Serme becomes first French champion as Massaro suffers effects of semi-final epic
By SCARLETT SMITH in Hull
France’s Camille Serme earned herself a place in squash history in Hull on Sunday when she became the first Frenchwoman to win the Allam British Open.
Serme, 26, secured the biggest title of her career with an 11-3, 11-5, 8-11, 11-8 win over home favourite Laura Massaro in a 51 minute match which captivated the sell-out crowd at Hull’s Airco Arena.
The number six seed started the match with ferocious pace, making it difficult for Massaro to get in front of her opponent. At 2-0 down the former World Champion Massaro fought back to give herself a glimmer of hope but it wasn’t to be for the 31-year-old as she lost out to Serme’s attacking game.
A disappointed Massaro praised her conqueror after the match but said that she was proud of her effort in reaching her third Allam British Open final in a row.
Massaro’s largely successful week included an extraordinary comeback from two games and match ball down against World No.1 Nicol David in Saturday’s semi-finals.
Her run of form this came despite the fact that she was considering retirement earlier in the season after feeling mentally and physically fatigued. Instead she chose to take a sustained break from the game before returning to elite competition this week.
Massaro said: “I’m disappointed but I’m proud of my week and I don’t feel like I really could have given it much more out there.
“It was a really big win yesterday, beating Nicol David, and obviously that match just took a little bit too much out of me. It was 75-80 minutes and it proved to be a little bit too far with Camille being as fresh as she was.
“There are always fine lines. We’re both really professional, we both train hard and try to do the best that we can do. I’ve had the better of her in recent times so this is fair play. She played a bit better than me today.”
A delighted Serme explained how she fought to victory: “I felt really relaxed out there, I was focusing so much on my tactics, volleying as much as I could and play my attacking game. She came back strongly in the third game but then in the fourth I went back to my tactics and I managed to do it on the important points.
“It’s an amazing feeling, I’m so happy. I’ve worked so hard for that win and I still can’t believe it. I think I’ll only realise it in a few days once I’m back at home with my family and boyfriend. I’m had so much support from everyone throughout my career that I’m going to enjoy sharing my joy with them,” added Serme.
Her brother, world No.41 Lucas, watched online at home in Prague, where he trains with Gregory Gaultier. So naturally he was hoping for a French double.
He said: “I watched the match with my girlfriend. It looked like Camille was on for an easy win but she got us really nervous from the third game onward.
“I’m ecstatic that she was able to pull through. It’s very well deserved. She worked hard for a huge title such as this one. Very, very happy for her.”
Camille Serme’s reaction after the match, courtesy of PSA SquashTV
Allam British Open 2015, Hull, England. Women’s final:
 Camille Serme (FRA) bt  Laura Massaro (ENG) 11-3, 11-5, 8-11, 11-8 (51m)
Pictures by STEVE LINE www.squashpics.com