India’s top squash player Dipika Pallikal earned a hard fought win over Nicolette Fernandes of Guyana to reach the the semifinals 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 quarterfinal played on Friday.

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 in Houston.

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.

Quarterfinals 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).

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