Laura Massaro progressed to the semi-finals of the 2016 PSA Dubai World Series Finals after getting past Amanda Sobhy in a difficult third round encounter to top Group A in the women’s competition.
Massaro followed up wins over Nicol David and Nouran Gohar with a gritty 13-11, 11-9 win over Sobhy in a battle that saw both players with everything to play for with Sobhy needing a win to stake a claim for a semi-final spot and Massaro needing at least one game to secure her place.
With so much on the line the opening game was a tense, nervy affair with momentum swinging back and forth as the duo vied for control of the court with Massaro dominating for the main part before a huge fightback from Sobhy saw her reel off a succession of points to level the game at 10-10. The tie-break went back and forth with Sobhy in particular feeling harshly done by a few referee decisions before Massaro eventually sealed in 13-11 after 19 entertaining minutes.
Massaro enjoyed the ascendancy in the early stages of the second as well before another Sobhy fightback saw her save three match balls before an aggressive attempted crosscourt drive handed the match to Massaro 11-9 to close out a highly entertaining encounter that sees her through to face Nour El Sherbini – the Egyptian who beat her in last month’s World Championship final – in the semi-finals.
“I was a little bit results orientated instead of performance orientated tonight knowing that I needed a game but I don’t want to sound like I have sour grapes about it – I’m really happy to be through and win three from three,” said Massaro.
“That first game was one of the toughest that I have ever played because I knew that I needed one game to go through and Amanda knew she needed to beat me.
“But I think when it got to those big points I naturally back myself and up the intensity. So I was glad to get through that and play those big points well.
“Nour beat me a few weeks ago so it will be a tough match. Everyone in the semi-finals is playing well so I’ll just try and recover as best I can and make sure I’m fully focused and try to play my best.”
 Laura Massaro (ENG) bt  Amanda Sobhy (USA) 2-0: 13-11, 11-9 (31m)