Massaro Retains Monte Carlo Classic Crown

England’s Laura Massaro edged out Irish opponent Madeline Perry in the final of the $25,300 Women’s Monte Carlo Classic to become only the third player in the event’s 14-year history to successfully defend the WISPA World Tour squash title at Stade Louis II in Monte Carlo, Monaco.

A year ago, the Lancashire lass won the title for the first time after beating top seed Rachael Grinham 11-9 in the deciding game of a superb final – having squeezed past France’s Camille Serme in five in the first round after saving a match ball.  This time, Massaro again beat Serme in five games, with three match balls saved, in the semis – and was again taken the full distance in the final.

The top-seed Englishwoman took the first two games – and in the third saved a game ball at 8-10 down to draw level.  But Perry, the second seed from Belfast, won the next point on a stroke and soon reduced the game deficit.

The Irish player was back in business, and a succession of winners – coupled with some uncharacteristic Massaro lunges – speedily took Perry to two games all in five minutes under one hour.

The 26-year-old from Preston still had no answers as the fifth unfolded. When Perry reached 6-1, Massaro had lost 19 of the preceding 22 points.

But the favourite regrouped and began to salvage points – and soon it was six-all.  A tired Perry drive was the seventh, a driven nick the eighth and a compelling drive the ninth.  A stroke then gave Massaro match ball and a tinned drop from Perry ensured that the title stayed in Massaro’s hands, after an 11-5, 11-9, 11-13, 2-11, 11-6 scoreline.

After Monaco SRA President Dr Bruno Fissore had presented the trophies, the vanquished finalist was asked about the match. “In the fourth I was in the zone,” said Perry.  “I seemed to come up with winners which took her by surprise.  It went through until I was 6-1 up in the fifth.  For everything after that you would need a video as I have no idea what happened!

“I didn’t make a load of mistakes, it just happened, she played well and it picked up and it was all over. Though I was very disappointed to lose that way the level was very good for the most part.”

Massaro, now boasting her sixth title on the WISPA World Tour, was delighted with the outcome:  “I thought I started off playing well.  I came out faster and more aggressively.  But somehow I felt that I lost some of the aggression in the third, which could have gone either way.

“In the fourth Madeline changed her tactics; it came from nowhere and I didn’t know what to do. I tried to regroup and went 6-1 down in the fifth.  Then I got hand in and tried to keep in front of her and stay in touch.  I was aware that I had been 7-3 down yesterday and as I slowly got back I was able to relax and play a few shots without pressure.

“I am just so pleased that I managed to win but I was more shocked how I survived yesterday as today I was more positive, relaxed and enjoyed it more.”

[1] Laura Massaro (ENG) bt [2] Madeline Perry (IRL)     11-5, 11-9, 11-13, 2-11, 11-6 (73m)

[1] Laura Massaro (ENG) bt [4] Camille Serme (FRA)     9-11, 11-13, 11-5, 11-6, 12-10 (65m)
[2] Madeline Perry (IRL) bt [3] Isabelle Stoehr (FRA)     11-5, 9-11, 11-7, 11-8 (49m)

[1] Laura Massaro (ENG) bt [5] Dominique Lloyd-Walter (ENG)     11-7, 11-8, 11-2 (32m)
[4] Camille Serme (FRA) bt [6] Latasha Khan (USA)     11-5, 11-7, 11-7 (23m)
[3] Isabelle Stoehr (FRA) bt [8] Line Hansen (DEN)     11-6, 11-8, 7-11, 11-4 (36m)
[2] Madeline Perry (IRL) bt [7] Aisling Blake (IRL)     8-11, 11-5, 11-9, 11-8 (55m)

1st round:
[1] Laura Massaro (ENG) bt Lauren Siddall (ENG)     11-6, 12-10, 11-4 (35m)
[5] Dominique Lloyd-Walter (ENG) bt [Q] Fiona Moverley (ENG)     15-13, 11-4, 11-6 (31m)
[4] Camille Serme (FRA) bt Orla Noom (NED)     11-5, 9-11, 11-6, 11-9 (45m)
[6] Latasha Khan (USA) bt [Q] Victoria Lust (ENG)     11-6, 12-14, 12-14, 12-10, 11-6 (78m)
[8] Line Hansen (DEN) bt Annelize Naude (NED)     7-11, 11-5, 11-8, 11-4 (41m)
[3] Isabelle Stoehr (FRA) bt Manuela Manetta (ITA)     11-7, 11-9, 11-8 (32m)
[7] Aisling Blake (IRL) bt [Q] Linda Hruzikova (SVK)     11-1, 11-2, 11-4 (19m)
[2] Madeline Perry (IRL) bt [Q] Maud Duplomb (FRA)     11-5, 11-2, 11-6 (27m)