Sensational Serme Becomes First French British Open Champion
Camille Serme pulled off the biggest win of her life when she beat
higher-ranked Laura Massaro, the 2013 champion from England, in
today’s final of the Allam British Open Squash Championships to
become the first French winner of the title in the world famous
event’s 93-year history.
In her maiden appearance in the climax of the WSA World Series event
at the Airco Arena in the English city of Hull, sixth seed Serme
started the match at a ferocious pace, making it difficult for
three-time finalist Massaro to get in front of her opponent.
At two games down, the English former World Champion fought back to
reduce the deficit to give herself a glimmer of hope - but Serme
regained the upper hand in the fourth to close out the match 11-3,
11-5, 8-11, 11-8 after 51 minutes.
The triumph marked Serme’s first WSA World Series title – with a
prize fund more than four times that of her previous biggest title -
and the ninth World Tour title of her career.
felt really relaxed out there,” said the ecstatic 26-year-old from
Creteil afterwards. “I was focusing so much on my tactics, volleying
as much as I could and play my attacking game. She came back
strongly in the third game but then in the fourth I went back to my
tactics and I managed to do it on the important points.
“It’s an amazing feeling, I’m so happy. I’ve worked so hard for that
win and I still can’t believe it. I think I’ll only realise it in a
few days once I’m back at home with my family and boyfriend. I’ve
had so much support from everyone throughout my career that I’m
going to enjoy sharing my joy with them,” added world No.6 Serme.
A disappointed Massaro – who reached the final after recovering from
2/0 down to upset title-holder and favourite Nicol David in the
previous round - praised her conqueror after the match but said that
she was proud of her effort in reaching her third Allam British Open
final in a row, becoming the first Englishwoman since 1967 to
achieve this notable feat.
Her run of form came immediately after a two-month break from the
sport – taken after considering retirement earlier in the season
when feeling mentally and physically fatigued.
“I’m disappointed but I’m proud of my week - I don’t feel like I
really could have given it much more out there,” said the dejected
world No.4 from Preston. “It was a really big win yesterday beating
Nicol and obviously that match just took a little bit too much out
of me. It was 75-80 minutes and it proved to be a little bit too far
with Camille being as fresh as she was.”
Serme & Massaro To Contest
Surprise British Open Final
third seed Laura Massaro and France's No.6 seed Camille Serme will
provide an unexpected line-up in Sunday's women's final of the Allam
British Open Squash Championships after dramatic encounters in
today's semi-finals of the WSA World Series event at the Airco Arena
in the English city of Hull.
Massaro, the 2013 champion from Preston who took a two-month break
before beginning her 2015 campaign, becomes the first Englishwoman
to reach a third successive British Open final since 1967 after
pulling off a remarkable upset over defending champion Nicol David,
the world No.1 from Malaysia bidding for a sixth title.
fought back from two games down and 5-0 behind in the third game -
then saved a match-ball in the fourth before securing a sensational
5-11, 9-11, 11-9, 12-10, 11-8 triumph in an epic 77 minutes.
"I just thought at two games down and 5-0 down I had nothing to
lose," said a delighted Massaro, who lost out to David in the 2014
final. "I thought at that point that it might even be a little bit
embarrassing, I was so disappointed after the Commonwealth Games
final 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.
"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
Massaro was cheered on by a capacity crowd at the Airco Arena 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.
David, denied an appearance in her 100th WSA World Tour final,
praised her opponent afterwards: "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."
faces Serme in Sunday's final after the 26-year-old from Creteil
made history in Hull by becoming the first French woman to ever
reach the final of the prestigious event.
Serme stopped Malaysian qualifier Delia Arnold, beating the Kuala
Lumpur-born 29-year-old 11-3, 11-7, 11-6 in 32 minutes.
"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," said Serme
"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."
Arnold & David Set Up Historic
Malaysian British Open Semis
victories by qualifier Delia Arnold and top seed Nicol
David in today’s women’s quarter-finals of the Allam British
Open Squash Championships mean that there will be two Malaysians
in the semi-finals for the first time in the 93-year history of the
WSA World Series event at the Airco Arena in the
English city of Hull.
Arnold wrote the latest chapter in an
incredible run in Hull when she twice came from behind, then
survived a tense tie-break decider to upset Egypt’s No.2 seed
Raneem El Welily 4-11, 16-14, 10-12, 11-6, 12-10 in 68 minutes.
