England's world No2 Laura Massaro stormed to her 13th
title on the WSA World Tour when she beat Raneem El Welily, the
world No3 from Egypt, in the final of the Women's METROsquash Windy City Open,
the Women's Squash Association (WSA) Gold 50 event at the University
Club of Chicago in Chicago, USA.
"I WON THE WINDY CITY OPEN IN CHICAGO!!" screamed the exuberant
30-year-old from Preston to her Twitter followers later. "So happy!! Thanks
everyone for the support! Celebration time!!"
Massaro went into the match 10-6 ahead in her career head-to-head
Tour tally with El Welily - but the younger Egyptian was the winner the last
time they met, in the Malaysian Open semi-finals last September.
After the first two games were shared, "Raneem held her first
significant lead of the night when she went up 8-5 in the third, but Laura
quickly went ahead and closed 11-9," explained event spokesman Jim Wellington.
With an error-free run in the fourth, when she dropped just three
points, El Welily drew level.
But errors from both players in the decider took the score to 8-4
in Massaro's favour. "Down 5-9, Raneem chose serve to Laura's forehand and
started really smacking it," continued Wellington. "Laura hit the tin but
followed it up with a winner, and then a stroke to take the match."
The 9-11, 11-8, 11-9, 3-11, 11-6 victory in 59 minutes marks
Massaro's first Tour title triumph of the year - and the first since lifting the
British Open trophy for the first time last May.
A disappointed El Welily said after the final: "I think tonight's
match was a cycle of up and down patches from my side. I had an opportunity in
the third at 8-5 up that I didn't make good use of.
"So obviously a little bit disappointed but all credit to Laura
who played really well throughout the entire match," added the Cairo-based
25-year-old. "I believe it was the crucial moments that made the difference and
she definitely managed them better than I did."
Massaro & El Welily To Contest Chicago Climax
England's world No2 Laura Massaro survived her longest
match for more than six years when she overcame French rival Camille Serme
in a dramatic five-game Women's METROsquash Windy City Open semi-final
marathon in Chicago, USA.
In a dream final of the Women's Squash Association (WSA) Gold
50 event at the University Club of Chicago, the top seed will face
second seed Raneem El Welily after the world No3 from Egypt despatched
New Zealander Joelle King in straight games - in the earlier semi which
took one third of the time!
Serme, the No7 seed, secured her surprise place in the semis
after upsetting England's world No4 Alison Waters. "Camille is not
messing around these days, bringing her best to the world's best players, so
everyone knew this match wouldn't be easy, no matter which way it went,"
reported event spokesman Jim Wellington. "It would be a tussle, with two
conventional players at the highest level."
Serme saved two game balls in the opening game, but it was
Massaro (pictured above in Windy City action with Serme) who took the
early lead. The higher-ranked English player was forced to save game balls in
the second but, after rescuing five, it was Serme who ultimately took the game
to draw level.
And, from eight-all in the third, underdog Serme - ranked four
places behind Massaro - forged ahead to open up a 2/1 lead.
Massaro regained the upper hand in the fourth, however, to force
a fifth game decider.
"Laura continued in game five with her excellent placement in the
back corners, as well as conservatively using the front at the right times to
5-1," continued Wellington. "Camille started to look fatigued as five went on,
and was unable to apply the same pressure that she had used in the rest of the
match. Play tightened up after this, but the lead would stick. Camille gave a
big last push, but it was not going to be enough to beat the world number two
The 11-9, 12-14, 9-11, 11-6, 11-6 victory in 90 minutes marks
Massaro's third longest match of all-time - but the longest since the women's
game went point-a-rally (PAR) in 2008. It also followed a confidence-boosting
four-game win over Annie Au which ended a three-game losing streak to the
Hong Kong number one.
"I was really pleased to come through the match," said Lancashire
lass Massaro after her semi-final success. "Camille's playing really well and
physically she always makes it hard.
"It was particularly tough given my win over Annie yesterday. I
had been mentally preparing for that match and then when I won I remembered I
actually have to re-group and focus on the semi-final now!
"I found that quite hard to do. It's also the reason I am proud
of my performance and glad I was able to bounce back well and play a good
semi-final," added Massaro, now in the 28th Tour final of her career and her
second of the year.
By contrast, El Welily reached the 18th Tour final of her career
- and her first of the year - in just 30 minutes, defeating No4 seed King 12-10,
The Cairo-based 25-year-old went into the match boasting a 5-0
career head-to-head record over the Kiwi.
