Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Mighty Laura Massaro fights back to beat Nicol David

Laura Massaro is overwhelmed after her win over a stunned Nicol David
Laura Massaro is overwhelmed after her win over a stunned Nicol David

Glasgow nightmare spurred me on says Massaro after Hull of a fightback

England’s Laura Massaro launched a sensational fightback to reach the final of the Allam British Open when she overcame top seed Nicol David.

The 31-year-old from Chorley, Lancashire, recovered from two games down to win 4-11, 9-11, 11-9, 12-10, 11-8 in 77 minutes of pure drama.

Massaro was 5-0 down in the third game and then faced match ball in the fourth. Each time she showed her resilience to battle back into the match.

Massaro, winner in 2013, reached the final for the third consecutive year. It was a phenomenal performance that justified her two-month sabbatical from the game after fatigue set in earlier in the year.

She has clearly returned fitter, fresher, faster and with the ability to finish strongly. However, with her opponent in such dominant form at the start of the match, Massaro feared a repeat of her straight-games defeat in last year’s Commonwealth Games final in Glasgow.It spurred her on to produce an incredible fightback from a seemingly hopeless position.

A delighted Massaro said: “I just thought at two games down and 5-0 down I had nothing to lose. I thought at that point that it might even be a little bit embarrassing, I was so disappointed after losing the Commonwealth Games final to Nicol and was thinking on the way here that I just didn’t want that to happen again, so I think I just relaxed at that point.


Laura Massaro powers her way forward
Laura Massaro powers her way forward

“I was getting a better length and putting her short a little bit more. I wanted to live and die on my own sword, if I’m going down then I’m going down fighting, being positive and attacking and then that ended up making the difference.

“I’ve put in a shed load of fitness work, I wasn’t feeling particularly tired, not like I’ve done in the past. It felt like it was whoever held their nerve at the end. I’ve got good mental freshness from the break that I’ve had and I always have belief when I play against Nicol.

“It’s huge to be in the British Open final. That’s three finals in three years so regardless of what happens tomorrow I’m really proud of that.”

Massaro was cheered on by a capacity crowd at the Airco Arena in Hull and thanked the crowd for their support in her post-match interview.

“It’s so nice for the English players to play in front of a home crowd, especially because it doesn’t happen that often.

“When I won that fourth game and everyone just roared it shocked me a bit, so you come on fighting for them and every time you get a roar it lifts me and it puts her down. I know how that feels having been on the reverse of it in Malaysia and Egypt,” added Massaro.

Nicol David praised her opponent afterwards, saying: “She found her composure and didn’t make many mistakes in the last couple of games, kept it really tight and took her opportunities when they were there. There’s no fear for her playing me, she has nothing to lose. I have to be the one to step up my game now.”

Massaro faces Camille Serme in tomorrow’s final after she made history in Hull by becoming the first French woman to ever reach the final of this historic tournament.

Camille said: “I used a lot of energy yesterday so today it was good that I won 3-0 and hopefully I’ve saved some energy for tomorrow.

“It’s the first time I’ve ever reached a British Open final so I really want to do well. I’ve heard it’s the first time a French woman has ever been in a British Open final, so I’m really happy and proud.

“In France we don’t really speak about squash and even less about women’s squash, so every time I go out on court I want to do well so the media can talk about us.”

Allam British Open, Hull, England.

Women’s Semi Final Results:
[6] Camille Serme (FRA) bt [Q] Delia Arnold (MAS) 11/3, 11/7, 11/6 (32m)
[3] Laura Massaro (ENG) bt [1] Nicol David (MAS) 5/11, 9/11, 11/9, 12/10, 11/8 (77m)

Women’s Final (Sun 17 May)
15:00 [6] Camille Serme (FRA) v [3] Laura Massaro (ENG)

Pictures by STEVE LINE www.squashpics.com


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