A semi-finalist in all three of her
previous appearances in the world-renowned event, world No.2 El
Welily was strongly fancied to make the final for the first time
after winning two Tour titles in three events before arriving in the
But Arnold, the 29-year-old Malaysian
No.3, has been playing the best squash of her life this week. After
surviving two rounds of qualifiers, the Kuala Lumpur-born world
No.29 went on to despatch fifth seed Alison Waters then 11th
seed Annie Au before claiming the biggest scalp of her career
in El Welily.
never thought I would reach the semi-finals of the British Open,”
said an overwhelmed Arnold afterwards. “It
was mentally exhausting but I kept telling myself I could do it and
to hang in there and be patient with her and it worked.
“I’m just really surprised -
hopefully I’ll just keep on going!”
Arnold will now face Camille Serme,
the sixth seed who pulled off the day’s first shock when she beat
No.4 seed Nour El Sherbini, the 2012 runner-up from Egypt,6-11, 11-7, 7-11, 11-9, 11-9 in 66 minutes.
The stunning win sees the 26-year-old
from Creteil become the first French player to make the last four
since 2008 – and only the second of all-time.
David faced rising English star
Sarah-Jane Perry, the 13th seed from Kenilworth appearing in the
event’s quarter-finals for the first time. Underdog Perry
established significant leads in both the second and third games,
but five-time British Open champion David fought back to come away
unscathed in straight games, winning 11-6, 11-8, 12-10 in 47
“Sarah-Jane is such a tough and talented player to be up against so
I'm really pleased to have won in three games,” said
the 31-year-old Malaysian, now just a single win away from a
remarkable 100th WSA World Tour final appearance.
“When I'm down a few points I just
don't want to ever let go so I keep pushing.
“It’s incredible that Malaysia have
two players in the semi finals of a tournament as prestigious as the
British Open so it will be really interesting to see how we both get
will now face English rival Laura Massaro in a repeat of the
2013 and 2014 finals. Despite just returning to the Tour after a
two-month break, Massaro looked in impressive form – brushing aside
New Zealand’s Joelle King, playing her first tournament since
rupturing her Achilles last August,11-6, 11-2, 11-7 in 33
“That win means a lot to me - to make the final last year and win it
the year before is such a great experience, I desperately wanted to
make the semis this year and go further if I can,”
said the No.3 seed from Preston. “I love
coming back to Hull, I feel like I’m at home here.”
Perry & Massaro Take Home Interest Into British Open
Former champion Laura Massaro and 13th seed Sarah-Jane
Perry have ensured home interest in the women's quarter-finals
of the Allam British Open Squash Championships after
four-game victories in today's second round of the WSA World
Series event at the Airco Arena in the English city of
Avenging a shock defeat by left-hander Donna Urquhart only
seven days ago, world No.14 Perry beat the Australian qualifier
11-5, 11-7, 7-11, 11-6 in 40 minutes.
was in last week's quarter-finals of the CourtCare Open in
Lancashire that favourite Perry made a surprise exit courtesy of
Urquhart, the former world No.13 making a return to competitive
action after foot surgery last year.
the all-glass court in Hull, Birmingham-born Perry (pictured above,
right, with Urquhart) notched up the first two games comfortably
before Urquhart surged back in the third game and forced the England
international to find an extra gear.
thought I played pretty well,"
said the Kenilworth-based British National champion who will play
her first British Open quarter-final on her 25th birthday.
"It got a little bit edgy in the middle, a few
errors but managed to rein it in. She kept me fighting so I was
pretty pleased to win that last rally. I'm playing well, I hit the
ball well. I love that court.
was seeded to get to this round today, so anything else is a bonus
really, I'm really pleased to get through to tomorrow, and we'll see
firstly who I'm playing and then just go out there tomorrow, give it
my best shot. It's my birthday so I've got to enjoy myself."
the first match of the evening session, third seed Laura Massaro
joined her England team-mate in the last eight after seeing off
Egyptian prospect Nouran Gohar in four games. The 17-year-old
from Cairo was making her second successive appearance in the
championship - but 31-year-old Massaro's experience ultimately
proved to be the decisive factor as the 2013 champion powered her
way through to the quarters after a solid 11-9, 11-9, 8-11, 11-1
victory in 48 minutes.
think one of the strengths of my game is that I can play the big
points well - I would always back myself to win those - and I'm glad
I was able to show that tonight,"
said the Lancashire lass from Preston who two years ago became the
first English winner of the women's title since 1991.
"But Nouran is definitely a talent for the future,"
added Massaro (pictured above, left, with Gohar), the
"Becoming the first English winner of the title for 22 years two
years ago was very special for me. And the crowd almost carried me
over the finishing line in last year's final!"
