Pallikal fights her way into Texas Open semis

Houston (USA): India`s top squash player Dipika Pallikal earned a hard fought win over Nicolette Fernandes of Guyana to reah the the semifinals of the USD 50,000 Texas Open here.c

Pallikal, with coach and five-time world champion Sarah Fitz-Gerald in her corner, had to resist a determined fightback by the unseeded Fernandes before prevailing 11-4, 11-6, 10-12, 10-12, 11-5 in the quarterfinal played yesterday.

The World No.12 from Chennai plays eigth-ranked Madeline Perry of Ireland in the semifinals later on Saturday.

In other matches, Malaysian favourite and top seed Low Wee Wern was stunned by Egypt`s teenage `giant-killer`, Nour El Sherbini. The 18-year-old qualifier tamed the World No.7 11-3, 11-8, 10-12, 11-6 to progress in the Women`s Squash Association (WSA) Gold 50 event at The Downtown Club here.

The Egyptian had produced one of the biggest shocks in recent times when she downed Malaysia`s world number one Nicol David at the World Championship last month to become the tournament`s youngest ever finalist.

Alexandria-based El Sherbini, who later this year could win the World Junior title for a record fourth time, now takes on third seed Camille Serme for a place in the final.

French number one Serme, the World No.6, ended the run of Australia`s eighth seed Rachael Grinham beating the 37-year-old former world champion 8-11, 17-15, 11-6, 11-4.

Quarter-finals results:

[2] Madeline Perry (IRL) bt [Q] Emma Beddoes (ENG) 11-7, 9-11, 11-6, 11-8 (48m), [4] Dipika Pallikal (IND) bt Nicolette Fernandes (GUY) 11-4, 11-6, 10-12, 10-12, 11-5 (64m), [3] Camille Serme (FRA) bt [8] Rachael Grinham (AUS) 8-11, 17-15, 11-6, 11-4 (47m), [Q] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt [1] Low Wee Wern (MAS) 11-3, 11-8, 10-12, 11-6 (46m).

Pallikal felt she should not have allowed her opponent to make a comeback.

"It was pretty tough. I made it hard on myself really. I was match ball up in the third game and she came back strongly to win that game. I am glad stuck to my plan and won the decider," Pallikal told PTI.

"Playing Madeline will also be tough. She has been in good form and usually a tough opponent. Though I won against her in our last meeting," she added.