Thursday, March 30, 2023

Massaro downs Duncalf in Cleveland

RESULTS: WISPA Cleveland Classic, Cleveland, Ohio, USA

[1] Nicol David (MAS) bt Amanda Sobhy (USA) 11-9, 11-5, 11-6 (25m)
[Q] Annie Au (HKG) bt [Q] Sarah Kippax (ENG) 13-11, 11-9, 12-10 (47m)
[4] Madeline Perry (IRL) bt [5] Natalie Grinham (NED) 11-6, 12-10, 10-12, 11-9 (43m)
[8] Laura Massaro (ENG) bt [2] Jenny Duncalf (ENG) 12-10, 11-4, 11-2 (34m)

Mighty Massaro Ditches Duncalf In Cleveland

In the first Tour victory over her England team-mate for almost five years, Laura Massaro upset world No2 Jenny Duncalf in straight games in the Women’s Cleveland WISPA Classic to claim an unexpected place in the semi-finals of the first WISPA World Tour Gold squash event of the year at Cleveland Racquet Club in Cleveland in the US state of Ohio.

Duncalf, the second seed from Harrogate, squandered two game balls at the end of a closely fought first game which Massaro took 12-10.

“This proved to be critical as Massaro grew in confidence, producing some great attacking shots, which seemed to be adding to Duncalf’s obvious unsettled state on the court,” said Cleveland Racquet Club Squash Director Nathan Dugan.

“The third was more of the same, as Massaro continued to move well absorbing any pressure that Duncalf could put on her before finding a winning shot, or benefiting from a Duncalf error,” explained Dugan after Massaro romped to her 12-10, 11-4, 11-2 win in 34 minutes.

The eighth seed from Preston in Lancashire will now face Ireland’s No4 seed Madeline Perry for a place in the final.

The 12-time Irish national champion battled to a four-game victory over Dutch number one Natalie Grinham, the fifth seed fighting back to top form after the birth of her son Kieran last May.

Perry, who went into the match 1-9 down in her career head-to-head tally with Grinham, reduced the deficit following her 11-6, 12-10, 10-12, 11-9 win.

After producing the shock of the tournament by defeating in-form Australian Kasey Brown in the opening round, 17-year-old American Amanda Sobhy met her match in top seed Nicol David, the world number one from Malaysia competing in her first tournament of the year after her unbeaten run throughout 2010.

“World champion Nicol David had not looked that sharp in her first round match – but the ‘Duracell Bunny’ was definitely awakened in her quarter final appearance here tonight,” added Dugan. “It was credit to world junior champion Amanda Sobhy that David had to kick into a different gear, as Sobhy took an early 9-6 lead in the first game.

“That is when the switch appeared to be flicked, as David reeled off 19 of the following 24 rallies, showing Cleveland why she has not been beaten for over a year!”

David’s 11-9, 11-5, 11-6 victory takes her on to a semi-final clash with Asian rival Annie Au, the 21-year-old from Hong Kong who beat fellow qualifier Sarah Kippax, from England, 13-11, 11-9, 12-10.

Semi-final line-up:
[1] Nicol David (MAS) v [Q] Annie Au (HKG)
[8] Laura Massaro (ENG) v [4] Madeline Perry (IRL)

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