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Laura Lands Monte Carlo Jackpot

Monte Carlo Classic 2008
Monaco, 14-19 Dec, $25k
Round One
[1] Rachael Grinham (Aus)
11/8, 11/8, 11/6 (19m)
[Q] Célia Allamargot
Rachael Grinham
11/8 11/9 11/7 (30m)
Tania Bailey (Ang)
Rachael Grinham
11-5, 11-3, 12-10 (26m)
Isabelle Stoehr
Rachael Grinham

11-7, 11-9, 9-11, 7-11, 11-9 (66m)
Laura L. Massaro

[5] Tania Bailey (Ang)
11/3, 11/3, 11/6 (20m)
[Q] Kylie Lindsay (Nzl)
[4] Isabelle Stoehr
13/11, 11/8, 11/8 (32mn)
Line Hansen (Den)
Isabelle Stoehr
Annelize Naude
[7] Annelize Naude (Ned)
11/8, 11/9, 11/8 (25m)
[Q] Fiona Moverly (Ang)
Lauren Siddall (Eng)
11/1, 11/9, 11/5 (26m)
[6] Engy Kheirallah (Egy)
Engy Kheirallah
11/8 11/4 11/9 (30m)
Vanessa Atkinson
Vanessa Atkinson
11-3, 11-4, 11-8 (27m)
Laura L. Massaro
Laura Hill (Eng)
11/5, 11/4, 11/8 (21m)
[3] Vanessa Atkinson (Ned)
Camille Serme
12/10, 18/16, 9/11, 11/8
[8] Dominique Lloyd-Walter (Eng)
Camille Serme
7/11 11/7 11/6 9/11 12/10 (46m)
Laura L. Massaro
[Q] Adel Weir
11/1, 11/4, 11/4 (18m)
[2] Laura L. Massaro (Ang)

Laura Lands Monte Carlo Jackpot


England's Laura Lengthorn-Massaro recorded the best win of her career when she upset Australia's world No3 Rachael Grinham in the final of the Women's Monte Carlo Classic to clinch - for the first time - the $25,300 WISPA World Tour squash event in its 13th year at Stade Louis II in Monte Carlo in Monaco.


Despite leading in both games, top seed Grinham soon found herself 2/0 down as Lengthorn-Massaro, the second seed from Preston in Lancashire, looked set to cause a swift upset.


But the packed crowd at the Stade Louis II sports centre - including guest of honour His Serene Highness Prince Albert, a long-time squash enthusiast - were delighted as Grinham powered back to level the match, then move forward to seven-all in the decider.


However, Lengthorn-Massaro maintained her composure to win 11-7, 11-9, 9-11, 7-11, 11-9 after 66 minutes, thus ending a seven-match losing streak to the Queenslander since their first clash in 2004.


Prince Albert, one of the International Olympic Committee members who will be evaluating the squash bid for a place on the Olympic Games programme in 2016, entered to present the Classic trophy, and commented how much he had enjoyed the match.


Runner-up Grinham was surprisingly upbeat:  "When it finished I wasn’t actually disappointed as I did play well.  It wasn’t that I could have played better.  I was hitting well and getting a lot back.  It was just a shame that I couldn’t take at least one of the first two games as I was leading in both.


"I don’t think that we could have had a better match for Prince Albert," added the former world number one.


The new champion was understandably all smiles:  "I just wanted to play similarly to the way I did yesterday.  It’s easier said than done, but I just tried to play the best I could.  I knew I would have to run as much as I could to get close to Rachael.


"This was a big win for me as I hadn’t beaten any of the top three. I am now really looking forward to January!"


Rachael & Laura In Monte Carlo Final


The top two seeds Rachael Grinham and Laura Lengthorn-Massaro will contest the final of the Women's Monte Carlo Classic after straight games triumphs in the semi-finals of the $25,300 WISPA World Tour squash event in its 13th year at Stade Louis II in Monte Carlo in Monaco.


Favourite Grinham, the world No3 from Australia who is celebrating her second successive appearance in the final, took just 26 minutes to despatch France's fourth seed Isabelle Stoehr 11-5, 11-3, 12-10.


"I felt really good again," said Grinham afterwards. "And with Isabelle making a few unusual errors it was a good combo for me.  I have had some hard matches with her and she can be really dangerous, but she made it a bit easier for me today."


