Massaro Retains Monte Carlo Classic Crown
England's Laura Massaro edged out Irish opponent
Madeline Perry in the final of the $25,300 Women's Monte Carlo
Classic to become only the third player in the event's 14-year history to
successfully defend the WISPA World Tour squash title at Stade Louis
II in Monte Carlo, Monaco.
A year ago, the Lancashire lass won the title for the first time
after beating top seed Rachael Grinham 11-9 in the deciding game of a
superb final - having squeezed past France’s Camille Serme in five in the
first round after saving a match ball. This time, Massaro again beat Serme in
five games, with three match balls saved, in the semis - and was again taken the
full distance in the final.
The top-seed Englishwoman took the first two games - and in the
third saved a game ball at 8-10 down to draw level. But Perry, the second seed
from Belfast, won the next point on a stroke and soon reduced the game deficit.
The Irish player was back in business, and a succession of
winners - coupled with some uncharacteristic Massaro lunges - speedily took
Perry to two games all in five minutes under one hour.
The 26-year-old from Preston still had no answers as the fifth
unfolded. When Perry reached 6-1, Massaro had lost 19 of the preceding 22
But the favourite regrouped and began to salvage points - and
soon it was six-all. A tired Perry drive was the seventh, a driven nick the
eighth and a compelling drive the ninth. A stroke then gave Massaro match ball
and a tinned drop from Perry ensured that the title stayed in Massaro's hands,
after an 11-5, 11-9, 11-13, 2-11, 11-6 scoreline.
After Monaco SRA President Dr Bruno Fissore had presented
the trophies, the vanquished finalist was asked about the match. "In the fourth
I was in the zone," said Perry. "I seemed to come up with winners which took
her by surprise. It went through until I was 6-1 up in the fifth. For
everything after that you would need a video as I have no idea what happened!
"I didn’t make a load of mistakes, it just happened, she played
well and it picked up and it was all over. Though I was very disappointed to
lose that way the level was very good for the most part."
Massaro, now boasting her sixth title on the WISPA World Tour,
was delighted with the outcome: "I thought I started off playing well. I came
out faster and more aggressively. But somehow I felt that I lost some of the
aggression in the third, which could have gone either way.
"In the fourth Madeline changed her tactics; it came from nowhere
and I didn’t know what to do. I tried to regroup and went 6-1 down in the
fifth. Then I got hand in and tried to keep in front of her and stay in touch.
I was aware that I had been 7-3 down yesterday and as I slowly got back I was
able to relax and play a few shots without pressure.
"I am just so pleased that I managed to win but I was more
shocked how I survived yesterday as today I was more positive, relaxed and
enjoyed it more."
Massaro & Perry To Contest Monte Carlo Climax
Top seed Laura Massaro, the defending champion from
England, and Madeline Perry, the second seed from Ireland, will contest
the final of the
Women's Monte Carlo Classic
after both dismissed French opponent in the semi-finals of the $25,300 WISPA
World Tour squash championship at Stade Louis II in Monte Carlo,
Perry, runner-up in 2005, had been in a rich vein of form in
recent months - getting to the final of the British Open with a win
against Nicol David on the way was ample evidence of this. But in the
previous round against Aisling Blake she hadn’t looked at her sharpest.
Meanwhile, her third-seeded opponent Isabelle Stoehr had
had a mixed year - but had perversely seemed to pick up as younger compatriot
Camille Serme overtook her in the rankings.
The 10 times Irish champion took the first game comfortably, but
the focus of the French girl was clear – and when Stoehr wrong-footed Perry to
take the second, the exuberant shriek accompanying the two fist pump spoke
Perry took control in the next two games before clinching the
match 11-5, 9-11, 11-7, 11-8 after 49 minutes.
"I was feeling sharper today and really wanted to get a good
start," said the 32-year-old from Belfast, now in her fourth Tour final of the
year, and the 16th of her career.
"It is difficult to get a rhythm against Isabelle as she plays
some great shots in patches. I knew I would need to be consistent all the way
"The way that I have been playing the last few months it would be
great to get a title - especially to do it here in Monte Carlo!"
Stoehr's successor as French number one was in action in the
other semi: But while top seed Laura Massaro is as consistent a performer as
they come, Camille Serme is a product that is still being polished.
And as she took on Massaro, it was clear why the 20-year-old from
Creteil is rising fast. Versatile and resilient she pressured the Classic
title-holder from the start, much to the delight of the spectators.
