Defending champion Laura Massaro became the first woman to qualify for the semi-finals of the Women’s 2016/17 PSA Dubai Squash World Series Finals after she beat compatriot Sarah-Jane Perry in Dubai Opera.
With four game wins under her belt, Chorley ace Massaro can finish no lower than second in Group B after she followed up an impressive opening day win over Malaysia’s Nicol David with a 2-0 victory over world No.7 Perry, who shocked world champion Nour El Sherbini on her World Series Finals debut on Tuesday.
A confident display from Massaro saw her take the opening game before overturning five game-balls in the second to seal the victory by an 11-6, 14-12 scoreline.
“I’m really happy, maybe it’s better that I need to go in and get a result in the next game,” said Massaro.
“Then I’ll have that mindset of trying to make sure that I do well – I don’t want to have a nothing day, I want something to still be on it. We’re all competitive and there’s always an edge to all of us.
“I’ll still want to win the third game regardless of whether I’m qualified or not. It’s great to know that I’m in the semi-finals, but there’s still a job to do.”
Massaro takes on El Sherbini next, while Perry will play David. A win for Perry and a defeat for El Sherbini will see both Englishwomen reach the semi-finals.
Alison Waters was the other English player in action in the Women’s event and she fell to World Championship runner-up Raneem El Welily in Group A, but she can still qualify if she defeats World Junior Champion Nouran Gohar 2-0 and El Welily loses 2-0 to Camille Serme.
In the Men’s event, former world No.1 James Willstrop got the better of current world No.1 Gregory Gaultier to move a step closer to qualifying from Group B for the semi-finals.
The 33-year-old from Harrogate was in fine fettle throughout the clash, taking a 2-0 win which could see him qualify if he beats Egypt’s Ali Farag in his next fixture.
“If you get a result over Greg then something is clearly going well,” said Willstrop.
“Nobody is beating him at the minute and it’s difficult for me not to point out that he’s had a tough season. I know how difficult it is mentally to have to get yourself up for every tournament for a whole season.”