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Massaro and Gaultier are 2016 NetSuite Open Champions

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May 1, 2017
by Brad Burke

The 2016 NetSuite Open champions have been crowned as Laura Massaro won her first title in her tournament debut and Gregory Gaultier earned a third title Saturday night at Justin Herman Plaza, San Francisco.

The women’s trophy will have a new name engraved on it after world No. 2 Laura Massaro dethroned reigning champion Amanda Sobhy in a four-game final.

The English international entered the tournament as the top seed after the women’s prize money doubled from $25,000 to $50,000 in the draw’s second year.

Massaro began her maiden NetSuite Open final with a flying start, winning the first game 11-4 in six minutes. Sobhy, who just reached a career high ranking of world No. 6 today, responded by winning a grueling second game 11-9 to level the score.

Massaro regained control in the third winning 11-8, and pulled away from 7-7 in the fourth to earn the title 11-7 in forty-seven minutes.

“I’m really happy to get my hands on the title,” said Massaro. “I don’t know how many more years I’ll be playing for it and Amanda is such a good talent coming up, so I’m glad that I managed to get one more win.

“The Tour on the women’s side is perhaps the strongest it’s ever been and it’s a great time to be part of women’s squash because of the parity that’s going on with the men. We all work really hard and I absolutely love playing in front of the crowd in iconic settings just like this. It’s an absolute privilege to play on this court and to get my hands on another title.”

Sobhy congratulated Massaro on the title and thanked Tournament Director John Nimick and Title Sponsor NetSuite for increasing the women’s prize money.

“Congratulations to Laura Massaro on a fantastic final,” said Sobhy. “I know that we both put in all of our effort, so congratulations to her. San Francisco is one of my favourite places to come to and this is a fantastic tournament, but this could not have happened without the sponsors, Evan Goldberg and NetSuite, so I want to thank them so much for including the women here and doubling the prize money for the women. That’s fantastic and I know that we’re going to keep growing this tournament. I’m looking forward to coming back here next year.”

Gaultier, world No. 2, has now won three NetSuite Open titles in the tournament’s fifth year with the NetSuite Challenge Court staged in Justin Herman Plaza.

The Frenchman edged out a close first game 11-9, and sped to a two game lead by taking the second 11-2. Willstrop recovered in the third and held three game balls late in the third game at 10-9, 11-10 and 12-11, but Gaultier fought back to claim the title 14-12 in forty-six minutes.

“I’m really happy with the way I’ve been playing this week, I’ve been playing better day after day,” said Gaultier, who didn’t drop a game the entire tournament.

“It’s really nice to see James back playing and being well after the 2/3 years he had struggling with hip surgery. I saw him play against [Simon] Rösner [in the quarter-final] and it was fantastic to see him back playing.

“The first time we played each other we were playing in the British Junior Open when we were about 15 or 16 years old. I remember we had this brutal match in the final so it’s been a long time, but it’s good to see our generation reaching the top after so many years.”