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.
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.
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.
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.
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
on to take the second game before David took the third, albeit from a position
of nine-all in the game.
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."
two match balls from 6-10 down before Massaro clinched her historic 11-9, 11-7,
9-11, 11-8 triumph in 61 minutes.
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.
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.
"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
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.
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.
semi-finals, Massaro faced Madeline Perry, the No4 seed from Ireland who
won their two most recent encounters in 2010.
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.
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.
overpowered Asian rival Annie Au, a qualifier from Hong Kong, 11-5, 11-6,
11-7 in 28 minutes.
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."
is celebrating the 15th WISPA Tour final of her career. 27-year-old David is
marking her 66th.
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.
second seed from Harrogate, squandered two game balls at the end of a closely
fought first game which Massaro took 12-10.
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.
seed from Preston in Lancashire will now face Ireland's No4 seed Madeline
Perry for a place in the final.
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.
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.
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
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!"
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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,
Au & Kippax
face each other for a place in the semi-finals.
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.
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.