• Squash

Massaro crowned world champion

ESPN staff
March 23, 2014
Laura Massaro is congratulated by her coach after winning the title © Getty Images

Laura Massaro has been crowned world champion after seeing off teenager Nour El Sherbini in a tense final at the Spice Arena in Malaysia.

Massaro will have been wary of her Egyptian opponent who, despite being unseeded and only 18 years of age, had seen off world No.1 Nicol David - winner of eight of the last nine World Championships - in the semi-finals.

But Norfolk-born Massaro held off her opponents challenge to win 11-7 6-11 11-9 5-11 11-9.

The victory means Massaro, 30, becomes England's first female squash world champion since Cassie Campion in 1999, as well as matching compatriot Nick Matthew's world title in the men's game in November.

Massaro was quick out the blocks to take the first game, but Sherbini is no pushover and levelled things up. The third game saw both players trade points up to 9-9 before Massaro swooped to again take the lead.

Sherbini responded by winning seven consecutive points before going on to take fourth game 11-5. But Massaro again showed nerves of steel in a tight deciding game to claim the sport's biggest prize.

"It was an emotional battle for me today," Massaro, who will take home £12,000 in prize money, told AFP.

"I felt really nervous, but I feel this whole tournament has been based around being mentally strong and being gritty when it counts, and that's what I'm most proud of.

"I hate to lose a game because I think I'm quite hard to beat. People actually have to beat me - they are never given the game.

"It's going to be amazing going back with this title. Winning the British Open last year was huge, so it's going to be special to say that I'm both the British Open champion and world champion."

Paying tribute to Sherbini, Massara added: "She is the future of the game. I'm glad I managed to get a win while I still could."

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