World number one Nour El Sherbini and former head of the rankings Nicol David suffered shock defeats on Saturday as the British Open produced the first all-English final in 26 years.
Sherbini blew a two-game lead to fall 5-11, 7-11, 11-5, 11-3, 11-7 to Laura Massaro, the fifth seeded former British Open champion, in a mirror-image reversal of their final in the last World Championships, in Kuala Lumpur, where the Egyptian came from two games down to win.
An hour after Sherbini's exit, Malaysian David was halted 11-8, 7-11, 13-11, 11-7 by Sarah-Jane Perry, the seventh seed who had never before reached a World Series tournament final.
Now, however, her self-belief was boosted by the knowledge that she won their last meeting in September at the Al Ahram Open in front of the Giza pyramids.
The 33-year-old David's hopes of reaching her first final for 15 months had looked good when she earned a point for a two games to one lead at 11-10 in the third game, only to be denied by Perry's wall-clinging drive which set up a winning attack.
By contrast, Sherbini was denied by an intelligent and courageous performance from Massaro, who altered the emphasis of her tactics several times and eventually lured the top-seeded titleholder into crucial errors.
"I thought of that world final I lost and thought if she can come back from two down, I can," said Massaro, who changed her early attacks into a more patient attacking build-up, and then created slower pace with her tight and accurate drives that eventually undermined the 21-year-old Sherbini.
The denouement was different for David. She made few serious mistakes, but at times played more conservatively than she had while outplaying Camille Serme, the second-seeded French woman, in the semi-finals. This left enough time and room for Perry to go for her biggest shots.
"I think it was just a matter of SJ being on form today," David said of her opponent. "She was very relaxed and was mixing it up very well. I wasn't finding my footing and it wasn't until the second game that I got going.
"I wasn't as sharp as I needed to be and she is too strong to not be at your best. I'm disappointed, but fair play to Sarah-Jane -- she played well and the better player won today."
Perry was the dominant attacker throughout, and recovered determinedly from bad patches in both the second and third games, afterwards explaining with dark humour what had helped motivate her.
"I will dedicate this win to the people behind me who didn't know who I was, and said that Nicol was going to win," she said. Although it was the biggest win of her career, it leaves Massaro, the 2013 champion, as favourite to win the British Open again.