The British Open squash championships gave the city of Hull something to lift the mood at the weekend. The world’s most prestigious event, the final one of the season, featured an English player, Laura Massaro, on finals day, two French and one Egyptian.
Massaro had unseated world number one and defending champion Nicol David in the semis, unbelievably coming back from two games down. In the Malaysian’s territory, one of the events she targets more than most, it is difficult enough to beat her from 2-0 up, never mind down.
Nevertheless this was an epic contest and must have taken some winning.
Camille Serme, French number one, capitalised on her opportunity by dispatching surprise semi-final opponent Delia Arnold, leaving herself mental and physical energy for a strong push in the final.
She came out of the blocks the better of the two in the final, and despite some cajoling from the Hull crowd Massaro couldn’t find her feet in the first two games. Before she knew it again she was two games down. As spirited in intention as always, Massaro rallied and won the third, looked good in the fourth but in the latter stages the French girl forged a small lead. Massaro’s spark wasn’t quite there perhaps and Serme would have run through walls to win her first British Open. She closed out the game and match for the win of her career.
Mohamed El Shorbagy won his first British Open title beating Serme’s French compatriot and defending men’s champion Gregory Gaultier. Convincing matches aren’t part of the package when these two play, and this was no different. El Shorbagy confirmed his world number one status winning the fifth game 11-5 in a mammoth encounter which seemed fitting for a British Open.
Another week of squash to remember in Hull. Thanks to Dr. Allam, all at England Squash and Racketball, and the team in Hull for their support of this famous event, and long may it continue.