Monday, December 4, 2023

Laura Massaro makes a stylish start in Women’s Worlds

Laura Massaro wins her first round tie

“I took it very seriously” says Massaro


World No.2 Laura Massaro began her Orascom Development PSA Women’s World Championship campaign with victory over Egypt’s Mariam Metwally in El Gouna, Egypt.

Massaro, who claimed the biggest title on the Women’s Tour three years ago, reached the final of this tournament last year and ensured that she would make a winning start to this instalment, winning 11-7, 11-7, 11-3 in 30 minutes.

“I took her extremely seriously,” said 33-year-old Massaro, who will play New Zealand’s Joelle King next.

“I know how good she is, and this is the first round of the World Championship, so I wanted to play as well as I could and not to take any chances.”

The Englishwoman will be joined in round two by Egypt’s Raneem El Welily, who beat former World No.2 Jenny Duncalf to move to within one win of a blockbuster quarter-final matchup with Massaro.

Raneem El Welily and Jenny Duncalf in action

El Welily, the World No.4, squandered four championship balls to Malaysia’s Nicol David the last time the Women’s World Championship was held in Egypt in 2014, but she kickstarted her tournament with a 3-0 triumph over England’s Duncalf.

The Egyptian prevailed in a crucial first-game tie-break, which allowed her to press on to record an 13-11, 11-7, 11-5 victory.

“It’s the first day, the first match, the first time at this venue, so I was trying to play a little bit basic to start with,” said El Welily.

“You could see at the beginning that my shots weren’t as accurate as they could have been, but my mindset was okay, so I wasn’t upset that I made the errors, I was actually feeling that I was on the right track.

“Jenny is a really experienced player and every time I play her it’s extremely hard. Just like that, she scores with some unbelievable boasts. I’m just happy to be through today. It’s one point at a time, I have no bad memories, everything is good.”

El Welily will face United States No.2 Olivia Blatchford, who impressed with a 3-2 win over Australia’s Donna Urquhart. 

World No.3 Camille Serme (right) also earned her place in the second round after she came through against World No.21 Salma Hany Ibrahim, winning it 11-6, 11-5, 11-8.

Last year’s World Championship saw Serme bow out at the quarter-final stage to World No.5 Nouran Gohar and she is using the memory of that disappointment to spur her onto greater things this time around.

“Last year, I had a lot of expectations at the Worlds, but when I lost to Nouran in the quarters it was a really big disappointment,” she said.

“It was the end of the season and I don’t want to feel that way again. I know I’ve won two big titles this year, I know I can do well, but everyone is strong at the moment, especially the girls from the top eight and you never know what can happen. I just take it match-by-match and I really focus on what to do on court.”

Serme will face England’s Emily Whitlock for a place in the quarter-final after the World No.13 progressed courtesy of a win over French qualifier Coline Aumard.

England’s Alison Waters will meet India’s Joshna Chinappa in the other second round fixture, with the duo claiming respective wins over qualifiers Hana Ramadan and Misaki Kobayashi.

Orascom Development PSA Women’s World Championship, El Gouna, Egypt.

First Round (Bottom Half):
[3] Raneem El Welily (EGY) bt Jenny Duncalf (ENG) 3-0: 13-11, 11-7, 11-5 (34m)
Olivia Blatchford (USA) bt [15] Donna Urquhart (AUS) 3-2: 12-10, 11-9, 9-11, 10-12, 11-8 (67m)
[9] Joelle King (NZL) bt Heba El Torky (EGY) 3-0: 11-6, 11-7, 11-6 (33m)
[5] Laura Massaro (ENG) bt Mariam Metwally (EGY) 3-0: 11-7, 11-7, 11-3 (30m)
[8] Alison Waters (ENG) bt [Q] Hana Ramadan (EGY) 3-1: 11-8, 6-11, 11-6, 11-5 (44m)
[12] Joshna Chinappa (IND) bt [Q] Misaki Kobayashi (JPN) 3-0: 13-11, 11-8, 12-10 (33m)
[13] Emily Whitlock (ENG) bt [Q] Coline Aumard (FRA) 3-0: 11-6, 11-8, 11-9 (33m)
[2] Camille Serme (FRA) bt Salma Hany Ibrahim (EGY) 3-0: 11-6, 11-5, 11-8 (35m)

Second Round (Top Half To Be Played April 9):
[1] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) v [16] Tesni Evans (WAL)
[14] Victoria Lust (ENG) v [7] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG)
[6] Nicol David (MAS) v [10] Annie Au (HKG)
[11] Nour El Tayeb (EGY) v [4] Nouran Gohar (EGY)

Second Round (Bottom Half To Be Played April 10):
[3] Raneem El Welily (EGY) bt Olivia Blatchford (USA)
[9] Joelle King (NZL) bt [5] Laura Massaro (ENG)
[8] Alison Waters (ENG) v [12] Joshna Chinappa (IND)
[13] Emily Whitlock (ENG) v [2] Camille Serme (FRA) 

Pictures courtesy of PSA


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