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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 23 June 2018

Laura Massaro 'chuffed' to begin PSA Dubai World Series Finals title defence with win over Raneen El Welily

The English world No 7 needed to come from behind to clinch victory over the second-ranked Egyptian

Laura Massaro, right, and Raneem El Welily in action during their PSA Dubai World Series Finals match. Kamran Jebreili / AP Photo
Laura Massaro, right, and Raneem El Welily in action during their PSA Dubai World Series Finals match. Kamran Jebreili / AP Photo

Laura Massaro began her title defence of the PSA Dubai World Series Finals with victory over Egyptian world No 2 Raneen El Welily on the opening night at the Emirates Golf Club on Tuesday.

England’s world No 7 Massaro came from behind to clinch the victory 8-11 11-9 11-8 in 39 minutes.

“It was just a bit of a shock to get back to the best of three format,” Massaro said referring to the tournament’s new best of three format in the group stage.

“It was quite quick and you keep thinking the whole time, ‘Keep pushing, keep pushing,’ because you know you have only got maximum three games.

“It’s a little bit of a different feeling and it is explosive and powerful and your lungs have a different feeling to it.”

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After losing the first game Massaro regained her composure to lead all the way to level the tie with an impeccable drop shot.

“I was thinking this one game will be crucial regardless of what happens in the third,” she said. “I felt like I played OK in the first game and I felt like I had more to come. So, I tried to get that out in the second.

“I’m absolutely chuffed to get a win over Raneen. It has been well over a year and she has become world champion and playing so well.”

El Welily was playing while fasting but refused to make that an excuse for the defeat. Although said she had to learn a lot from the first game of the tournament.

“Yes, I am [fasting] but I don’t want to discuss too much about it,” she said.

“I try not to think about it to be honest but obviously it has an effect in your mindset because there is so much difference when you don’t eat as you would while preparing for a competition.

“My basic game wasn’t the best tonight. Some of the shots were loose even when I played to the back. They were too high on to the back-wall.

“Also it wasn’t about the confidence but about doing my best. I don’t think I gave my 100 per cent today. Hopefully I can give 90 per cent tomorrow and see how it goes.”

Camille Serme of France also came from a game down to defeat England’s Sarah-Jane Perry 8-11 12-10 12-10 in the other women’s match.

In the men’s event, Simon Rosner of Germany got the better of Egypt’s Karim Abdul Gawad 12-10 11-6, while Egyptian Ali Farag downed Gregory Gaultier of France 11-9 11-8.