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Massaro Ends David's 14-Month Unbeaten Run In 'Dream' Win

Cleveland Racquet Classic 2011
28 Jan - 02 Feb, Ohio, USA, $55k
Round One
30 Jan
31 Jan
01 Feb
02 Feb
[1] Nicol David (Mas)
9/11, 11/2, 11/5, 11/8 (44m)
[Q] Samantha Teran (Mex)
Nicol David
11-9, 11-5, 11-6 (25m)
Amanda Sobhy
Nicol David
11-5, 11-6, 11-7 (28m)
Annie Au
Nicol David
11-9, 11-7, 9-11, 11-8 (61m)
Laura Massaro
[6] Kasey Brown (Aus)
11/7, 11/13, 11/8, 11/13, 11/6 (59m)
Amanda Sobhy (Usa)
[3] Rachael Ginham (Aus)
11/7, 7/11, 11/4, 11/5 (41m)
[Q] Annie Au (Hkg)
Annie Au
13-11, 11-9, 12-10 (47m)
Sarah Kippax
[7] Vanessa Atkinson (Ned)
8/11, 8/11, 11/6, 12/10, 11/8 (57m)
[Q] Sarah Kippax (Eng)
Jaclyn Hawkes (Nzl)
13/11, 11/9, 3/11, 12/10 (43m)
[5] Natalie Grinham (Ned)
Natalie Grinham
11-6, 12-10, 10-12, 11-9 (43m)
Madeline Perry
Madeline Perry
11-8, 11-9, 9-11, 11-5 (52m)
Laura Massaro
Camille Serme (Fra)
8/11, 11/7, 11/9, 11/1 (46m)
[4] Madeline Perry (Irl)
Raneem El Weleily (Egy)
11/8, 19/17, 11/9 (35m)
[8] Laura Massaro (Eng)
Laura Massaro
12-10, 11-4, 11-2 (34m)
Jenny Duncalf
[Q] Joelle King (Nzl)
9/11, 11/8, 11/5, 11/8 (43m)
[2] Jenny Duncalf (Eng)

Massaro Ends David's 14-Month Unbeaten Run In 'Dream' Win

It was already the biggest final of Laura Massaro's career - and it led to her biggest win of all-time when the eight-seeded Englishwoman inflicted the first defeat of world number one Nicol David for 14 months in the final of the Women's Cleveland WISPA Classic in the USA.

In her giant-killing run to the final of the WISPA World Tour Gold squash event at Cleveland Racquet Club in Cleveland, Ohio, Massaro despatched world No2 Jenny Duncalf in straight games in the first win over her England team-mate in almost five years - then ousted Madeline Perry, the No4 seed from Ireland.

And the 27-year-old world No10 from Preston in Lancashire walked onto the court to face David 9-0 down in her career head-to-head record against the Malaysian.

Furthermore, earlier on the same day it was confirmed that Nicol David was celebrating her 58th month at the top of the world rankings - thus equalling Australian Michelle Martin's achievement as the player with the second-longest world number one reign of all-time.

But Massaro was on a roll - and the England number three jumped out of the blocks to a 7-2 lead in the first game.

"She showed no respect whatsoever to the world champion, as she patiently rallied up and down the wall before catching David with a deceptive boast or a winning volley kill," said Cleveland Racquet Club Squash Director Nathan Dugan. "David, who is known for her ability to get herself back into a game from a losing position, then reeled off six straight points and it appeared the momentum had shifted largely in the Malaysian's favour.

"As David once again levelled at nine-all, the atmosphere in the crowd was tense, realising that this was maybe a game Massaro had to win to make the night competitive. When Massaro held game ball, so did the breaths of the spectators as Massaro hit a winning forehand volley drop to take the first game and an unexpected lead in the match."

Massaro went on to take the second game before David took the third, albeit from a position of nine-all in the game.

"As David served at the start of the fourth game, many thought we would now see what we knew David was capable of delivering," Dugan continued. "David looked to pick up the pace and her trademark rushing between points as she took a 3-1 lead - but was later tempted into a few unforced errors, giving her opponent a 7-5 lead."

David saved two match balls from 6-10 down before Massaro clinched her historic 11-9, 11-7, 9-11, 11-8 triumph in 61 minutes.

