HULL: World number one Nicol David suffered her most surprising defeat in four years when she lost her British Open title with a second successive defeat against England’s Laura Masssaro.
David was beaten 11-4, 3-11, 12-10, 11-7 by the tenacious and loudly supported world number two, who repeated her win over the Malaysian in Kuala Lumpur earlier this year.
It was a shock defeat for David, her first in a major event since her British Open loss to Ireland’s Madeline Perry in 2009 and raised the question of how much longer the 29-year-old will hold on to top spot.
The record-breaking seven-time world champion looked on course to win the globe’s oldest title for a fifth time when she went 10-7 ahead in the pivotal third game, only for three game points to slip away amidst the drama which included a broken racket string and a penalty point.
“I was watching Laura too much,” said David. “She was playing very well. Sometimes things don’t go your way, and all these girls are getting stronger.
“I gave her a little window and she took it. But I will be back.”
Massaro’s win made her the first home female winner of the famous title since 1991, a statistic which apparently caught her by surprise.
“I can’t believe that, but that just shows how hard it is to win it,” she said. “It wasn’t till I got to 8-4 in the fourth game that I started to think I might have a big enough lead to win it.
“Then I started to panic a bit and I felt my arm go tight. I was thinking don’t mess this up, don’t mess this up — but I guess my psychologist won’t like to hear that.”
Published in The Express Tribune, May 27th, 2013.