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Monday May 27, 2013

Nicol outplayed in brutal and physical British Open final

Grand champion: Laura Massaro became the first British woman since 1991
to win the British Open after beating Nicol David in the final at the KC Stadium
in Hull yesterday. — SQUASHSITE Grand champion: Laura Massaro became the first British woman since 1991 to win the British Open after beating Nicol David in the final at the KC Stadium in Hull yesterday. — SQUASHSITE

PETALING JAYA: England’s Laura Massaro became the first British woman since 1991 to win the prestigious British Open after a tremendous performance to beat world No. 1 Nicol David in four sets at the KC Stadium in Hull yesterday.

Playing in front of vociferous home crowd, Massaro who also defeated Nicol in the semi-finals of the KL Open back in March, won 11-4, 3-11, 12-10, 11-7 in 54 minutes.

In doing so Massaro became the first Englishwoman to win at home since Lisa Opie achieved that feat in 1991.

It was a brutal and physical match with Massaro more often using her superior physique to her advantage.

The world No. 2 started the match on a superb note, racing to a 5-0 lead before Nicol got her first point on the board.

She continued to extend her lead and eventually took the first set 11-4 in just six minutes.

But defending champion Nicol showed that she’s made of much sterner stuff by storming back to grab the second set 11-3.

The four-time British Open champion then dug deep in the third set to pull ahead 10-7 in the third set.

Massaro, however, showed incredible nerves of steel to level at 10-10 and needed only one chance to take the set 12-10.

Massaro wrested control as Nicol started to crack a little under pressure to take 7-3 and then 9-4 lead.

Nicol, a seven-time world champion attempted a comeback but Massaro held firm for her biggest ever career win. The English lass was so happy that she even broke down into tears after the match.

For Nicol, it will be back to the drawing board, having failed to win any title this year.

“I guess I was watching Laura and focusing on what she was going to do instead of on my own game,” said a devastated Nicol.

“I wanted to play each point better but she kept finding the court better than me and just didn’t make any mistakes at all.

“It just goes to show that Laura is a real tough competitor who constantly puts you on your toes. She played excellent squash today and deserved to win,” added Nicol.

Massaro who couldn’t contain her tears, credited the crowd for helping her pull through.

“It’s a huge win. The British Open is one of those tournaments I watched growing up and to win it feels absolutely amazing,” said Massaro.

Results

Final

Men: Ramy Ashour (Egy) bt Gregory Gaultier (Fra) 7-11, 11-4, 11-7, 11-8.

Women: Laura Massaro (Eng) bt Nicol David (Mas) 11-4, 3-11, 12-10, 11-7.

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