"I'm really pleased with the win," said the jubilant Massaro. "To beat the world number one, two and six in the same tournament was a dream before tonight.

"I can't believe I have achieved one of my dreams.

"I thought I played really well and am looking forward to getting home to celebrate with my family," concluded Massaro.

Dugan added: "It would be interesting to know the statistics of when in fact a player last beat the world number one and two to win a title in the same event - but tonight's is an achievement that I am sure will be unmatched for quite some time."

Massaro Boasts Biggest Final Of Career In Cleveland

A second upset in 24 hours in the Women's Cleveland WISPA Classic has taken England's Laura Massaro into the biggest Tour final of her career in the first WISPA World Tour Gold squash event of the year at Cleveland Racquet Club in Cleveland in the US state of Ohio.

The eighth seed from Preston made her breakthrough in the quarter-finals where she despatched world No2 Jenny Duncalf in straight games in the first win over her England team-mate in almost five years.

In the semi-finals, Massaro faced Madeline Perry, the No4 seed from Ireland who won their two most recent encounters in 2010.

"Massaro appeared full of confidence as she looked to beat a second higher ranked opponent in two days," reported Cleveland Racquet Club Squash Director Nathan Dugan. "Massaro played with great patience and accuracy up the left wall, which prevented Madeline Perry from using her trade mark backhand volleys to any real effect."

Perry took the third game to reduce the deficit - but the 27-year-old English woman reclaimed the upper hand to forge an 11-8, 11-9, 9-11, 11-5 victory after 52 minutes.

Massaro will now face firm favourite Nicol David, the world number one from Malaysia playing in her first Tour event of the New Year after completing 2010 unbeaten.

David overpowered Asian rival Annie Au, a qualifier from Hong Kong, 11-5, 11-6, 11-7 in 28 minutes.

"Nicol David had been a little subdued as the tournament started but tonight she certainly came out with the eye of the tiger," explained Dugan. "She raced into a 10-2 lead in the first game with opponent, Annie Au, unable to penetrate David's defences."

While Massaro is celebrating the 15th WISPA Tour final of her career. 27-year-old David is marking her 66th.

Mighty Massaro Ditches Duncalf In Cleveland

In the first Tour victory over her England team-mate for almost five years, Laura Massaro upset world No2 Jenny Duncalf in straight games in the Women's Cleveland WISPA Classic to claim an unexpected place in the semi-finals of the first WISPA World Tour Gold squash event of the year at Cleveland Racquet Club in Cleveland in the US state of Ohio.

Duncalf, the second seed from Harrogate, squandered two game balls at the end of a closely fought first game which Massaro took 12-10.

"This proved to be critical as Massaro grew in confidence, producing some great attacking shots, which seemed to be adding to Duncalf's obvious unsettled state on the court," said Cleveland Racquet Club Squash Director Nathan Dugan.

"The third was more of the same, as Massaro continued to move well absorbing any pressure that Duncalf could put on her before finding a winning shot, or benefiting from a Duncalf error," explained Dugan after Massaro romped to her 12-10, 11-4, 11-2 win in 34 minutes.

The eighth seed from Preston in Lancashire will now face Ireland's No4 seed Madeline Perry for a place in the final.

The 12-time Irish national champion battled to a four-game victory over Dutch number one Natalie Grinham, the fifth seed fighting back to top form after the birth of her son Kieran last May.

Perry, who went into the match 1-9 down in her career head-to-head tally with Grinham, reduced the deficit following her 11-6, 12-10, 10-12, 11-9 win.

After producing the shock of the tournament by defeating in-form Australian Kasey Brown in the opening round, 17-year-old American Amanda Sobhy met her match in top seed Nicol David, the world number one from Malaysia competing in her first tournament of the year after her unbeaten run throughout 2010.

"World champion Nicol David had not looked that sharp in her first round match - but the 'Duracell Bunny' was definitely awakened in her quarter final appearance here tonight," added Dugan. "It was credit to world junior champion Amanda Sobhy that David had to kick into a different gear, as Sobhy took an early 9-6 lead in the first game.

