France’s unseeded Camille Serme celebrated her third successive English scalp in the Carol Weymuller Open in New York when she dethroned the defending champion, Laura Massaro, to set up a final of the Women’s Squash Association Gold 50 event—celebrating its 40th anniversary at The Heights Casino in Brooklyn—against top seed Nicol David.
Serme is enjoying the tournament of her life: Earlier upsets against Londoner Alison Waters, the world No. 4, and Yorkshire’s Jenny Duncalf, the world No. 6, took the world No. 10 from Creteil to a surprise semi where she faced her toughest hurdle, world No. 2 Massaro—the in-form title-holder.
“Camille started off the match very well and very quickly found her rhythm and was lunging well and moving Laura around the court,” explained Heights Casino Director of Squash Linda Elriani. “Laura looked unusually tentative and made some uncharacteristic errors.”
After the French underdog established a 9-4 lead to open the match, “Laura then dug deep and pushed up the court and stayed 100% focused to claw her way back to 10-9 game ball in one hand!” Elriani continued. “Camille started to look flustered for the first time, and it was looking as though Laura had finally found her groove. But a forehand boast mistake from Laura gave Camille another chance and Camille took it by the horns and came through to win the first 12-10.”
From six-all in the second, Serme rattled off five points in a row to increase her lead to 2-0.
“The third game followed a very similar pattern with Camille looking as confident as ever and not seeming to be fazed by the fact she could also take out the world No. 2 as well as the world No. 4 and No. 6! Camille was looking so comfortable on the court, and Laura was looking increasingly the opposite. It wasn’t for lack of trying on Laura’s part; it was just so difficult to impose her game on a player that was obviously feeling so good in every way. Camille came through the third and final game, 11-4.”
A delighted Serme said after her huge win: “I feel so well physically. I wonder how it is possible! I just want to say a big thank you to my physical coach as he gave me a hard program to follow this summer.
“Squash is so much mental, and if I feel well in my life then I play relaxed and focus on what I want to do on the court. I just wish my boyfriend and parents were here to share it and see how well I can play. For now, back on the bike and stretch!”
Now in the 13th Tour final of her career, but her first of the year, Serme faces the ultimate challenge—world number one Nicol David.
After a shock quarterfinal exit last year, the Malaysian star is back at her best—and reached her fifth WSA Tour final of the year, and the 87th of her career, when she beat Egypt’s No. 3 seed Raneem El Weleily 11-8, 11-7, 11-4.
“To beat Raneem 3-0 is a huge deal,” admitted 2005 champion David afterwards. “It came together at the right time and I want to bring that through to the finals tomorrow.”
A disappointed El Weleily said: “She played really well. I wasn’t as sharp as I needed to be. I should have done better, but it’s been a great tournament and I’ve enjoyed my time here. Thank you everyone for everything,” added the world No. 3 from Cairo.
Semifinals action at Heights Casino took place on World Squash Day: “It’s quite a coincidence that we have most of the best players in the world playing on our courts on this special day,” added Elriani.
“Before the semifinals began, we held a ‘Play a Pro’ event for our juniors so that they had a chance to get on court with some of the top women’s squash players. Many of the world’s highest-ranked women kindly agreed to play with our two groups of juniors: Sarah Kippax (21); Kylie Lindsay (43); Sarah Cardwell (73); Samantha Cornett (32); Aisling Blake (22); Samantha Teran (29); Victoria Lust (35); Donna Urquhart (25); and Joelle King (5).
“The juniors all had such a fun time, trying their hardest to win a point or two off the pros! Thanks so much to the WSA players for taking part in this. We really appreciate it. They are all a huge credit to women’s squash as they are so prepared to give back to the tournaments and help spread the joy of playing squash.”
 Nicol David (MAS) bt  Raneem El Weleily (EGY) 11-8, 11-7, 11-4
Camille Serme (FRA) bt  Laura Massaro (ENG) 12-10, 11-6, 11-4
Article and image courtesy of the Women’s Squash Association