SQUASH

Confident Massaro storms into Hong Kong Open final to set date with David

English player can become the new world number one, but she has to get past the sport’s greatest player first at the Hong Kong Park Sports Centre

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 05 December, 2015, 9:06pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 06 December, 2015, 12:07am

High-flying Laura Massaro stormed into the women’s final of the HK$1.9 million Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Open after sending home world number one  Raneem El Weleily of Egypt on Saturday.

A straight game win over the top seed has put the 32-year-old English player in her third consecutive world series final after winning both titles at the Qatar Classic and the US Open.

I have won the last two world series and I guess I can’t really get any more confident than I am now
Laura Massaro

Massaro lost all three of her previous encounters to the same opponent this year but this time proved too strong for Welily in a 11-5, 11-4, 11-8 win in 33 minutes.

READ: Massaro targets Hong Kong squash title

At stake will also be the world number one spot for Massaro, current ranked second in the world, when she takes on defending champion Nicol David in the special glass court at the Hong Kong Park Sports Centre.

The Malaysian hardly broke into a sweat following a quick fire 11-4, 11-5, 11-2 win over Omneya Abdel Kawy of Egypt and expects a tough battle against Massaro after losing to the English player twice this year.

The former world number one, David has won 10 times in a row in Hong Kong, including nine straight Hong Kong Open titles and one World Open title in 2005.

“The record is not on my mind and I am really happy to get into the final as there is just one last push,” said David, who acknowledged Massaro would be a difficult opponent in the final.

“But that’s just what you want. You want the challenge, you want tough competitors to go in there and play your best squash … and be the best woman.

“It all depends on tomorrow and we will see what will happen.”

Massaro, meanwhile, remained upbeat as she entered her first Hong Kong Open final after starting the season successfully this year.

“I have won the last two world series and I guess I can’t really get any more confident than I am now,” she said. “But it still means I have to play good quality squash against David.”

In the men’s event, defending champion Mohamed Elshorbagy of Egypt cruised into the final with a 11-4, 11-6, 11-9 win over compatriot Omar Mosaad and the top seed will now face giant-killer Cameron Pilley of Australia.

The unseeded 33-year-old Australian, who has not even reached a semi-final in any other world series in his 14-year professional career before, stunned second seed Nick Matthew of England with a 11-9, 13-11, 12-10 win.

“They normally say each year you play two or three times when you hit that purple patch of form and I think this week is one of those weeks. Everything feels good,” said Pilley who ousted fifth seed Simon Rosner, world champion and third seed Gregory Gaultier and Matthew, the 2013 Hong Kong champion, on his way to the final.