"That is when the switch appeared to be flicked, as David reeled off 19 of the following 24 rallies, showing Cleveland why she has not been beaten for over a year!"

David's 11-9, 11-5, 11-6 victory takes her on to a semi-final clash with Asian rival Annie Au, the 21-year-old from Hong Kong who beat fellow qualifier Sarah Kippax, from England, 13-11, 11-9, 12-10.

Sobhy So Good In Cleveland

US 17-year-old Amanda Sobhy produced the shock of the tournament when she defeated in-form Australian Kasey Brown in the opening round of the Women's Cleveland WISPA Classic, the first WISPA World Tour Gold squash event of the year at Cleveland Racquet Club in Cleveland in the US state of Ohio.

Brown, a triple medallist at last year's Commonwealth Games in Delhi, arrived in Cleveland fresh from an unexpected title triumph in the Harrow Greenwich Open in Connecticut.

Sobhy, the reigning world junior champion, got off to a great start by taking the first game using a nice combination of power and deception. The lead almost became two games after a couple of attacking forehand volley winners took Sobhy to 11-10 and game ball. However, she became a little too aggressive making a couple of errors from open positions, allowing sixth seed Brown to level the match.

The third was a repeat of the first, with Sobhy at times out-powering one of the most physical and powerful players on the WISPA Tour. World No7 Brown attempted to slow the pace down in the fourth, which Brown won 13-11, producing some of the best squash of the tournament so far.

The crowd was on the edge of their seats as point after point was won with precision accuracy and balls glued to the wall. At the start of the final game, the odds would have been stacked towards the fitness and experience of Brown, but Sobhy dug deep to win 11-7, 11-13, 11-8, 11-13, 11-6.

It was an incredibly mature performance from the New York teenager who celebrated one of the best successes of her career to date.

Sobhy, ranked 24 in the world, will now face an even tougher challenge against world number one Nicol David in the quarter-finals. David was not at her best in her four-game victory over Mexican champion Samantha Teran, and was made to raise her game after Teran took the first game. The Mexican battled throughout but was made to cover a lot of the court before the world champion clinched her 9-11, 11-2, 11-5, 11-8 victory.

But Sobhy is not the only surprise name in the last eight line-up, which will also include qualifiers Annie Au and Sarah Kippax.

Kippax, from England, was the first to cause an upset by beating former world number one Vanessa Atkinson in a tight five-game battle lasting just under an hour. The pair had played earlier in the month in Greenwich, with Kippax again being the victor. After Atkinson secured the first two games with a great display of control and touch into the front of the court, revenge looked on the cards.

Kippax showed she is not frightened of a little hard work and she kept up the pressure by retrieving everything her Dutch opponent could throw at her. With her breathing being audible by the crowd at the end of the fourth game, it was a wonder that she had any legs at all for the decider. But apparently her tenacity had got to the former world champion and Kippax notched up her second win of the year against the world No9 8-11, 8-11, 11-6, 12-10, 11-8.

Annie Au's path to the quarter-finals was a complete contrast to that of Kippax. The Hong Kong 21-year-old and third-seeded opponent Rachael Grinham exchanged drops and lobs for best part of the first three games.

But Grinham, the 34-year-old former world number one who usually finds a lot of success with the slower pace of play, struggled to match the flicks and holds that the younger player had to offer with countless drop exchanges going Au's way. Grinham tried picking the pace up in the fourth, playing more length and trying to minimize Au's attacking opportunities, but when the chances arose, Au wasted no time in finishing the points in the front corners to win 11-7, 7-11, 11-4, 11-5.

Au & Kippax face each other for a place in the semi-finals.

An English semi-finalist will be guaranteed after first round victories for Laura Massaro and Jenny Duncalf. Massaro was the first to progress after beating Egyptian Raneem El Weleily in the pair's seventh meeting in the past 12 months.

World No2 Jenny Duncalf had a shaky start to her Cleveland campaign, losing the first game to New Zealander Joelle King. Runner-up in Greenwich last week, King looked sharp from the start and used the strength and power to pressurise her opponent. In the second game Duncalf became more creative with the ball, and never looked back - ultimately winning 9-11, 11-8, 11-5, 11-8 after 43 minutes.