Massaro Survives Tense Battle

England’s world champion, Laura Massaro is through to the quarter-finals of the Commonwealth Games but in a gripping and tense affair that earned a standing ovation from the Scottish crowd she used all her grit and determination to come through a pulsating fourth game to win 11-7, 7-11, 11-4, 15-13 against the no.11 seed Nicolette Fernandes.

“I am pleased with how I closed it out in the end,” said Massaro. “You are playing for England, you are not just out there for yourself.”

In truth she hung on as the Guyanese fought back, dived around the court – at one stage diving to retrieve to a loud ‘ohh’ from the 2, 000 spectators who then applauded mid-rally as she recovered and played on.

Fernandes came back from 10-9 down, saved two matchballs, earned two gameballs of her own but finally Massaro’s clinical driving just clinched it.

“She was playing for her country too,” said Massaro. “This [event] has a different feel. The crowd came out for her. She is so gritty and they like all the diving around.”

“She played well. It was tough for me. It was not my best squash but I was determined to keep going. I will need to raise my game if I want to stay in this tournament.”

And then she added: “I would love to add a Commonwealth Games title to my collection.”

England’s National Champion Alison Water also had a battle on her hands against the 37-year-old four-time British Open champion Rachael Grinham.

“I’ve had some big battles with her and she took the game to me. I had to pull something out there, I managed to stick with it and show a bit of courage and got through in the end which was good.”

“I had to dig deep in the third,” she said in what was a serious challenge. It was a game apiece with the Australian on game-ball 10-7. Waters saved four game-balls there and pushed on from 8-all in the fourth before winning 11-5, 2-11, 14-12, 11-9 in 49 minutes.

Earlier England’s other representative in the women’s singles competition Jenny Duncalf saw off the improving Canadian Sam Cornett in straight games to earn a quarter-final place and an outing against the no.1 seed Nicol David of Malaysia.

Second seed in the men’s event James Willstrop joins his England colleagues. He had a comfortable enough win over the New Zealander Martin Knight 11-5, 11-5, 11-5. In the quarterfinals he will face Ivan Yuen, the fifteenth seed, who surprised with an upset win over no.6 seed Alister Walter, the former England international now domiciled in New York and playing under the Botswana flag.

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