Nicol David will face Laura Massaro in the Cleveland Classic final, to try and win one of the few titles that eluded her in 2011.
Yesterday, at the WSA Gold $50k event semi finals, home-hope Amanda Sobhy’s title challenge came to an end at the hand of Englishwoman Laura Massaro. The first year Harvard student has impressed all week, but extra level of pace and accuracy demonstrated by the English No2 put paid to an otherwise valiant effort from the teenager.
Massaro was near flawless with her width, putting in tight, clinical lengths to demonstrate her determination at defending the title she claimed last year.
Soby’s counter-attacking efforts were sparse, such was the pressure she was under and often her point scoring opportunities were limited to the choice between hitting an outright winner or risk hitting a loose shot.
A focussed display all round from Massaro who reaches her 18th WSA tour final.
Next Malaysian world champion Nicol David took on Northern Ireland’s Madeline Perry in what was billed as a far from foregone conclusion. However, from the outset David looked every bit the world No1. She was patient but ruthless in attach. Establishing good length, she moved the experienced Perry from corner to corner, calmly waiting for the opportunity to go for the kill, which was regularly executed with expert precision.
Perry looked outmatched and out of sorts, dropping the first game without much contention. In the second David was more content to extend the rallies but remained flawless, soaring to a 9-1 lead. Perhaps sensing she had nothing to lose, Perry ramped up the attack with three winners in quick succession, but David then made quick work of two loose balls to close out the game 11-4.
In the third Perry maintained the aggressive play. Though the game would go decisively to David, 11-6, viewers were treated to long, fast-paced points, with Perry executing well but David covering the court even better, time and again catching up to apparent winners and returning them with interest.
The final will doubtlessly be a hotly contested affair, with one player looking to retain the title and the other looking revenge for last year’s failure. If Massaro can retain her Cleveland title then it will be her tenth WSA win, if David wins then she’ll be adding WSA title number 59 to the vast collection.
Cleveland Classic 2012 final: Nicol David (MAS) vs  Laura Massaro (ENG)
Semi-finals: Nicol David (MAS) bt  Madeline Perry (IRL) 11-3, 11-4, 11-6 (31m)  Laura Massaro (ENG) bt Amanda Sobhy (USA) 11-9, 11-5, 11-6 (28m)