But it was King who had the chance to take the first game at 10-9
in the opener. "But she tinned an easy drop from a winning position, and Raneem
cruised on to take the game," said Wellington.
"After winning the second, Raneem turned it up a notch in game
three, moving, striking, and reading Joelle extremely well. Raneem seemed to
have an answer for everything, holding her shots so that Joelle was late to the
ball when she got there at all."
The final will mark Massaro and El Welily's 17th Tour meeting.
Massaro boasts a 10-6 lead, but it was the Egyptian who was victorious in their
most recent clash, in a 78-minute Malaysian Open semi-final last
Camille Crushes Waters In Chicago Shock
France's Camille Serme claimed an unexpected place in the
semi-finals of the Women's METROsquash Windy City Open after despatching
third-seeded English opponent Alison Waters in straight games in the
Women's Squash Association (WSA) Gold 50 event at the University Club of
Chicago in Chicago, USA.
In fact, the win marked world No8 Serme's third consecutive Tour
victory over the world No3 from London.
After the 24-year-old from Creteil, near Paris, took the opening
game, the second was neck and neck throughout. "At nine-all, it was anybody's
game," reported event spokesman Jim Wellington. "Alison hit a nick and a
tin - 10-10. Two winning drops - 11-11. Crosscourt winner, nick 12-12.
"Winning drop from Camille, tin from Alison - Camille is up two
games to love!"
From six-all in the third, Serme took the next five points in a
row to clinch her 11-4, 14-12, 11-6 upset in 45 minutes.
Six-time French champion Serme now needs to overcome a second
England opponent, top seed Laura Massaro, if she is to make her first
Tour final of the year.
World No2 Massaro celebrated a confidence-boosting triumph after
beating Annie Au 8-11, 11-8, 12-10, 11-7 - thereby ending a three-match
losing streak to the Hong Kong number one.
The other semi-final will be the match predicted by the draw -
between fourth seed Joelle King and second-seeded Egyptian Raneem El
New Zealander King took on Emma Beddoes, the English
qualifier who made the last eight after ousting Ireland's No7 seed Madeline
After dropping the first, underdog Beddoes led 7-3 in the second
game, only for Kiwi King to reel off seven points in a row to reach game-ball.
"Beddoes saved three game-balls to bring 10-10, and then took it
12-10," said Wellington. "With both players now on the board, the pace and
tenacity went up, each fighting to get to the ball and keep it away from the
King took the third and looked to be heading to victory in the
fourth. "Beddoes fought back to hold two game-balls at 10-8, and was then hit in
the mouth with King's backhand follow through at 9-10, causing bleeding.
"It took less than ten minutes to stop the bleeding, and after
several lets, Beddoes closed the game 11-9.
"Game fives are hard to predict," Wellington continued. "Joelle
applied pressure with very good shots and didn't make errors when it counted
most, closing out the match 11-3, 10-12, 11-5, 9-11, 11-2."
El Welily extended her career head-to-head record over Low Wee
Wern to 7-1 when she beat the fifth seed from Malaysia 11-8, 11-5, 11-6.
Beddoes Blows Down Perry In Windy City Upset
English qualifier Emma Beddoes pulled off her first win
over Ireland's world No7 Madeline Perry in six Tour meetings over the
past six years when she upset the sixth seed in the first round of the
Women's METROsquash Windy City Open, the Women's Squash Association (WSA)
Gold 50 event at the University Club of Chicago in Chicago,
Beddoes, the world No23 from Leeds, took the opening game after
fighting back from 8-6 down. But the experienced Perry, winner of her 14th Irish
national title in December, regained control in the second to draw level.
Underdog Beddoes responded well in the third, however, and
regained the lead.
"The fourth was a scorcher, everyone wondering if a qualifier
could pull off a victory against a world number seven," said event spokesman
Jim Wellington. "She almost did - going up 9-5, and earning two match balls
at 10-8. Stroke to Beddoes: she did!"
After the 11-9, 5-11, 11-4, 11-8 victory in 52 minutes, MC
Kerry Fliss asked Beddoes what's it looking like, moving forward: "All of
the matches are going to be tough," said 28-year-old Beddoes. "I just have to
Beddoes will now face fourth seed Joelle King for a place
in the semi-finals. The world No5 from New Zealand beat Irish wild card
Aisling Blake 11-5, 11-4, 11-6.
Another upset produced an unexpected quarter-finalist when Hong
Kong's unseeded Annie Au ousted Australia's No8 seed Kasey Brown
11-5, 11-4, 11-8.
