World No.1 and pre-tournament favourite Laura Massaro put young American qualifier Olivia Blatchford to the sword in what turned out to be a routine win in the first round of the 2016 Allam British Open in what was the English player's first ever match on home soil as the world's top ranked player.
Massaro lived up to her billing as number one seed as she raced in to a 6-0 lead in the first game, taking advantage of every half chance presented to her by Blatchford, and from that moment on it was all one-way traffic with Massaro closing out the game 11-2.
After a talk with her coach during the break, Blatchford entered the court with purpose as she took the opening point in the second with a series of back and forth exchanges following before Massaro eased through the gears in order to establish a 9-4 lead from what could have been a precarious position.
The third game ebbed and flowed much like the second, with points being continually exchanged between the two players. The spirited American gave it her all, but unfortunately for her, she found Massaro in a professional mood and was far too focussed to let an upset be caused.
While Blatchford can take heart from her performance, she gave too many strokes away, which made the job slightly easier for Massaro.
“It's been a crazy few months for me especially after becoming World No.1 after having been on tour for so long so it was really exciting to be coming here as the top seed,” said Massaro.
“I have so many good memories from playing in Hull and I look forward to coming back to the tournament every year. It's nice to play in front of a home crowd as well which makes it even more special so hopefully I can have a good week.
“My focus is on enjoying my squash and winning those major titles and travelling the world as part of the tour to try and create something that I can build on after my career. It feels like squash has really come together over the past few years and we're all fighting as one to generate more publicity and opportunities in the sport so it's an exciting time to be part of the PSA World Tour.”
 Laura Massaro (ENG) bt [Q] Olivia Blatchford (USA) 3-0: 11-2, 11-5, 11-6 (25m)
By James Hall