Chorley’s Laura Massaro was crowned England’s first female squash world champion since 1999 when beat Egypt’s Nour El Sherbini in a thrilling final in Penang, Malaysia.
Evening Post columnist Massaro – who finished runner-up last year – battled past unseeded teenager Sherbini 11-7 6-11 11-9 5-11 11-9 to win the title to add to her British Open triumph.
El Sherbini shocked home favourite Nicol David in the semi-finals, and the world junior champion almost caused an upset in the final against Massaro.
But the Chorley ace earned two match balls at 10-8, converting the second to claim the title.
England’s Nick Matthew won the men’s world title in Manchester in November.
Now Massaro joins Matthew as the ladies’ 2013 champion – Penang hosted the event following the failure to find a venue during the calendar year.
It is also the first time that there has been an English world champion in both men’s and women’s squash at the same time.
“To be honest I was really nervous,” Massaro said.
“I’ve never really felt this nervous even though I made the final of the 2012 worlds. It was probably because I didn’t want the opportunity to slip away.
“I think knowing that I had to play Sherbini instead of Nicol (David) in the final threw me off my game and it made me a lot more nervous because it was a really good opportunity for me.
“But it’s been a really amazing win - and it’s massive to have both the world and British Open titles.”