Laura hopes for another title in America
By NATHAN CLARKE
Fresh from lifting the silverware at the 2016 NetSuite Open England’s Laura Massaro says she is ready to return to Philadelphia and defend her Delaware Investments U.S. Open crown when the second PSA World Series tournament of the season gets underway on October 8.
Massaro stormed to the title in 2015 – beating Nicol David and Nour El Tayeb in two memorable encounters en route – in a victory that set up her charge towards the World No.1 ranking which she claimed in January 2016, and fresh from taking down crowd-favourite Amanda Sobhy to take the spoils in San Francisco the 32-year-old is hoping to keep her momentum going into one of her favourite events.
“I really enjoy playing at the U.S. Open,” said Massaro. “I love going back to Drexel University (where the action takes place) each year and I have some really good memories there. I’ve won it a couple of times now, which has been special, and I always feel really welcome there in the city.
“My brother David is also now living in Philadelphia, so it feels like a home away from home because I can stay with him for a few days as well so I’m really looking forward to it.”
With Nouran Gohar, Nour El Sherbini and Raneem El Welily all having claimed major PSA World Series titles inside the past six months along with Massaro – and players like Sobhy and Nicol David in the mix in major finals – the Englishwoman knows she will have to be at her best in order to keep the trophy in her hands.
But she admits her focus will only now shift to Philadelphia after a sterling week at the NetSuite Open which was capped off with a 3-1 victory over Sobhy to claim the W50 title in San Francisco.
“I try to keep really present and take care of the matches that I’m playing so I wasn’t looking ahead during NetSuite or focusing on the draw or anything,” she said.
“Apart form booking my flight and knowing that it was coming up, I hadn’t given it too much thought but I will prepare myself for the tournament now.
“The Tour on the women’s side is perhaps the strongest it’s ever been. I think it’s really exciting right now for the game and I’m really pleased to be part of it. I think all of us have got such different games, every single one of us steps on court with a different style of play.
“It’s keeping all of us on our toes and hopefully it is entertaining the fans as well, and hopefully I can play well this week in Philadelphia.”
Massaro will begin her title defence against a qualifier on October 9 and is seeded to meet India’s Joshna Chinappa, France’s Camille Serme and Egyptian Nouran Gohar en route to any potential appearance in the 2016 title-decider.
2016 Delaware Investments U.S. Open – Women’s First Round Draw:
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) v [Qualifier]
Rachael Grinham (AUS) v  Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG)
 Jenny Duncalf (ENG) v [Qualifier]
[WC] Sabrina Sobhy (USA) v  Alison Waters (ENG)
 Raneem El Welily (EGY) v [Qualifier]
[Qualifier] v  Joelle King (NZL)
 Nour El Tayeb (EGY) v [Qualifier]
Line Hansen (DEN) v  Nicol David (MAS)
 Nouran Gohar (EGY) v [Qualifier]
[Qualifier] v  Emily Whitlock (ENG)
 Victoria Lust (ENG) v Donna Urquhart (AUS)
Dipika Pallikal Karthik (IND) v  Amanda Sobhy (USA)
 Camille Serme (FRA) v Delia Arnold (MAS)
Joey Chan (HKG) v  Annie Au (HKG)
 Joshna Chinappa (IND) v Heba El Torky (EGY)
[Qualifier] v  Laura Massaro (ENG)
Tickets for the 2016 Delaware Investments U.S. Open are now available to buy online by visiting the event website (www.usopensquash.com) with tickets priced from $25 – $250.
Pictures courtesy of PSA