World No.12 Annie Au sent former World Champion Laura Massaro out on day three of the 2018-2019 PSA World Championships presented by the Walter Family to become the first ever player from Hong Kong to reach the quarter-finals of the sport’s first $1 million tournament.
World No.7 Massaro - the 2013 World Champion - boasted a four-match win streak over Au heading into the fixture but, in the Great Hall of Chicago’s Union Station, was never able to get into the match as Au made the most of the cold court conditions, unsettling her opponent with her patented lob and drop game.
The World No.11 claimed an 11-9, 11-8, 11-4 victory in 33 minutes and she will play World No.4 Nour El Tayeb for a place in the semi-finals. El Tayeb defeated surprise package Melissa Alves to reach the last eight.
“I’m feeling really good after today’s performance,” said Au following her win.
“Laura is a really experienced and determined player, so I needed to stay concentrated throughout the whole match. If I lost my concentration, then I knew that she would fight back and give me a hard time.
“It’s the first time for me and also for Hong Kong to get into the quarter-finals of the World Championships, so I’m really thankful to all the coaches and especially to my brother [Leo Au]… who came out to support me.”
Meanwhile, defending champion Raneem El Welily and World No.8 Nouran Gohar will go head-to-head for a third successive tournament after respective wins against English duo Alison Waters and Victoria Lust.
El Welily, the current World No.1, overcame Waters by an 11-8, 11-6, 11-7 scoreline and she will look to build on a three-match unbeaten run against Gohar as she bids to reach the semi-finals for the seventh successive time.
“Playing Alison in a round of 16 is something hard to believe,” said El Welily following her win.
“I’m glad I managed to push myself after those crucial points and take the lead, but it was definitely a close match. I’m very happy to be playing at this great venue and looking forward to my next match.”