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Sunday January 6, 2013

Veteran Duncalf beats the odds to make the semi-finals

PETALING JAYA: England’s Jenny Duncalf continued her fine start to the new year with a battling performance en route to beating Egyptian world junior champion Nour El Sherbini 18-16, 4-11, 11-9 to make the semi-finals of the World Series Finals at The Queen’s Club in London.

The 30-year-old Duncalf had a wretched season last year, failing to clear the quarter-final stages of most of her tournaments and dropping out of the top 10 – to No. 12 – in the world last month.

But a fine recovery at the Women’s World Open in Cayman Islands, where she lost to world No. 1 Nicol David in the semi-finals, saw her climb back up to No. 8.

And she seems to have carried that form with her to London, where she stunned Egypt’s world No. 2 Raneem El Weleily in her first Group B match.

Although she lost to in-form Frenchwoman Camille Serme on Thursday, Duncalf, once ranked No. 2 in the world, showed that she’s back to her best with the win over Sherbini on Friday.

The result means Duncalf is through to the last four, where she will face compatriot Laura Massaro.

In Friday’s other Group B match, Serme’s two-win streak was halted by Weleily – losing 6-11, 8-11.

However, Serme did enough to top the group and will face Nicol in the other semi-final.

In the men’s event, defending champion Amr Shabana of Egypt ended young compatriot Mohamed El Shorbagy’s hopes of making the semi-finals with a 11-7, 8-11, 11-9 win.

Shabana topped the group ahead of England’s Nick Matthew, who sealed his last four spot by beating compatriot Peter Barker 11-2, 12-10.

In the semi-finals, Matthew will face Frenchman Gregory Gaultier while Shabana will meet world No. 3 James Wilstrop of England.

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