Defending world champion Laura Massaro overcomes two tough tiebreaks against Annie Au to reach quarter-finals in Cairo
By HOWARD HARDING – Squash Mad Correspondent
Defending champion Laura Massaro moved one step closer to a third successive appearance in the final of the Women’s World Squash Championship when she defeated Hong Kong’s top-ranked player Annie Au in the second round of the Women’s Squash Association’s premier championship at the Wadi Degla club in the Egyptian capital Cairo.
England’s world No.2 was pushed all the way in the first two games by Au, the ninth seed, before closing out the match 12-10, 12-10, 11-2 in 40 minutes.
“The two tie-breaks showed how tight it was,” conceded the 31-year-old from Preston afterwards. “It’s the fifth time I’ve played her this year – I guess I’m getting to grips with what I’ve got to do!”
The second seed will now line up against fifth-seeded Londoner Alison Waters, the England team-mate with whom she won the world team title last week in Canada.
Waters earned her place in the last eight after an 11-7, 11-6, 11-3 victory over compatriot Sarah-Jane Perry, the 15th seed who was also a member of the triumphant England team.
“It’ll be very difficult to play a team-mate tomorrow,” added Massaro (pictured above in action with Au). “We just spent a week together – it’s going to feel weird to play her that quickly.
“I saved four match-balls in Penang. I’ll try not to do that again!”
The other quarter-final clash decided on the second day of second round action will be an all-Egyptian affair after Wadi Degla-based Raneem El Welily, the third seed, and eighth seed Nour El Tayeb, also from Cairo, both prevailed.
El Tayeb claimed the day’s first win – and her maiden appearance in the event’s last eight at her sixth attempt – after beating Australian veteran Rachael Grinham 11-8, 9-11, 11-8, 11-3.
Grinham, the 37-year-old 11th seed who won the title in 2007, is competing in her 19th world championship after making her debut 20 years ago in 1994. The former world number one from Toowoomba in Queensland led her country in last week’s world team championship in Canada – but also found time to reach Cairo via her home country where she won the Australian national championship!
“It is so hard for me to play Rachael,” said 21-year-old El Tayeb. “She is so unbelievably talented and skilful, but also she is my role model – I love watching her play.”
El Welily, the world No.3 who is leading the home nation’s charge in the event, recovered from a game down to beat India’s top-ranked player Dipika Pallikal, the 14th seed, 7-11, 11-5, 11-3, 11-6.
Wadi Degla Women’s World Squash Championship, Cairo, Egypt
Second round (lower half of draw):
 Raneem El Welily (EGY) bt  Dipika Pallikal (IND) 7-11, 11-5, 11-3, 11-6 (50m)
 Nour El Tayeb (EGY) bt  Rachael Grinham (AUS) 11-8, 9-11, 11-8, 11-3 (36m)
 Alison Waters (ENG) bt  Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) 11-7, 11-6, 11-3 (31m)
 Laura Massaro (ENG) bt  Annie Au (HKG) 12-10, 12-10, 11-2 (40m)
 Nicol David (MAS) v  Camille Serme (FRA)
 Low Wee Wern (MAS) v  Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY)
 Raneem El Welily (EGY) v  Nour El Tayeb (EGY)
 Laura Massaro (ENG) v  Alison Waters (ENG)
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