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Massaro at full stretch

TOC Update: Massaro Digs Deep Against Aumard

World No.1 Laura Massaro was forced to call upon a wealth of big match experience and mental strength to come through her second round encounter against French qualifier Coline Aumard inside Grand Central Terminal today in an encounter that belied the gap of 35 places between them on the World Rankings.

After breezing through her first round encounter with local hero Olivia Blatchford Massaro looked on course to seal a similarly straightforward victory over 26-year-old Aumard after she dominated the first game, taking it 11-3 to establish an early scoreboard lead.

But the Frenchwoman came out firing in the second game as she upped her level and utilised her backhand volley with tremendous effect, unsettling Massaro and disrupting the 2014 runner-up, to take command of the T and level the match. Massaro returned to form in the third, relaxing and playing with penetrating length but once again found herself embroiled in a tough battle in the fourth.

Strings of points went in favour of both before Aumard edged ahead to 10-9 before Massaro showed just why she is known as one of the toughest competitors on the tour, calling on her reserves when she needed them most to save game ball and move into the last eight courtesy of a hard-earned 3-1 win.

“My backhand in particular, which is normally a strength for me, wasn’t effective tonight and I didn’t feel at my best on court but I’m very happy to come through that because winning is the important aspect,” said Massaro.

“I’m relieved and honestly just happy to still be in tournament because that’s what matters. I have a rest day now to work on the things and come back better in next match because I know I need to raise my level.

“She wasn’t at her best in the first and in the second I maybe relaxed a little bit too much. It was an awkward match, there were some traffic issues because we both like to take the centre of the court, and I was guilty of maybe thinking too much about that and getting distracted from what I needed to do.

“It was more difficult mentally than anything else but I’ll be working hard to be better on Tuesday.”

[3] Laura Massaro (ENG) bt [Q] Coline Aumard (FRA) 3-1: 11-3, 8-11, 11-2, 12-10 (51m)

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