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Massaro Retains Monte Carlo Classic Crown

Monte Carlo Classic 2009
06-11 Dec, Monaco, $25k
Round One
08 Dec
09 Dec
10 Dec
11 Dec
[1] Laura Massaro (Eng)
  11/6 12/10 11/4 (35m)
Lauren Siddall (Eng)
Laura Massaro
11/7 11/8 11/2 (32m)
Dominique Lloyd-Walter
Laura Massaro
9-11, 11-13, 11-5, 11-6, 12-10 (65m)
Camille Serme
Laura Massaro
11-5, 11-9, 11-13, 2-11, 11-6 (73m)
Madeline Perry
[5] Dominique Lloyd-Walter (Eng)
15/13 11/4 11/6 (31m)
[Q] Fiona Moverley (Eng)
[4] Camille Serme (Fra)
11/5 9/11 11/6 11/9 (45m)
Orla Noom (Ned)
Camille Serme
11/5 11/7 11/7 (23m)
Latasha Khan
[6] Latasha Khan (Usa)
11/6 12/14 12/14 12/10 11/6 (78m)
[Q] Victoria Lust (Eng)
Annelize Naudé (Ned)
7/11 11/5 11/8 11/4 (41m)
[8] Line Hansen (Den)
Line Hansen
11/6 11/8 7/11 11/4 (36m)
Isabelle Stoehr
Isabelle Stoehr
11-5, 9-11, 11-7, 11-8 (49m)
Madeline Perry
Manuela Manetta (Ita)
11/7 11/9 11/8 (32m)
[3] Isabelle Stoehr (Fra)
[Q] Linda Hruzikova (Svk)
11/1 11/2 11/4 (19m)
[7] Aisling Blake (Irl)
Aisling Blake
8/11 11/5 11/9 11/8 (55m)
Madeline Perry
[Q] Maud Duplomb (Fra)
11/5 11/2 11/6 (27m)
[2] Madeline Perry (Irl)

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 points. 


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, Monaco.


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 volumes.


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 through.


"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 Classic, the $25,300 WISPA World Tour squash championship at Stade Louis II in Monte Carlo, Monaco.


Isabelle Stoehr, 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 36 minutes.


British Open 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 55 minutes.


Was something amiss? "I didn’t feel that sharp tonight and she was playing well," admitted Perry.


Latasha Outlasts Lust In Monte Carlo


Latasha Khan, 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 Victoria Lust 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 Carlo, Monaco.


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 winner.


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 minutes.


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, 11-6, 11-9.


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.