Stoehr agreed:  "I didn’t find any length today and she was controlling me," said the world No12 from Montpellier.  "She is really good even when it is tight so you can imagine when it was in the middle!"


The other semi saw Lengthorn-Massaro, the second seed from England, take on third seed Vanessa Atkinson, the former world number one from the Netherlands who was the Monte Carlo champion in 2005.  The higher-ranked English player made up for a lack-lustre performance in the quarter-finals to claim a convincing 11-3, 11-4, 11-8 victory in 27 minutes.


A downcast Atkinson said later:  "For the first half of the opening game I just thought that I needed to wake up.  I felt heavy and my body was not reacting to the pace.  It was the opposite of yesterday, and she didn’t give me a chance to recover."


Lengthorn-Massaro, celebrating her first appearance in the Monaco final, acknowledged a different approach in the semi-final:  "I was probably a bit too relaxed yesterday.  Today I was focussed in my head but relaxed on the ball.  I was really sharp, volleying well and finishing; it was probably the best that I have played for a while."


Laura Tested In Monte Carlo Quarters


After producing the only upset in the first round of the Women's Monte Carlo Classic, unseeded Camille Serme looked on course to add a second scalp to her collection when she had a match-ball against second seed Laura Lengthorn-Massaro in the quarter-finals of the $25,300 WISPA World Tour squash event in its 13th year at Stade Louis II in Monte Carlo in Monaco.


Serme, the three-time European Junior champion from Creteil, led after the first game – then took the fourth to force the match into a fifth game decider.  At 5-8 down, Lengthorn-Massaro took the next four points to lead 9-8.  But Serme stretched herself to claim a match-ball at 10-9 before the experienced Lengthorn-Massaro, ranked eight in the world, restored her advantage to win 7-11, 11-7, 11-6, 9-11, 12-10 in 46 minutes.


The relieved winner said that she had felt a little flat, but was full of praise for her opponent:  “Camille has improved a lot since I played her last time.  I learnt a lot for the next time!  When she hit those tins in the fifth it relaxed me and I thought aha, I am back in this!”


The Englishwoman will face former champion Vanessa Atkinson for a place in the final after the third seed from the Netherlands beat Egypt’s Engy Kheirallah 11-8, 11-4, 11-9.


The final match of the day promised a great deal, and top seed Rachael Grinham delivered, beating England’s fifth seed Tania Bailey 11-8, 11-9, 11-7 in 30 minutes.


“Grinham was unstoppable, so light, so fast, so assured,” said tournament organiser Andrew Shelley.  “Bailey had picked a bad day to match up against the former world number one.”


A rueful Bailey added:  “She played really well I thought.  Even my best shots were coming back. She was literally on everything.”


Graham will face Isabelle Stoehr after the fourth seed from France earned a walkover following the withdrawal of seventh seed Annelize Naude who was suffering with a stomach virus.


Serme Storms Into Monte Carlo Quarters


Unseeded Camille Serme produced the only upset in the first round of the Women's Monte Carlo Classic when she beat England's eighth seed Dominique Lloyd-Walter to become the second French player to reach the quarter-finals of the $25,300 WISPA World Tour squash event in its 13th year at Stade Louis II in Monte Carlo in Monaco.


Serme, the three-time European Junior champion from Creteil, battled through two tie-break games - saving three game-balls in the second - before beating world No22 Lloyd-Walter 12-10, 18-16, 9-11, 11-8 in 46 minutes.


"I remembered the last two close matches and thought I would have a chance to win," recalled 19-year-old Serme later.  "Although I was tired in the fourth game, I was tired more mentally than physically so I said to myself that I must keep focussed."


Serme's focus takes her into a surprise last eight clash with another English opponent Laura Lengthorn-Massaro. The second seed from Preston brushed aside Adel Weir, beating the South African qualifier 11-1, 11-4, 11-4 in just 18 minutes.


Beaten 2007 finalist Rachael Grinham cruised into the quarters with an 11-8, 11-8, 11-6 win in 19 minutes over French qualifier Celia Allamargot.  The top-seeded Australian will now face England's fifth seed Tania Bailey for a place in the semis.


Former champion Vanessa Atkinson will also feature in the quarter-final line-up:  The third seed from the Netherlands, winner of the title in 2005, beat England's Laura Hill 11-5, 11-4, 11-8 and will now face Egypt's sixth seed Engy Kheirallah.