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WSA: Massaro meets David in World Open final

Alan Thatcherhttps://squashmad.com
Founder of World Squash Day, Squash Mad and the new Squash 200 Partnership, building clubs of the future. Founder of the Kent Open and co-promoter of the St. James's Place Canary Wharf Classic. Author and Public Speaker.

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Laura Massaro celebrates victory. Pictures by STEVE CUBBINS courtesy of www.squashsite.co.uk

Cayman World Open 2012 presented by BDO
Thu 20th December, Semi-Finals:

[3] Laura Massaro (Eng) 3-2 [2] Raneem El Weleily (Egy)  5/11, 11/9, 12/14, 11/4, 13/11 (69m)
[1] Nicol David (Mas) 3-0 [6] Jenny Duncalf (Eng)  11/7, 11/4, 11/2 (37m)

Massaro wins a thriller as David beats Duncalf again

It was down to the final four in the Cayman World Open, with the world’s top three ranked players – Nicol David, Raneem El Weleily and Laura Massaro – joined by Jenny Duncalf who was a fixture at number two until recently.

Massaro edged past Weleily in a 13/11 in the fifth thriller to reach her first World Open final, while six-time champion Nicol David went through to yet another final with a repeat of last year’s straight-game final victory against Duncalf.
Massaro makes the final

From STEVE CUBBINS
Phew what a thriller! Not that the opening game gave any indication of what the finish would be like, as Raneem El Weleily, after going 4-0 down in about a minute, found her shots and raced through to take the first game 11/5.

The pace had been slow, and Laura Massaro had been subdued, no “CMON” tonight.

That changed, as did the match, from the outset of the second game as the rallies became longer and the play more determined. Massaro’s “CMONS”s started to appear, as she worked her way back into the match, a big one as she reached game ball before levelling the match 11/9.

The Englishwoman was hanging in during the third game though, always behind but digging in to recover from 10-6 down only to lose it 14/12 with two volleys that just clipped the tin.

Massaro was dominant in the fourth for 11/4 setting up a decider that couldn’t have been closer. By now Raneem was joining in with the fist-pumps and “CMON”s, they both wanted it, clearly.

Massaro got to match ball first, thought she’d won it on a stroke (so did we behind the front wall) only for the video ref to agree with the “yes let” decision.

Raneem had her chance at 11-10 as Laura tinned an easy dropshot, but couldn’t get across to Laura’s next crosscourt for 11-all.

A well worked rally forced Raneem to lob out, and another forced a rushed dropshot  that was too low and a delighted Englishwoman was in the final.

“We’ve been taking turns at winning and swapping in the rankings all year, so it’s fitting that there was just a couple of points between us in the whole match,” said an emotional Massaro. “You always know with Raneem there are going to be patches where she hits winners, you just have to hang in and come through them.

“It feels great to reach the World Open final, I’m so happy!”

“Now it’s all about getting the right preparation for tomorrow. I haven’t been to swim with the dolphins yet, it looks like my husband Danny will have to go on his own now!”

It’s Nicol again

Next up, in a repeat of last year’s final, was Nicol David against another Englishwoman, Jenny Duncalf.

David had scored 11 unanswered points to finish of that match, their last, so it must have been a weight off Duncalf’s mind when she took the third point of the night. She continued to take them too, and looked to be playing well, moving smoothly, and making David work for everything.

Nicol David hunts the ball down against Jenny Duncalf. Picture by STEVE CUBBINS

The Malaysian doesn’t mind work of course, and she buckled down to her task, maintaining the lead although Duncalf closed to 5-4, and 8-7. Three points in a row put David into the lead 11/7 and Duncalf’s task began to look as daunting as it did on paper.

The Malaysian dominated the next two games as Duncalf’s belief slowly drained. 7-1 in the second became 11-4, and although the Englishwoman took a 2-0 lead in the third Nicol once again reeled off eleven in a row with Jenny barely contesting the last few.

So it’s yet another final for Nicol, against a very determined Englishwoman in her first. Should be fun.

“Jenny was playing some great shots at the start, I just couldn’t tell where the ball was going next and I wasn’t able to play my own game,” said Nicol.

“I really had to up my game to stay in it, and thankfully I got it all together as the match wore on.

“It’s great to be in another final here, especially the World Open! Laura and I both know we have to step up our games for tomorrow, so it should be a great battle.”

Full coverage on the official site: www.worldopensquash.com  by SquashSite

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