Raneem El Welily and Nick Matthew took the wins at the Windy City Open which finished last Wednesday at the University Club of Chicago in the downtown area of the city.
Welily, the on-fire Egyptian world number two, had not had the clearest of runs through and was sorely tested by country woman Omneya Abdel Kawy and then Camille Serme, who led 2-1 and 8-4 in the semi-finals.
Welily had every right to come up a bit short in Chicago; since a mighty world championship final defeat at the hands of Nicol David she has responded as any champion does during this busy time of year, winning in New York and performing well in Cleveland since.
Now her threat to world number one David is becoming very real, despite David’s amazing ability for consistency: let’s not forget she is perhaps the greatest achiever in sport on the planet at this moment, having been world number one for over 100 consecutive months. Welily therefore has her hands full but is proving to be her greatest challenger. The Egyptian has a languid way about her on the court which makes her so good to watch.
Nick Matthew has also shown incredible consistency and obstinacy lately.
He clearly doesn’t pay much attention to age and is as strong as ever.
He dispatched an ebullient world number one Mohamed El Shorbagy in three games, who had been wanting to make it clear all week that he was not himself.
I’m not sure, at this point in what is a busy season, what player is fully him or herself.
Matthew showed no such negativity and played well in a fierce contest of pace and accuracy to continue a good run in 2015.
Today is Premier Squash League day, and Pontefract take on Birmingham Lions at home with a strong team, with a hope of lifting their position in the table.