shots to get it back to 10-7 so there was a lot of relief at the end alongside the elation.

“I dedicated the win here last year to my Nan (who passed away shortly before the event). My mum said she’s be looking down watching over me tonight as well so this one is defiantly for her again.”

After the match El Welily said: “Obviously I’m disappointed to lose tonight but Sarah-Jane played very well and deserved the win.”

In the men’s final Egypt’s World No.2 Ali Farag defeat 2017 tournament champion and World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy 11-9 13-11 4-11 11-9.

Result - 2018 Women’s Oracle NetSuite Open Final
[5] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) bt [1] Raneem El Welily (EGY) 3-2: 11-9, 11-7, 9-11, 7-11, 11-7 (57m)

Result - 2018 Men’s Oracle NetSuite Open Final
[2] Ali Farag (EGY) bt [1] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) 3-1: 11-9, 13-11, 4-11, 11-9 (64m)

Sarah-Jane Perry uses the UNSQUASHABLE SARAH-JANE PERRY AUTOGRAPH racket which is available exclusively from www.unsquashable.com

UNSQUASHABLE sponsored players and brand ambassadors competing on the PSA World Tour are sponsored by AJ Bell, one of the UK’s largest providers of online investment platforms and stockbroker services.

For more information, visit: www.psaworldtour.com, www.squashsite.com & www.unsquashable.com

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INSPIRED BY JAHANGIR KHAN
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