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Massaro Excited for World Championship Final Showdown with El Sherbini

Massaro Excited for World Championship Final Showdown with El Sherbini

World No.1 Laura Massaro has been speaking of her excitement at reaching a third World Championship and admits it would be amazing to win the biggest title in Women’s squash for a second time ahead of her Naza PSA Women’s World Championship final clash with Egypt’s Nour El Sherbini in Bukit Jalil, Malaysia.

Massaro started the tournament slowly, recovering from a game down against Mexico’s Samantha Teran to progress beyond the opening round, but soon displayed her class as she adapted to conditions with wins over Joshna Chinappa and Omneya Abdel Kawy setting up a semi-final meeting with World No.3 Raneem El Welily.

The match was a dramatic affair that went all the way to a tie-break in the fifth, with Massaro’s famed mental resilience coming to the fore yet again as she pushed the win over the line to reach the showpiece finale where she will face El Sherbini, the in-form Egyptian who she defeated to win the World Championship crown in the 2013 edition in Penang.

“My first one was against Nicol and that was after winning 13-11 in the fifth against Raneem. The second one, I won, so 1-1 at this point. Hopefully I can do my best and leave it all out there.

“I’m really proud of myself for getting to the final, it’s my first final I think since December so I’m really happy that I found my way back to form. I know a few people get talking when you’re World No.1 and you’re not in the finals of big events. I’ve had my reasons for that and it’s really nice to be able to prove people wrong because I really enjoy doing that.

“I’m really happy to be in the final. When you’re in a big final like this, I don’t think that age really comes into it. They will have their strengths with being a bit younger, but I will have mine from being a bit older. I have definitely peaked a little bit later in my career.

“If I had been playing the level I had been playing when I was their age until I was 32, I would have worried about whether I could walk in another 10 years time. My best years have only been the last three or four years so it’s exciting for me to still be in that position.”

Massaro spoke of her admiration for Men’s England No.1 Nick Matthew previously in the tournament and she once again referenced the advice that the three-time World Champion had given her.

“It would be amazing [to become World Champion for a second time].” she said.

“Nick always says that a two-time World Champion sounds a lot better than just World Champion. He always says that every year when he adds another Nationals title to his collection.

“Firstly, I’m massively proud of myself for being in the final. Secondly, I’m excited for the opportunity. All week I have been saying that you can’t win the World Championship in the first or second round but you can certainly lose it.

“All I’ve done is given myself a chance and that’s really exciting for me.”

El Sherbini, meanwhile, heads into the final as the most in-form player on the Women’s Tour and last month became the first Egyptian female to win the iconic Allam British Open – a feat she will repeat here if she prevails over Massaro.

The 20-year-old from Alexandria beat Donna Urquhart and Annie Au, before extending her unbeaten run over home hero and eight-time World Champion Nicol David to five matches in the quarter-final. Up next came compatriot and World Junior Champion Nouran Gohar but El Sherbini was in devastating form to take her out in straight games.

The World No.1 spot is also up for grabs for El Sherbini, a distinction she will take if she wins, but she insists that she wants to win the crown for her country.

“Me and Laura have played a lot against each other and she is playing really well this tournament,” said El Sherbini.

“We always play out five games, but I’m going to keep going the way I am. I am going to give it everything and I’m sure it is going to be a good match.

“I’m sure she is going to be be okay, it’s always a tough game, so it doesn’t matter if it finishes in three or five, it’s harder on the head more than the body.

“I really want to win this tournament, for my country, for Raneem and Nouran and for everyone. I really want this badly so I am going to give it everything and hopefully it will be mine this time.”

Draw – Final: Naza PSA Women’s World Championship (To be played April 30th)
[1] Laura Massaro (ENG) v [5] Nour El Sherbini (EGY)

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