Laura Massaro proud to slug it out for win over Nicol David at PSA World Series Finals in Dubai

English player overcomes former world No 1 David to virtually secure her place in the semi-finals at Burj Park in Dubai, reports Ahmed Rizvi.

Nicol David of Malaysia, left, compete against England’s Laura Massaro during Day 2 of the PSA World Series Finals. Francois Nel / Getty Imageas
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DUBAI // They had many a grand battle at their peaks, when Nicol David was the undisputed queen of women’s squash and Laura Massaro the in-your-face challenger.

On Wednesday night, they put up another splendid show, running each other exhausted before Massaro eventually emerged victorious.

David, who reigned at No 1 in the rankings for a record 109 months, had her chances in the deciding game as she raced to a 6-3 lead, but Massaro then won the next six points on the trot to win the match 11-7, 8-11, 11-7 after 49 minutes of thrilling squash.

“I’m just happy to get through and somehow, somehow, I don’t even know how, I ended up winning that in the end,” said Massaro, the top women’s seed at the tournament. “At 6-3, I just thought, ‘Just get some points on the board for the points average’.

“Literally, that’s what I thought – try to get back to 5-6, 6-6, get up a little bit in this game. When I did that, I think it just gave me a bit of confidence to sort of push on a little bit. It’s just mental, isn’t it … what goes through your head at that point.

“So yeah, I am just really proud of myself mentally more than anything else in the end because those rallies were so tough and so easy to just give in.”

See also:

• Q&A: World No 2 Laura Massaro looking to make amends at PSA World Series Finals in Dubai

• Ahmed Rizvi: World No 1 Nour El Sherbini suffers opening defeat at PSA World Series Finals in Dubai

• Dates, location, line-up and ticket info: All you need to know about PSA Dubai World Series Finals

This win, her second in two matches, virtually assures Massaro of her place in the semi-final, but David’s fate now hangs by the thread.

Winner of the title in the both the women’s World Series Finals that have been held until now, the Malaysian now needs to beat world junior champion Nouran Gohar in her final round-robin match today and hope the other group results fall in her favour.

It is a straightforward equation for world champion and No 1 Nour El Sherbini in Group B, though.

The Egyptian, who lost to compatriot Raneem El Welily on Tuesday, needs to beat Frenchwoman Camille Serme in her final group match on Thursday.

The winner of the match – El Sherbini or Serme – will join El Welily in the semis.

El Welily booked her place in the last four with a battling 9-11, 12-10, 11-9 win over Serme on Wednesday.

“It’s another important match for me – it’s going to decided whether I am in or not,” said El Sherbini, who trounced her Egyptian compatriot Omneya Abdel Kawy 11-4, 11-8 in a mere 14 minutes on Wednesday to keep her qualification hopes alive.

El Sherbini has won her last two matches against Serme, but lost to her in the quarter-finals of both the US Open and British Open in 2015.

“We’ve always had tough matches against each other, so I am just going to go out and do my best,” the Egyptian said.

On the men’s side, Gregory Gaultier has booked his place in the last four from Group B with a 11-3, 11-1 over Cameron Pilley, along with world No 1 Mohamed Elshorbagy, who defeated Colombian showman Miguel Angel Rodriguez 11-8, 11-9 for his second win in two matches.

That win alone, however, was not enough for Elshorbagy to book his place in the last four – the confirmation came later when the three-time world champion Nick Matthew lost 12-10, 11-6 to Mathieu Castagnet.

It was Matthew’s second loss in two Group A matches and rules him out of contention, which means the second semi-final spot from the group will be decided by Thursday’s Castagnet-Rodriguez clash. In Group B, the winner of the match between Pilley and Simon Rosner will follow Gaultier into the semis.

The women’s Group A is, however, still open following Amandy Sobhy’s 8-11, 11-5, 11-7 win over Nouran Gohar in the late match.

arizvi@thenational.ae

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