Rest is as good as a cure as former world champion returns to winning ways in British Open
By ALAN THATCHER, Squash Mad Editor
Former world champion Laura Massaro made a winning return to tournament squash to halt a disastrous run for England’s leading women in the first round of the Allam British Open in Hull.
The hard-hitting No.3 seed, from Chorley, beat India’s Joshna Chinappa 13-11, 11-13, 11-8, 11-7 in her first glass-court match for two months following a stress-busting sabbatical.
After taking a close first game the Lancastrian lost out in the tie break in the second as the Indian No.2 drew level.
Massaro stepped out stronger in the third and fourth, pinning her opponent to the back corners with some hard-hitting, forcing Chinappa into errors to take a deserved win.
A relieved Massaro said: “Obviously I was a little bit nervous coming in because of the lack of competitive squash I’ve played. Maybe more so because I don’t really know exactly how I’m playing and what to expect.
“I know that I feel hungry again to be on court and that’s exciting. I’m glad to come through.
“Before my break I didn’t feel like the normal me but now I feel back to my usual self which was what the break was designed to do.
“I don’t think as a professional athlete you can ever go in and think I’m so lucky to be here because you want to win all the time – that does bring nerves and expectation by other people. Although I want to enjoy it more there’s still a bit of pressure to achieve.”
Wild card Victoria Lust, from Luton, but now living in British Columbia, knocked out No.8 seed Omneya Abdel Kawy from Egypt in spectacular fashion, winning 11-4, 11-8, 13-11.
British national champion Sarah-Jane Perry also weighed in with an important victory, beating Salma Hany Ibrahim after dropping the first game.
Earlier, the hugely experienced pair of Alison Waters, the No.5 seed, and former world No.2 Jenny Duncalf both crashed out of the first round to qualifiers.
An of-form Waters fell in straight games to Malaysian Delia Arnold, while Duncalf lost a bizarre match in which she won the fourth game 11-0 against South Africa’s Siyoli Waters but then lost the fifth 16-14 on a tiebreak.
The prize for the day’s biggest scalp was taken by Arnold, who ousted Waters – a semi-finalist for the past two years – 11-8, 11-5, 11-4 in just 35 minutes.
“There was no pressure on me, especially after coming from two-nil down yesterday, so I’m delighted,” said the jubilant 29-year-old from Selangor who is now in the second round for the first time in four appearances.
Rising star Emily Whitlock also lost in the fifth, going down 11-4 to India’s glamour girl Dipika Pallikal.
World No.1 Nicol David survived a mini scare from the up and coming Tesni Evans, who managed to snatch a game from the five time British Open champion.
“Tesni has had some great results recently, once she got used to the glass court she was a tough opponent, so I’m pleased to get through in four games in the end. It’s fantastic to be back in Hull especially with the support of Dr. Allam, who has committed to equal prize money by 2017,” said David.
Much was expected of rising Egyptian star Nour El Tayeb, the 22-year-old from Cairo who has leapt to No.5 from outside the world top 20 in less than a year.
But the seventh seed tumbled 5-11, 11-7, 12-10, 7-11, 11-5 to qualifier Donna Urquhart, the Australian left-hander who is fighting back to top form after undergoing foot surgery late last year.
Allam British Open Squash Championships, Hull, England
Women’s 1st round:
 Nicol David (MAS) bt [Q] Tesni Evans (WAL) 11-2, 11-4, 7-11, 11-9 (56m)
 Emma Beddoes (ENG) bt Natalie Grinham (NED) w/o
 Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) bt Salma Hany Ibrahim (EGY) 5-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-8 (48m)
[Q] Donna Urquhart (AUS) bt  Nour El Tayeb (EGY) 5-11, 11-7, 12-10, 7-11, 11-5 (54m)
 Laura Massaro (ENG) bt Joshana Chinappa (IND) 13-11, 11-13, 11-8, 11-7 (50m)
 Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt [Q] Samantha Cornett (CAN) 11-7, 11-6, 11-9 (43m)
 Joelle King (NZL) bt [Q] Sabrina Sobhy (USA) 11-8, 11-9, 11-4 (30m)
[WC] Victoria Lust (ENG) bt  Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) 11-4, 11-8, 13-11 (35m)
 Camille Serme (FRA) bt Joey Chan (HKG) 11-4, 11-5, 4-11, 11-5 (46m)
 Dipika Pallikal (IND) bt Emily Whitlock (ENG) 9-11, 11-8, 11-7, 9-11, 11-4 (57m)
[Q] Siyoli Waters (RSA) bt  Jenny Duncalf (ENG) 11-6, 7-11, 11-8, 0-11, 16-14 (56m)
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt Heba El Torky (EGY) 11-2, 7-11, 11-2, 9-11, 11-4 (50m)
[Q] Delia Arnold (MAS) bt  Alison Waters (ENG) 11-8, 11-5, 11-4 (35m)
 Annie Au (HKG) bt Nicolette Fernandes (GUY) 8-11, 11-6, 11-3, 12-10 (50m)
[Q] Yathreb Adel (EGY) bt  Rachael Grinham (AUS) 11-9, 11-5, 12-14, 11-8 (39m)
 Raneem El Welily (EGY) bt [Q] Line Hansen (DEN) 11-6, 11-5, 7-11, 13-11 (37m)
2nd round line-up:
 Nicol David (MAS) v  Emma Beddoes (ENG)
[Q] Donna Urquhart (AUS) v  Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG)
 Laura Massaro (ENG) v  Nouran Gohar (EGY)
[WC] Victoria Lust (ENG) v  Joelle King (NZL)
 Camille Serme (FRA) v  Dipika Pallikal (IND)
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) v [Q] Siyoli Waters (RSA)
[Q] Delia Arnold (MAS) v  Annie Au (HKG)
 Raneem El Welily (EGY) v [Q] Yathreb Adel (EGY)
Pictures by STEVE LINE (www.squashpics.com)