2016 and 2017 tournament winner Laura Massaro saw her hopes of a third consecutive title at the season-ending ATCO PSA Dubai World Series Finals come crashing down following a 2-0 defeat to France’s Camille Serme inside Emirates Golf Club earlier today.
Massaro had impressed during the opening two days of action to win both her previous pool matches and assume what looked to be a commanding position atop Group B of the event - played under a best-of-three games round robin format prior to the knockout semi-finals - but defeat to Serme, combined with World Champion Raneem El Welily’s victory over Sarah-Jane Perry, ended the English World No.1’s title-defence.
Those results meant that El Welily went through top of Group B courtesy of a superior points won percentage over Serme.
“I’m very happy with the way I played today, I managed to relax and play my shots better than the other days,” said Serme.
“Laura is such a fighter. She loves playing here and she never gives up, so until the very last point I didn’t want to give her anything.
“I was a bit upset with myself after losing yesterday, then on the other side because of the round robin format I was like ‘you still have a chance, be positive!’ I called my coach and he was telling me what went wrong in my match yesterday but you have to focus on the positive side and refocus the next day and I’m really happy reach the semi-finals.”
After her match, El Welily said: “I am very pleased to be through to the semis. It’s the second time for me to reach the last four in Dubai.
“I can’t help but feel bad for Laura, she won her first two matches but she didn’t qualify. It was a tough group and I’m just glad to be through against such tough competitors.
“Dubai is definitely a favourite tournament, we all have a great time here, we’re taken good care of and I really enjoy the crowd and the atmosphere.”
Serme will now go up against World No.1 Nour El Sherbini in the semi-final stage after the 22-year-old Egyptian defeated compatriot Nouran Gohar 2-0 to progress from the group stage with a 100 per cent winning record, while the other semi-final will see El Welily face World No.3 Nour El Tayeb after she came through a shoot-out decider in Group B.