Home interest in the women’s semi-finals of the Allam British Open Squash Championship is already assured after No. 2 seed Laura Massaro, the defending champion from Preston, and Cheshire’s unseeded Sarah Kippax came through contrasting second round matches in the Women’s Squash Association (WSA) World Series Platinum event at The Sports Arena in Hull.
Massaro cruised to an 11-7, 11-4, 11-6 win over Annie Au, the No. 9 seed from Hong Kong to whom she had lost three times in their previous six meetings.
“To say I’m chuffed to get through is an understatement,” said the thirty-year-old who made history in March by becoming the first Englishwoman to hold both the World and British Open titles simultaneously.
“Although I can get quite fiery, I was even more fired up tonight. I really wanted to win and I had to be at the top of my game as Annie is such a talented player.
The title-holder will line up against England team-mate Kippax in Friday’s quarterfinals. The Halifax-based thirty-one-year-old maintained her 100% career record against Guyana star Nicolette Fernandes — but her sixth successive win since March 2004 was the first to go the full distance, with Kippax finally emerging victorious 15-17, 11-7, 13-15, 11-3, 12-10 after 84 minutes.
“It was a long one!” conceded Kippax (pictured above) after reaching the British Open quarterfinals for the first time at her tenth attempt. “The first game seemed to go on forever but it was a truly great match. It’s my first ever quarter final in the event, so I’m thrilled.
“It’s even nicer to play well in your home country. My sister and dad are both here as well as my husband so I’m just pleased to do well in front of them too.”
Kippax later told her Twitter followers: “I’m incredibly privileged to have been involved in one heck of a battle vs @NicoletteGuyana (complete warrior) on an amazing stage @BOSquash.”
WSA President Kasey Brown was denied a second successive quarterfinal berth after losing to Egypt’s No. 3 seed Raneem El Welily. The world No. 3 from Cairo was in blistering form as she despatched Australian Brown, the fourteenth seed, 11-5, 11-6, 11-3 to make the last eight for the third year in a row.
The fairy-tale run of England’s unseeded Emma Beddoes also came to an end today – but the gutsy twenty-eight-year-old, who ousted Egypt’s world No. 7 Nour El Sherbini in the biggest upset of the first round, staged a mighty come-back from two games down to level the match against seventh seed Low Wee Wern.
But the Malaysian held her nerve to regain control in the decider, ultimately closing out the match 11-9, 11-9, 6-11, 6-11, 11-9 in seventy-six minutes to move into her first quarterfinal.
Second round (lower half of draw):
 Raneem El Welily (EGY) bt  Kasey Brown (AUS) 11-5, 11-6, 11-3 (20m)
 Low Wee Wern (MAS) bt Emma Beddoes (ENG) 11-9, 11-9, 6-11, 6-11, 11-9 (76m)
Sarah Kippax (ENG) bt Nicolette Fernandes (GUY) 15-17, 11-7, 13-15, 11-3, 12-10 (84m)
 Laura Massaro (ENG) bt  Annie Au (HKG) 11-7, 11-4, 11-6 (31m)