Perry will now face top seed Nicol David for a place in the
semi-finals. The defending champion from Malaysia took one step
closer to a sixth title in 11 years when she beat England's Emma
Beddoes 11-9, 9-11, 11-8, 11-5.
Massaro's opponent will be 10th seed Joelle King, the former
world No.4 from New Zealand who is playing her first Tour event
since rupturing her Achilles last August. The 26-year-old has been
in sparkling form in Hull - securing her second successive straight
games victory with a 28-minute 11-5, 11-7, 11-2 victory over England
wild card Victoria Lust.
Delia Delivers Upset No.2 To Reach British Open
Malaysia's Delia Arnold recorded a sensational second
successive upset in the Allam British Open Squash Championships
- and became the first qualifier to reach the quarter-finals of the
WSA World Series event in Hull - when she beat Hong
Kong's No.11 seed Annie Au in her 'best ever' result in
today's second round clash on the all-glass court at the
Just 24 hours after ousting England's fifth seed Alison Waters,
Malaysian number three Arnold, ranked 29 in the world, recovered
from a game down to beat the Hong Kong No.1 - ranked 18 places
higher - 7-11, 11-8, 12-10, 11-9 in 53 minutes to reach the
world-renowned event's quarter-finals for the first time.
"That's definitely the best result of my career," said the
29-year-old from Selangor (pictured above, right, with Au)
afterwards. "I'm really happy to be in the quarter finals of one of
the biggest events in the world - the squash has been great for me
so far so I just have to keep the momentum going.
"Squash originates in England so it's amazing to be in the British
Open quarter finals.
"My main goal today was to stay focused, be patient and keep the
rallies going and try not to make any errors - so I think I did
pretty well today."
Arnold now has a tough task on her hands when she takes on world
No.2 Raneem El Welily on Friday for a place in the
semi-finals. The second seed ended fellow Egyptian Yathreb Adel's
golden run when she beat the 19-year-old qualifier from Cairo - the
reigning British Universities champion - 11-5, 11-5, 12-10.
India's hopes of a first ever women's quarter-finalist were dashed
by Camille Serme when the sixth seed from France cruised to
an 11-5, 11-3, 11-2 victory in just 26 minutes over Dipika
Pallikal, the No.9 seed from Chennai.
Serme, the world No.6 from Creteil, will now line up against Egypt's
fourth seed Nour El Sherbini. Runner-up in 2012, the
19-year-old from Alexandria ended South African interest in the
event when she defeated Cape Town-based qualifier Siyoli Waters
11-2, 11-8, 11-5.
Qualifiers excelled on the opening day of women's action in the
Allam British Open Squash Championships as five seeds bit the
dust in a series of major upsets in the WSA World Series
event in Hull.
Born just a month before 12th seed Rachael Grinham made her
debut in the event in 1996, Egyptian qualifier Yathreb Adel
caused one of the biggest shocks when she despatched the four-time
former champion from Australia in four games.
Grinham was celebrating a remarkable 18th successive appearance in
the world-renowned championships. Despite losing in the first round
in 1996, the 38-year-old former world number one from Queensland
went on to reach the final five times and win the title in 2003,
2004, 2007 and 2009. Only last year, the former world champion won a
Commonwealth Games gold medal in Glasgow - and two months ago
in Canada notched up her 70th WSA World Tour final appearance.
But the day belonged to Adel, the 19-year-old world No.35 from Cairo
who is a first-year student at Roehampton University in London.
Defying a 3/0 defeat in their previous meeting, Adel put in a
commanding performance to defeat Grinham 11-9, 11-5, 12-14, 11-8 in
39 minutes to claim an unexpected place in the second round in her
maiden appearance in the event.
"Great match against Rach today,"
tweeted Adel to her loyal followers.
"Pleased to get through and really looking forward to my next match
The teenager's breakthrough win was followed by four further
stunning triumphs by qualifiers, together with a shock victory by
English wild card Victoria Lust. The 26-year-old from
Cheltenham's career has taken a notable leap forward since
relocating to British Columbia in Canada.
her maiden appearance in the event, it took Lust just 35 minutes to
dismiss Omneya Abdel Kawy, the No.8 seed from Egypt who has
made the quarter-finals on three occasions, 11-4, 11-8, 13-11.
her first meeting with the former world No.2 from England, South
African qualifier Siyoli Waters beat 15th seed Jenny
Duncalf - runner-up in 2008 - 11-6, 7-11, 11-8, 0-11, 16-14 in
The day's biggest scalp was taken by Malaysian qualifier Delia
Arnold, who ousted England's fifth seed Alison Waters - a
semi-finalist for the past two years - 11-8, 11-5, 11-4 in just 35
"There was no pressure on me, especially after coming from two-nil
down yesterday, so I'm delighted,"
said the jubilant 29-year-old from Selangor who is now in the second
round for the first time in four appearances.
