Emily Whitlock makes former world champion fight all the way for a place in the semi-finals
By SCARLETT SMITH – Squash Mad Correspondent in Manchester
Former world champion Laura Massaro survived a scare from the up and coming Emily Whitlock to reach the semi-finals of the National Squash Championships in Manchester.
The 20-year-old Whitlock nicked the first game at the National Squash Centre 13/11 before Massaro crept back to draw level. In the third game Massaro lead 8-6 before Whitlock used her speed and precision to take a surprising 2-1 lead.
Massaro regrouped and managed to find her form to recover the next two games and the match to book her spot in the semi finals with an 11/13, 12/10, 9/11, 11/2, 11/4 victory.
“After I went 2-1 down I just thought you’re going to lose here so you might as well just go for it. So I pushed up the court and really tried to volley everything, which was a dangerous tactic but it worked,” Massaro explained.
“I have to remind myself before I go on that I’ve won this trophy twice before, I have a World Championship title and I’ve won the British Open, so really the pressure is off and anything else is just a bonus.
“It’s always tough against Emily as I was coached by her dad for two years so I feel like they know my weaknesses and I know hers!” added 31 year old Massaro.
Massaro will face Bedfordshire’s Victoria Lust, who caused an upset in the first match of the day with a win over seasoned professional Madeline Perry. After losing the first game, Lust hit back to record an impressive victory, winning 8/11, 11/8, 11/7, 11/9 in 39 minutes.
Hull-based Moverley said: “I’m proud of my performance, I was so excited to be out there, my first time on the glass court and my first time in the quarter finals. I was just looking to enjoy it.
“It was a great win yesterday and I was hoping to have a similar performance which I thought I did by pushing her right to the very end.
“After four years away from the tour I’m looking to challenge again, my highest ranking was 43 so I want to better that. Hopefully get into the top 20 or top 10” added Moverley.
Alison Waters is seeded to meet Massaro in the final but had to be in top form to beat a spirited Jenny Duncalf 12/10, 11/5, 11/9.
In the men’s event Nick Matthew is still on course for a record seventh national title as he defeated the last remaining Scottish challenger, Alan Clyne 11/4, 11/6, 11/4.
“Hopefully everyone comes back tomorrow for a nice romantic Valentine’s Day at the squash,” joked Matthew afterwards.
In the other half of the draw Daryl Selby was pleased to make the semi-final stages after a win against his team-mate Tom Richards.
“I’m delighted to win. It’s a pity that James (Willstrop) is missing, but that doesn’t make it easier for me. I’ll have to be 100% focused,” Daryl said.
Selby will face Adrian Waller, who defeated 23-year-old Charles Sharpes 11/3, 11/3, 11/6.
The event run in conjunction with Manchester City Council also welcomes over a thousand of Manchester’s school children to the National Squash Centre as part of the event’s legacy programme. Children will have the chance to experience live squash, meet the players and take part in mini-squash activities.
British National Championships, Manchester.
Women’s quarter-final results:
 Laura Massaro (Lancs) bt [5/8] Emily Whitlock (Cheshire) 11/13, 12/10, 9/11, 11/2, 11/4 (68m)
[5/8] Victoria Lust (Bedfordshire) bt [3/4] Madeline Perry (Northern Ireland) 8/11, 11/8, 11/7, 11/9 (39m)
[3/4] Sarah-Jane Perry (Warwickshire) bt Fiona Moverley (Yorkshire) [5/8] 11/9, 7/11, 11/8, 9/11, 11/8 (51m)
 Alison Waters (Middlesex) bt [5/8] Jenny Duncalf (Yorkshire) 12/10, 11/5, 11/9 (35m)
Men’s quarter-final results:
 Nick Matthew (Yorks) bt [5/8] Alan Clyne (Scotland) 11/4, 11/6, 11/4 (38m)
[3/4] Chris Simpson (Yorkshire) bt [5/8] Joe Lee (Surrey) 11/8, 11/3, 11/5 (44m)
[3/4] Daryl Selby bt [5/8] Tom Richards (Surrey) 16/14, 11/8, 11/6 (66m)
[5/8] Adrian Waller bt [9/16] Charles Sharpes (Surrey) 11/3, 11/3, 11/6 (34m)
For more information visit: www.nationalsquashchamps.net
Pictures by STEVE LINE (www.squashpics.com)