Laura lifts the title again

Laura Massaro pictured with men's winner Gregory Gaultier (left)

Laura Massaro pictured with men's winner Gregory Gaultier (left)

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Chorley’s World No.5 Laura Massaro became the first Englishwoman since Janet Morgan in 1951 to lift the prestigious Allam British Open squash title on two occasions after she saw off compatriot Sarah-Jane Perry in the final of the 2017 edition of the World Series tournament.

Staged in Hull’s Airco Arena, 2013 champion Massaro and Perry were contesting the first female all-English British Open final since 1991 after they achieved respective semi-final wins over defending champion Nour El Sherbini and five-time winner Nicol David.

And it was 33-year-old Massaro who imposed her game plan first, with the number five seed driving well and moving seventh seed Perry away from the ‘T’ to go two games ahead with 11-8 wins in both.

Birmingham-based Perry finally managed to knock Massaro out of her stride in the third to claw a game back, but Massaro stepped it up in game four to take an 11-8, 11-8, 6-11, 11-6 victory in 55 minutes.

“It’s just unbelievable,” said Massaro.

“When I won the British Open for the first time I was so happy. There was a little bit more pressure coming into today as I beat Nicol, who was World No.1, for my first title and at the time there was absolutely no pressure on me.

“I’m proud of myself for the week and for bouncing back because this has probably not been my best season. After winning the World Series Finals in Dubai and making the finals of the World Championships, I don’t feel like I’ve done myself justice.

“I’m just happy I managed to tough it out in the end and keep getting balls back and it paid off. It’s a little bit different because the first one was so special.”

Despite the disappointment of losing out, Perry was pleased with her efforts this week, saying: “If you’d have said to me at the start of the week that I was going to make the final, I would have taken that result. I tried to just enjoy myself, but Laura played really well today and she didn’t let me play my game as much as I wanted to.

“But I’m really happy to get to the final and be part of a historic all-English final. Congratulations to Laura, she’s had a fantastic week.”