Much was expected of rising Egyptian star Nour El Tayeb, the
22-year-old from Cairo who has leapt to No.5 from outside the world
top 20 in less than a year. But the seventh seed tumbled 5-11, 11-7,
12-10, 7-11, 11-5 to qualifier Donna Urquhart, the Australian
left-hander who is fighting back to top form after undergoing foot
surgery late last year.
But Malaysian super star Nicol David eased her way into the
second round despite dropping a game to Welsh qualifier Tesni
Evans on the all-glass court at the Airco Arena. The world No.1
from Penang is seeded to reach the 100th WSA World Tour final of her
career in Hull - and win her sixth British Open title since 2005.
After winning the first two games comfortably, David (pictured above
with Evans) allowed Evans back into the game in the third as the
Welsh champion reduced the deficit. But the top seed kept her focus
in the fourth to close out the match 11-2, 11-4, 7-11, 11-9.
David will now meet England's Emma Beddoes after the 14th
seed was handed a walkover when 2005 runner-up Natalie Grinham,
the former world No.2 from the Netherlands, was forced to withdraw
due to illness.
England's third seed Laura Massaro made a welcome return to
competitive action by securing her place in the second round.
Champion in 2013 and runner-up last year, the world No.4 from
Preston was playing her first Tour event since taking a two-month
break from the sport.
Massaro faced India's world No.24 Joshana Chinappa - and
after honours were shared in two tie-break games, Massaro dug deep
to clinch the match 13-11, 11-13, 11-8, 11-7 after 50 minutes.
"Obviously I was a little bit nervous coming in because of the lack
of competitive squash I've played,"
said the 31-year-old former World Champion (pictured above with
Chinappa). "Maybe more so because I don't
really know exactly how I'm playing and what to expect. I know that
I feel hungry again to be on court and that's exciting.
"Before my break I didn't feel like the normal me but now I feel
back to my usual self which was what the break was designed to do. I
don't think as a professional athlete you can ever go in and think
I'm so lucky to be here because you want to win all the time - that
does bring nerves and expectation by other people.
"Although I want to enjoy it more there's still a bit of pressure to
Tesni Boosts Home Interest In Women's British Open
Welsh champion Tesni Evans has boosted home interest in the
women's draw of this week's Allam British Open Squash
Championships after leading eight players from eight countries
to success in today's dramatic qualifying finals of the WSA World
Series event in Hull.
Evans, the world No.31 from Rhyl, ensured herself a place in the
main draw of the world-renowned event for the second year in a row
after recovering from a game down to beat Belgian teenager Nele
Gilis 3-11, 11-4, 11-2, 11-8 in 54 minutes.
Evans will now face the toughest possible test in the first round
where the Cardiff-born 22-year-old has been drawn to face Nicol
David, the defending champion from Malaysia who is seeded to win
the title for the sixth time since 2005.
Teenagers Sabrina Sobhy and Yathreb Adel will both be
celebrating their British Open debuts after qualifying successes.
Sobhy, a 19-year-old from New York, provided unexpected US interest
in the main draw after upsetting higher-ranked Misaki Kobayashi,
the world No.37 from Japan, 12-10, 11-8, 11-9.
"I'm thrilled and surprised,"
admitted the soon-to-be High School senior later.
"I didn't think that was going to happen!"
Adel, a 19-year-old UK-based Egyptian, was taken the full distance
before overcoming England's 23-year-old Millie Tomlinson
11-7, 5-11, 5-11, 11-6, 15-13 in 75 minutes.
Malaysia's Delia Arnold had to fight back from 2/0 down to
beat experienced Irish opponent Aisling Blake 8-11, 6-11,
11-4, 11-5, 11-5 in 63 minutes, while another intense five-game
battle saw South African champion Siyoli Waters claim a place
in the main draw after beating USA number two Olivia Blatchford
11-6, 15-17, 4-11, 11-9, 11-9 in just over one hour.
Canadian champion Samantha Cornett will make her fourth
successive appearance in the first round after defeating England's
European Junior Champion Georgina Kennedy 11-6, 11-5, 11-9.
a former world No.13 from New South Wales who is playing her way
back onto the Tour after foot surgery last year, doubled the
Australian interest in the main draw when she beat Welsh opponent
Deon Saffery 11-9, 11-6, 11-9.
Denmark's world No.28 Line Hansen became the highest-ranked
player to qualify after seeing off France's Coline Aumard
12-10, 11-5, 11-5.