Nick Matthew and Laura Massaro book places in British Open finals


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The Independent Online

Nick Matthew and Laura Massaro both won gruelling semi-final fixtures at the Allam British Open to book their places in Sunday’s finals.

Massaro overcame Raneem El Welily 3-1 in the first semi-final of the day before Matthew won 3-2 in a titanic battle with Mohammed El Shorbaggy lasting one hour and 44 minutes.

El Welily took the first game against Massaro 11-6 but the Englishwoman came out fighting to take the next three games 11-8 11-4 11-7 and continue her bid to win back-to-back British Open titles.

After the match, Massaro said: “Defending the title would mean a huge amount. To win it once is a big honour but to do it two years in a row would be massive. I’ve made my seeded position now so I can finally play with a bit of pressure off. The crowd were fantastic today and will hopefully be just as loud tomorrow.”

Massaro will play world number one Nicol David after the Malaysian saw off England’s Alison Waters 3-1 in the other women’s semi-final.

Matthew and El Shorbaggy produced the match of the tournament so far in an enthralling encounter.

England’s world number two lost the first game 11-4 before a brutal second game saw Matthew claim a 14-12 win.

El Shorbaggy took the next 11-3 to take a 2-1 lead in games before the experienced Matthew, chasing a fourth British Open title, won the final two games 11-7 11-8.

“The pace was relentless, it was a bit of a blur and I’m really lucky to get it in the end,” an exhausted Matthew said.

“I just have to focus on my recovery. The crowd were amazing today, they were very supportive.”

Matthew will face world number one Gregory Gaultier in Sunday’s final after the Frenchman beat Ramy Ashour 3-1.