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Pallikal makes last 4

Houston: India’s top squash player Dipika Pallikal earned a hard-fought win over Nicolette Fernandes of Guyana to reach the semi-finals of the $50,000 Texas Open here.

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

The World No. 12 from Chennai plays eighth-ranked Madeline Perry of Ireland in the semi-finals.

In other matches, Malaysian favourite and top seed Low Wee Wern was stunned by Egypt’s teenage sensation Nour El Sherbini. The 18-year-old qualifier tamed the World No. 7 11-3, 11-8, 10-12, 11-6 to advance 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 No. 1 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.

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.