3:12 am
15 Apr 2024

Laura Is Victor As Vanessa Is Vanquished

14 Dec 2007

England's Laura Lengthorn-Massaro pulled off a long-awaited upset over Vanessa Atkinson when she beat the former world champion from the Netherlands in the quarter-finals of the Women's Monte Carlo Classic.

The 12th staging of this popular WISPA World Tour squash event at the Stade Louis II in the Monaco capital has attracted a high-class field led by Australian sisters Natalie Grinham and Rachael Grinham, ranked two and three in the world, respectively.

It was the 24-year-old from Preston's sixth WISPA World Tour meeting with Atkinson over the past five years - with Lengthorn-Massaro losing out in all previous cases, four times in straight games.

And fourth seed Atkinson, champion of the event two years ago and runner-up in 2006, took the first game for the loss of just a single point.

However, from 4-0 up in the second, the gremlins started to assert themselves - and in one hand the Dutch star found herself 4-8 down. Errors crept in and Atkinson was unable to press her advantage.

The match ended tamely after 57 minutes with two tinned drives as fifth seed Lengthorn-Massaro claimed her breakthrough 1-9, 9-7, 9-1, 9-5 win.

"In the first game I gave her too many short rallies and her confidence was up a bit," said the Lancastrian winner. "But in the second, I kept thinking 'stay in this, extend the rallies and play deeper'. She began to give me openings and I felt I finished the match strongly," Laura explained.

Atkinson admitted to being jaded: "She seemed more up for it, battling it out and making fewer mistakes towards the end. I started quite well but my resilience is not so good at the moment. I seem to be crumbling a little rather than fighting. I guess I am a little jaded."

Lengthorn-Massaro now faces defending champion Natalie Grinham for a place in the final. The top-seeded Australian beat New Zealand's No7 seed Jaclyn Hawkes 9-4, 9-3, 9-1.

Natalie's Cairo-based sister Rachael Grinham, the second seed, also enjoyed a straight games win, ending French interest in the event with a 9-2, 9-4, 9-6 over sixth seed Isabelle Stoehr.

The reigning British Open and World Open champion now faces fellow Egypt-based Omneya Abdel Kawy after the third seed beat Mexico's Samantha Teran 9-7, 9-3, 9-6.

[1] Natalie Grinham (AUS) bt [7] Jaclyn Hawkes (NZL) 9-4, 9-3, 9-1 (38m)
[5] Laura Lengthorn-Massaro (ENG) bt [4] Vanessa Atkinson (NED) 1-9, 9-7, 9-1, 9-5 (57m)
[3] Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) bt [8] Samantha Teran (MEX) 9-7, 9-3, 9-6 (32m)
[2] Rachael Grinham (AUS) bt [6] Isabelle Stoehr (FRA) 9-2, 9-4, 9-6 (39m)