Fliss complimented Au on taking the pace off the ball and
exerting so much control: "Yes, that's my game," responded the 25-year-old world
No11. "I have to play like that because I'm a little bit short so I don't have
the power that some of the other players have."
Au will now line up against event favourite Laura Massaro,
the world No2 from England who beat compatriot and former stable-mate Emily
Whitlock, a 20-year-old qualifier, 11-7, 11-4, 11-2.
When asked about her upcoming clash with the Hong Kong
left-hander, 30-year-old Massaro replied: "She beat me and a few weeks ago in
Cleveland, so I'm looking forward to the rematch."
There will be English interest in a third quarter-final when No3
seed Alison Waters takes on France's Camille Serme. Londoner
Waters defeated Hong Kong qualifier Joey Chan 11-8, 11-7, 11-5, while
seventh seed Serme battled for 57 minutes to see off Egypt's Omneya Abdel
Kawy 11-8, 8-11, 11-5, 12-10.
bid to reach the final for the second time since 2011 was halted by Asian rival
Low Wee Wern when the No5 seed from Malaysia overcame the Indian number
one 11-5, 8-11, 11-7, 12-14, 11-6 in a hard-fought 80-minute encounter.
Wee Wern will now face Raneem El Welily, the No2 seed from
Egypt who ended English qualifier Sarah Kippax's run 12-14, 9-11, 11-3,
Kippax Conquers Grinham To Make Windy City Draw
was sixth time lucky for England's Sarah Kippax in the qualifying finals
of the Women's METROsquash Windy City Open when she claimed her first
ever win over Australia's former world number one Rachael Grinham - the
highest-ranked player in the qualifying draw - to make the main draw of the
Women's Squash Association (WSA) Gold 50 event at the University Club of
Chicago in Chicago, USA.
Kippax, the world No24 from Halifax, dug deep to
record the only straight games win of the day - beating the world No15 from
Brisbane 11-4, 11-6, 12-10.
Kippax will now line up against Egypt's No2 seed
Raneem El Welily in the first round.
There were two further surprise English successes
when Macclesfield-born Emily Whitlock and Leeds-based Emma Beddoes
also secured places in the main draw.
Whitlock, the 20-year-old world No26 from Colwyn
Bay, became the youngest and lowest-ranked player to qualify when she survived a
testing five-game battle against experienced Nicolette Fernandes -
beating the world No19 from Guyana 11-4, 9-11, 5-11, 11-8, 12-10.
World No23 Beddoes beat higher-ranked compatriot
Sarah-Jane Perry 7-11, 3-11, 11-8, 13-11, 11-6 to boost her chances of
selection for the next England team.
Whitlock is drawn to face compatriot and former
stable-mate Laura Massaro, the top seed, while Beddoes will take on
Ireland's No6 seed Madeline Perry.
Hong Kong's Joey Chan completed the
qualifiers line-up when she recovered from a game down to beat Japan's Misaki
Kobayashi 9-11, 11-6, 11-6, 14-12.
Attracts World's Top Women Squash Players For First Time
will host its richest women's squash event ever when the Women's METROsquash
Windy City Open gets underway tomorrow at the University Club of Chicago
in the largest city in the US state of Illinois.
The Women's Squash Association (WSA) Gold event - the
third of the year - boasts a star-studded field featuring eight of the top ten
players in the world, led by England's world No2 Laura Massaro.
"I'm really excited to be heading to Chicago for the first time
in my career," said the 30-year-old from Preston in Lancashire who is seeded to
win the 13th Tour title of her career.
"It's fantastic it's on the WSA calendar at Gold level and the
promoters have done brilliantly raising the money to get the top women to The
Windy City Open," added the reigning British Open champion.
"I've heard Chicago is a fantastic city so I'll look forward to
exploring the city if I have time and it's not too cold!"
Massaro begins her Windy City campaign against a qualifier and is
likely to face fellow WSA board member Kasey Brown, the newly-elected
President ranked 13 in the world, in the quarter-finals.
The draw predicts a semi-final clash with England team-mate
Alison Waters, the No3 seed, before a possible final showdown against
Raneem El Welily, the world No3 from Egypt.
leads New Zealand interest in the event. The fourth seed faces Irish wild card
Aisling Blake in the opening round before a possible meeting with the
Irish number one Madeleine Perry in the last eight.
Asian interest is led by Low Wee Wern, the fifth seed from
Malaysia. But Wern has a tough opener against regional rival Dipika Pallikal,
the world No10 from India.