Monday, October 2, 2023

Party time as majestic Massaro crowned Queen of Chicago

Laura shouts it loud and proud after downing El Welily in Windy City

Lee Horton byline

“I’VE WON THE WINDY CITY OPEN” screamed exuberant world number two Laura Massaro after victory in Chicago last night. “So happy.Thanks everyone for the support! Celebration time.”

There was no disguising the delight as England’s number one stormed to her 13th title on the WSA World Tour beating Raneem El Welily in the final of the Women’s METROsquash Windy City Open.

It was a magical moment for the world number two who hit the bright lights of Chicago to celebrate her first win of the year with friends after the award ceremony. She was straight onto Twitter posting from Michael Jordan’s Steak House Restaurant looking every inch the champion.

Massaro went into the match 10-6 ahead in her career head-to-head Tour tally with El Welily – but the younger Egyptian was the winner the last time they met, in the Malaysian Open semi-finals last September.

After the first two games were shared, “Raneem held her first significant lead of the night when she went up 8-5 in the third, but Laura quickly went ahead and closed 11-9,” explained event spokesman Jim Wellington. With an error-free run in the fourth, when she dropped just three points, El Welily drew level.

El WelilyBut errors from both players in the decider took the score to 8-4 in Massaro’s favour. “Down 5-9, Raneem chose serve to Laura’s forehand and started really smacking it,” continued Wellington.

“Laura hit the tin but followed it up with a winner, and then a stroke to take the match.” The 9-11, 11-8, 11-9, 3-11, 11-6 victory in 59 minutes marks Massaro’s first Tour title triumph of the year – and the first since lifting the British Open trophy for the first time last May.

A disappointed El Welily said after the final: “I think tonight’s match was a cycle of up and down patches from my side. I had an opportunity in the third at 8-5 up that I didn’t make good use of.

“So obviously a little bit disappointed but all credit to Laura who played really well throughout the entire match,” added the Cairo-based 25-year-old. “I believe it was the crucial moments that made the difference and she definitely managed them better than I did.”

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