Champ Laura plotting a repeat win but knows Nicol David will be tough
By HOWARD HARDING – Special correspondent
The world’s top two women squash players are expected to go head-to-head in the final of the Allam British Open for the second year in a row when the 2014 edition of the sport’s most historic championship reaches its climax at the Sports Arena in Hull next Sunday.
Massaro, the world No2 from Preston, upset the form book 12 months ago in Humberside when she beat defending and four-time champion Nicol David to become England’s first winner of the title for 22 years. Malaysian David has dominated the women’s game for the past eight years, this month celebrating her 94th successive month as world number one since August 2006.
Massaro went on to strengthen her claim as the 30-year-old from Penang’s biggest threat when she won the Women’s Squash Association’s World Championship in David’s home town in March to bring the sport’s premier trophy back to England after a 15-year absence.
“The British will be really special this year,” said Massaro, bidding to become the first home player to defend the title since 1959. “Returning as defending champion will be a nice feeling.
“I’ve tried to keep my training the same as it has been for the last few events,” added the 30-year-old. “No need to change a formula that has been working.
“However, I am fully aware of how hard it is to win the British Open once – let alone twice – so I will take it round by round and see how it goes. If I am lucky enough to win the title again it will be a career-high for me for sure.”
David admits to working harder this year to reclaim the title, which is in its third year of title-sponsorship by Hull-based Allam Marine, founded by Egyptian Dr Allam.
“The players and myself especially are glad that we can compete in the prestigious British Open annually again with the support of Dr Allam seeing this through these three years while having us back in Hull,” said the top-seeded Malaysian. “He has even raised the prize money for the Women’s event too.
“This has given me more of a reason to work harder for this year and I am already looking forward to starting off the tournament.
“Just to be part of the British Open is a privilege for me,” added David. “It’ll be such a bonus if everything falls into place coming into this week competing with top class squash players to take this title.
“Winning my first British Open in 2005 was such a battle at every round and once I won that title, it hit me just how significant it was being a British Open champion.
“It spurred me on to keep winning more since that very moment – an experience that is difficult to describe but an unforgettable one.”
David will face a qualifier in the opening round while, for the second year in a row, Massaro will begin her campaign against Joey Chan of Hong Kong.
The WSA World Series Platinum championship gets underway at the University of Hull Sports and Fitness Centre on Tuesday (13 May) before moving to The Sports Arena in Hull from the second round, through to the final on Sunday (18 May).
1st round draw:
 Nicol David (MAS) v Qualifier
 Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) v Line Hansen (DEN)
 Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) v Qualifier
 Camille Serme (FRA) v Nour El Tayeb (EGY)
 Alison Waters (ENG) v Qualifier
 Dipika Pallikal (IND) v Qualifier
 Rachael Grinham (AUS) v Joshana Chinappa (IND)
 Joelle King (NZL) v Qualifier
 Raneem El Welily (EGY) v Qualifier
 Kasey Brown (AUS) v [WC] Emily Whitlock (ENG)
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) v Emma Beddoes (ENG)
 Low Wee Wern (MAS) v Qualifier
 Madeline Perry (IRL) v Nicolette Fernandes (GUY)
 Jenny Duncalf (ENG) v Sarah Kippax (ENG)
 Annie Au (HKG) v Qualifier
 Laura Massaro (ENG) v Joey Chan (HKG)
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