Defending champion Nicol David of Malaysia won her second consecutive HI-TEC Australian Open when she beat a gallant Laura Massaro in an enthralling women’s final in Canberra’s Royal Theatre on Sunday.
David saved six game points in the crucial opening game then overwhelmed the Englishwoman in the next two to win 17-15, 11-2, 11-6 for her 62nd title on the women’s tour.
Playing in front of legendary champion Heather McKay and with squash greats Vicki Cardwell and Michelle Martin also looking on, David showed why she is considered the greatest player of the past decade as she absorbed everything the Englishwoman threw at her before turning the screws on her opponent.
Massaro played almost perfect squash in the first game, slowing the pace down and keeping David pinned to the back of the court.
She moved to 10-8 but couldn’t convert, then had four more chances in the tiebreak, all of which David saved.
David eventually took the first game on her second opportunity then came out firing as Massaro went away from the game plan that had served her so well in the first.
The Malaysian dominated the front of the court and volleyed superbly to race to a 10-0 lead before closing it out.
Massaro regrouped in the third and again slowed the pace, but at 4-4 David won four points in a row to put herself in an unbeatable position.
“It was hard to get Laura off my back, I had to really get stuck in there, it was mentally and physically tough,” she said of the first game.
“In the second I started to get in front and was able to start serving and gaining control.
“I just knew I wasn’t letting that first game go, it was close, I’m just so glad to win it three-love.
”Massaro said she hadn’t done anything wrong in the first game.
“I just think I was a bit unlucky at the end of the rallies, I’d done everything really well the whole game trying to keep her at the back,” she said.
“I just went a bit crazy trying to finish the rally too soon on those game points.
“I was trying to think it was just one game when I went back on but obviously the way the second turned out it affected me a little bit more than I thought.
“It was probably a little bit more crucial than I thought at the time.”