Massaro triumphs in Manchester opener

Laura Massaro on her way to a first-round victory
Laura Massaro on her way to a first-round victory
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Chorley’s England No.1 Laura Massaro overcame Belgium’s Nele Gilis in a comfortable three-game salvo at Manchester’s National Squash Centre to book her place in round three of the 2017 Women’s AJ Bell PSA World Championships.

Massaro, the 2013 World Champion, was ruthless against the Belgian qualifier as she gave her little room to attack.

And 11-4 victories in games one and three book-ended a tighter 11-7 triumph in the second to send the 34-year-old Lancastrian through to round two.

The World No.4 will take on Tesni Evans of Wales in the next round in what will be a repeat of their quarter-final clash at last month’s Hong Kong Open.

“It just felt really good to get my World Championships under way,” said Massaro.

“With all the build-up and with it being in Manchester, I’ve been asked a lot of questions about the event, not only for the last few weeks but the last few months, so it was great to get it going.

“I’ve got to be careful it doesn’t feel too homely, like I’m just rocking up for a practice match, so it was nice to have some home support and I’m sure it’ll be the same again in the next round.”

Defending champion Nour El Sherbini was also in action and she dispatched Australia’s Donna Urquhart in straight games as she kick-started her attempts to lift a third World Championship title.

“We just played in Hong Kong in the second round,” said El Sherbini following the match.

“I’m just trying to focus on my game and my squash more and not put any pressure on myself and try to enjoy the game. I’m going to do my best and whatever happens it’s not the end of the world.”