Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Alison and Laura dreaming of a full English

Waters and Massaro carry home hopes in semi-final showdowns


Defending champion Laura Massaro and world No6 Alison Waters are on course to meet in an all-English final of the Allam British Open Squash Championship – the first for 23 years – after prevailing in the quarter-finals at the Sports Arena in Hull.

Fifth seed Waters reached her third semi-final in four years after upsetting No4 seed Joelle King 11-4, 8-11, 11-5, 11-1 in 46 minutes – avenging a straight games defeat to the New Zealander in last year’s US Open.

“The semi-finals of the British Open is a big occasion, I’m really pleased to be there and I’m looking forward to it,” said the 30-year-old Londoner (pictured above with King). “It’s great to be playing a tournament in Britain in front of a home crowd.”

Waters now faces world No1 and tournament favourite Nicol David, the four-time champion from Malaysia who is aiming to regain the title after losing out to Massaro last year.

David beat career-long Egyptian rival Omneya Abdel Kawy 11-7, 12-10, 11-4 and told the crowd afterwards: “I played much better today. Kawy is such a crafty player, I was really pleased to come through it and take the victory.

“I’m through to another semi-final but it never gets boring, it just gets better. Everything counts, I’m so pleased to be here at the British Open in Hull again with a great crowd and it’s nice to have such a knowledgeable crowd.”

Earlier title-holder Massaro swept into her third successive semi after beating England team-mate Sarah Kippax.

The world No2 from Preston was tested by the Halifax-based player who was making her first ever British Open quarter final appearance. However, reigning world champion Massaro was able to draw on her experience and come out the stronger at the end of each game.

“It was tough going into the quarter final against an England team-mate and someone I’ve known for years and years,” said Massaro (pictured above with Kippax) after her 11-8, 12-10, 11-8 victory.

“On paper I was a heavy favourite so that is sometimes difficult to handle. I’m pleased to come through – she’s had a couple of giant killings!

“After I won the event last year, it was a bit of a surprise. It took me a while to get my head round it and realise that everyone was still gunning for me. I feel really good to be in the next round.

“The legacy work they do here and at our British Nationals is massive and it helps get more kids playing squash and introduce them into the game. It’s such a great way to get kids involved.

“The coverage I’ve had from the World Championships has helped get me a good reception wherever I go and I’m really enjoying it. It was nice to see them getting behind everyone and great to see a full side wall!”

Massaro will face third seed Raneem El Welily after the world No3 from Egypt defeated seventh-seeded Malaysian Low Wee Wern 11-5, 11-6, 11-8.

Commenting on her upcoming match, the Lancastrian added: “She’s phenomenal with the racket and I’ll have to be on my game plan 100%. We’ve played in the last three events and I’ll have to be fully focused.”

[1] Nicol David (MAS) bt [11] Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) 11-7, 12-10, 11-4 (39m)
[5] Alison Waters (ENG) bt [4] Joelle King (NZL) 11-4, 8-11, 11-5, 11-1 (46m)
[3] Raneem El Welily (EGY) bt [7] Low Wee Wern (MAS) 11-5, 11-6, 11-8 (32m)
[2] Laura Massaro (ENG) bt Sarah Kippax (ENG) 11-8, 12-10, 11-8 (41m)

Semi-final line-up:
[1] Nicol David (MAS) v [5] Alison Waters (ENG)
[2] Laura Massaro (ENG) v [3] Raneem El Welily (EGY)

Picture by SquashPics.com


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