Updated: Saturday, 17 May 2014 01:56 | By Agence France-Presse

Massaro takes British Open defence into semis

Laura Massaro, who has unexpectedly developed into the biggest threat to Nicol David's long-term supremacy of the women's game, carried her defence of the British Open title tenaciously into the semi-finals.


Massaro takes British Open defence into semis

England's Laura Massaro in action at the Spice Arena in Georgetown on March 22, 2014

Massaro, the only English woman ever to be both World and British Open champion, now has some of the pressure of expectations from which the Malaysian constantly suffers, but overcame her tension and her compatriot Sarah Kippax in a straight games win.

There were moments in the second game, during which the mobile Kippax established a five-point lead, when Massaro had to make extra efforts to control her emotions. But her ultimate success in doing so was well reflected by the 11-8, 12-10, 11-8 score-line.

"I have not dropped a game so far, so I must be doing okay," Massaro said. "I wasn't quite as focussed as in the last round (against Annie Au of Hong Kong) but then there was a physical side to it this time.

"It's always difficult playing Sarah because she gets a lot of balls back. But I got my tactics right. You have to be more clinical. I'm just pleased to get through."

Being more clinical involved looking for volleys to cut off Kippax's cross court balls, getting the ball to a wall-clinging line when she played it short, and hitting with extra pace and accuracy when she forced Kippax to move from the front to the back.

Her task was perhaps made slightly more difficult that the local Yorkshire crowd was pleased to support the Yorkshirewoman Kippax against the Lancastrian Massaro in a mini-war of the roses.

A vital rally came at 8-8 in the third game, when Kippax still looked as though she had the movement and desire to extend it into a very long match.

But Massaro conducted a tight little top left corner exchange with great deftness, eventually creating enough room for a telling drive which opened up the court and carried her to within two points of victory.

She followed it with a drive-drop combination to reach match point, and a neat counter-drop winner from another top left exchange to finish it off.

"I feel happy with where I am," Massaro said, who next plays Raneem El Weleily, whom she beat in last year's semi-finals and in the semis of both the last two world championships.

These results however may serve to increase the focus of the third-seeded Egyptian, who has exceptional racket skills, and who looked impressive in an 11-5, 11-6, 11-8 win over Low Wee Wern, the seventh seeded Malaysian.

The leading Malaysian, Nicol David, who hopes to win the famous title back, was due to meet Egypt's Omneya Abdel Kawy in a repeat of the 2010 world final in an evening quarter-final.

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