Nicol David & Laura Massaro to meet in Final

Drexel University in Philadelphia – USA, Oct 18, 2013: Top seeds Nicol David and Laura Massaro will contest the Women’s Delaware Investments U.S. Open Championship final at Drexel University in Philadelphia after coming through contrasting semi-finals of the Women’s Squash Association World Series Platinum event, which – for the first time ever – is providing equal prize money to the men’s event.

Second seed Massaro, the world No2 from England, reached her second US Open final in three years – but needed five games and almost one and a half hours to get past surprise opponent Low Wee Wern, the No6 seed from Malaysia who ousted last year’s Egyptian runner-up Raneem El Weleily in the previous round.

Massaro recovered from 1-4 to take the first game 11-6. The Malaysian underdog was ahead for most of the second game before drawing level.

Again the next two games were shared, 29-year-old Massaro reclaiming the lead after the third and her 23-year-old seven-ranked opponent coming back from 1-4 down to take the fourth.

The Englishwoman took the lead in the decider, 3-1 then 6-4, but a determined Low brought it back to seven-all.

Massaro again took the lead at 8-7 before appealing a let which was over-ruled into a stroke for 9-7. A winning boast and a crosscourt dropshot gave Massaro the 11-6, 9-11, 11-6, 9-11, 11-7 victory after 86 minutes.

“I started well, it’s just a pity I couldn’t carry on like that for the whole match,” said Lancashire lass Massaro. “But she played well, she’s like a human sponge, she just keeps soaking everything up and you end up just having to go for something.

“It’s great to be back in the final in a big event like this. It was a long break over the summer so it feels good to be back playing these events again.”

It took less than half the time for favourite Nicol David to earn her place in the final for the second year in a row.

The world number one faced Joelle King, the No5 seed from New Zealand. Playing with her usual authority, David (pictured above in featured, left, with King) led 8-2 in the opening game. But the Kiwi world No5 mounted an impressive comeback, drawing level at eight-all before moving ahead to game ball at 10-9.

The world number one held firm though, taking the game 14-12 – and soon after wrapping up the match 14-12, 11-4, 11-6 in 38 minutes to move one step closer to becoming the first player for more than 20 years to successfully defend the US Open title.

“I started well but Joelle came back strong at the end of the first,” said David. “I told myself I couldn’t let her get that one, so I dug in, then managed to push through in the next two games.

“It’s good to be back in the final. I’ll just rest up, focus on what I need to do and go out and give it all.”

David is celebrating the 88th WSA Tour final of her career, while Massaro is marking her 25th.

RESULTS: Women’s Delaware Investments US Open, Philadelphia, USA

Semi-finals:

[1] Nicol David (MAS) bt [5] Joelle King (NZL) 14-12, 11-4, 11-6 (38m)

[2] Laura Massaro (ENG) bt [6] Low Wee Wern (MAS) 11-6, 9-11, 11-6, 9-11, 11-7 (86m). —- WSF/WSA

Laura & Low and Nicol against King line up US Open semis

Drexel University in Philadelphia, USA, Oct 17, 2013: In her first ever victory over the world No3 from Egypt, Low Wee Wern upset 2012 runner-up Raneem El Weleily in the quarter-finals of the Women’s Delaware Investments U.S. Open Championship at Drexel University in Philadelphia to ensure double Malaysian interest in the semi-finals for the first time in the event’s history.

The sixth seed from Penang, who has never before progressed beyond the first round, will meet second seed Laura Massaro in the semi-finals – joining defending champion and fellow Penangite Nicol David in the penultimate round.

Low came through a five-game thriller to progress to the last four of the Women’s Squash Association World Series Platinum event which – for the first time ever – is providing equal prize money to the men’s event.

The Malaysian (pictured above in featured with El Weleily) twice stemmed leads by third seed El Weleily before clinching her breakthrough 7-11, 11-8, 7-11, 11-9, 11-8 win in 66 minutes.

El Weleily pulled away from seven-all in the first to take the opening game. After 23-year-old Low levelled, it was the Egyptian who moved on from seven-all in the third to reclaim the lead.

The 24-year-old from Cairo looked on course for a second successive place in the semis as she led 7-4 in the fourth – but Low hung in to level at eight-all before two strokes took the match into a decider.

El Weleily’s error count suddenly increased dramatically as five tins gave the Malaysian underdog a 6-1 advantage. The Egyptian worked her way back, however, and edged ahead at 8-7.

But a successful appeal against a let turned into a stroke to give Low a 9-8 lead – then two more errors took the Malaysian into the semis.

“I feel like going back on for another game, the rallies were so hard it doesn’t feel like it’s all over,” said the jubilant winner. “It’s definitely one of my best wins, but there was no pressure on me going into the match, so I just had to stick in and that seemed to work in my favour today.”

World No2 Laura Massaro was up against surprise opponent Kasey Brown, and was eager to get revenge for the ninth-seeded Australian’s upset over her England team-mate Jenny Duncalf in the previous round.

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Brown started strongly, building up leads 5-2 and 7-3. But Massaro (pictured above with Brown) fought back to level at eight-all and moved on to game-ball.

But the England number one from Preston lost out on a video review and Brown seized the chance to take the opening game. Massaro came out strongly in the second – and ultimately controlled the next three games.

From 6-2 in the second and 7-3 up in the third, the 29-year-old soon established a 2/1 lead before closing out the match 10-12, 11-4, 11-8, 11-5 after 55 minutes.

“We hadn’t played for a couple of years, so I had to get used to how Kasey plays, and she’s playing well at the moment,” said Massaro, the 2011 champion.

“She’s very strong down the middle so I had to adjust my game to counter that and I’m happy with how I played the last three games.”

RESULTS: Women’s Delaware Investments US Open, Philadelphia, USA

Quarter-finals (lower half of draw):

[6] Low Wee Wern (MAS) bt [3] Raneem El Weleily (EGY) 7-11, 11-8, 7-11, 11-9, 11-8 (66m)

[2] Laura Massaro (ENG) bt [9] Kasey Brown (AUS) 10-12, 11-4, 11-8, 11-5 (55m)

Semi-final line-up:

[1] Nicol David (MAS) v [5] Joelle King (NZL)

[2] Laura Massaro (ENG) v [6] Low Wee Wern (MAS). —- WSF/WSA

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