Serme took the opening two games. But the favourite's steadiness
shone through in the next two games as Massaro drew level.
However, Serme reclaimed the advantage in the decider to take a
7-3 lead, and then stand at match-ball at 10-7. But four dramatic points later
gave Massaro her first match ball.
And the contest came to a disappointing conclusion when a loose
drive down the centre hit the nick under the door and died – giving the match to
Massaro 9-11, 11-13, 11-5, 11-6, 12-10 after 65 minutes.
"I thought it was a terrible way to end, for her to win like
that," said a tearful Serme afterwards.
Massaro is now celebrating the 12th WISPA final of her career –
and looking to become only the third player since 1997 to successfully defend
the Monaco crown.
French Fillies Flourish In Monte Carlo
For the first time in the event's 14-year history, there will be
French interest in both semi-finals of the
Women's Monte Carlo
the $25,300 WISPA World Tour squash championship at Stade Louis II
in Monte Carlo, Monaco.
the 30-year-old third seed, was there last year – in her eighth appearance in
the event – but for 20-year-old fourth seed Camille Serme it will be a
new experience in only her second time in the main draw.
Serme despatched US number two Latasha Khan, the No6 seed,
11-5, 11-7, 11-7 in just 23 minutes and will now play top seed Laura Massaro
in a repeat of last year's quarter-final clash with the English player.
Serme is making rapid strides up the WISPA world rankings – and
this month overtook Stoehr, the long-time French number one, to reach No13 and
become her country's top-ranked player for the first time.
When asked about her year of progress, Serme said: "I didn’t
expect to be in the top 15 that fast as it had been hard to get into the top
30. First I needed to improve mentally, to believe more in myself and that
anything is possible. Now I am not worried about whether I will be strong.
"I am working on being more precise and to improve the mix of my
game," added the rising French star.
In the bottom half Isabelle Stoehr was pitted against Danish
number one Line Hansen. The Dane had won when they had last met
in the New Zealand Open four months ago, and started well this time too.
But, perhaps losing her French number one status has galvanised
her, as Stoehr battled to an 11-6, 11-8, 7-11, 11-4 win over the eighth seed in
runner-up Madeline Perry awaits Stoehr in the semis after the Irish
number one beat her national number two Aisling Blake in the quarters.
Second seed Perry, the world No8, never looked entirely
comfortable and was certainly extended despite winning 8-11, 11-5, 11-9, 11-8 in
Was something amiss? "I didn’t feel that sharp tonight and she
was playing well," admitted Perry.
Latasha Outlasts Lust In Monte Carlo
the US number two who has four WISPA World Tour squash titles to her name
this year, was taken the full distance by English qualifier
in the opening round of the Women's Monte Carlo Classic before prevailing
in the $25,300 Tour event in its 14th year at Stade Louis II in Monte
Khan, the sixth seed from Seattle, saved two game balls in each
of the second and third but eventually succumbed in both to go two-one down.
Then at 9-10 in the fourth, the 36-year-old world No25 saved a match ball when
Lust clipped the tin with what would otherwise almost certainly have been a
This time Khan, giving away sixteen years to her opponent, did
not give the Monte Carlo newcomer another chance and took the game. Then, from
six-all in the fifth, the sixth seed snatched the next five points to fall
across the finishing line 11-6, 12-14, 12-14, 12-10, 11-6 in a time of 78
Khan felt that the ball had been unhelpful to her: "It was fast,
too fast, and difficult to control. So there were lots of lets. But later on I
knew I was pretty fit and could run down balls so I started to go short a little
more," explained the WISPA Tour stalwart.
Lust was crestfallen but philosophical: "I did better than last
time I played her, which is a good step," said the 20-year-old from Cheltenham.
Khan will now face another young opponent, the new French number
one Camille Serme who was recently voted the WISPA Most Improved
Player of the Year. The 20-year-old fourth seed dropped a game against
Orla Noom, but after 45 minutes overcame her Dutch opponent 11-5, 9-11,
Two national clashes will grace the quarter-finals: Top seed
Laura Massaro will face her fifth-seeded English compatriot Dominique
Lloyd-Walter after both came through straight games first round wins.
And Irish rivals Madeline Perry and Aisling Blake
will also do battle for a place in the semi-finals after second seed Perry
despatched French qualifier Maud Duplomb 11-5, 11-2, 11-6, and seventh
seed Blake needed just 19 minutes to dismiss Slovakian qualifier Linda
Hruzikova 11-1, 11-2, 11-4.