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Friday January 4, 2013

Nicol suffers group match defeat to Massaro in World Series

PETALING JAYA: World No. 1 Nicol David’s hopes of retaining the World Series Finals title suffered a major dent after she went down fighting 10-12, 9-11 to world No. 3 Laura Massaro at the Queen’s Club in London.

The 29-year-old, fresh from winning her record seventh world title, appeared to be on top of her game when she blew away Hong Kong’s Annie Au in her first Group A match on Wednesday.

But home favourite Massaro was determined not to repeat her Women’s World Open final loss to Nicol in Cayman Islands last month and started strongly, edging to a 10-9 lead in the first set.

Nicol, however, levelled it at 10-10 but Massaro again nicked ahead to take the the first set 12-10.

The Malaysian squash queen, however, had a better start in the second set.

But Massaro gradually took control of the match and the ‘T’ as Nicol committed too many errors.

The Englishwoman then sealed the match in just 29 minutes to hand Nicol her first defeat of the year.

Massaro, who beat Holland’s Natalie Grinham a day earlier, is now through to the semi-finals.

This is only the third time that Massaro has beaten Nicol in 18 professional meetings.

Both her previous wins came in 2011 – in the Cleveland Classic and Singapore Masters.

Nicol must now beat Grinham, who defeated Annie 14-12, 11-4 yesterday, in order to make the last four.

There were also major upsets in Group B when Jenny Duncalf of England and France’s Camille Serme overcame their more talented Egpytian rivals.

World No. 8 Duncalf, going through a poor run of form, brought the home crowd to their feet by beating world No. 2 Raneem El Weleily 10-12, 11-8, 11-8.

Serme, who only confirmed her ticket to the World Series at the Hong Kong Open last month, routed world junior champion Nour El Sherbini 11-9, 12-10.

In the men’s Group A, World Open finalist Mohamed El Shorbagy of Egypt got off to a great start by beating Englishman Peter Barker 11-6, 11-7 while compatriot Amr Shabana silenced the home crowd by overcoming Nick Matthew 11-6, 11-6.

In Group B, former world No. 1 James Wilstrop defeated Karim Darwish 11-9, 11-5, while Frenchman Gregory Gaultier came back from a set down to beat late entry Simon Rosner 10-12, 11-4, 11-7.

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