Defending champion Laura Massaro and World Champion Nour El Sherbini will face off for the Women’s PSA Dubai World Series Finals title in the latest chapter of what has become one of the most entertaining rivalries on the PSA World Tour.
The duo met on the final day of group stage action when Massaro was match ball up and on the verge of sending El Sherbini out of the tournament, but the 21-year-old Egyptian recovered to take the match and second place in Group B.
And now the pair will meet for the third time this season, with their head-to-head record over the past 10 months locked at one win apiece, although unlike their clash earlier on in the tournament, this match will be played over the usual best-of-five games format.
“It’s almost nice in a way to have another opportunity [to play El Sherbini] so quickly, but I think going into today’s final will be slightly different because it’s a best of five again,” said Massaro.
“We played each other two days ago, so we’re both learning and trying to adjust slightly. We’ll be trying to take the bits that went well and trying to drop the bits that didn’t.
“We’ve also both got another match in our legs from last night and when I saw Nour after my match, she said that she never thought she would play someone twice in three days.
“I don’t think I have in my career either. Obviously that hasn’t happened in the World Series Finals so far, so it will be a bit of a different dynamic and something that I’m sure we will both enjoy the experience of.”
Laura Massaro (right) during her semi-final clash with Nouran Gohar (left)
Massaro defeated World Championship runner-up Raneem El Welily to claim last year’s title and admits that a win tonight would be the perfect way to end what’s been a mixed season for the 33-year-old from Preston.
“Last year was such a good way to end the season and it is hard because you’re in a final and it is a really good achievement for me to already be in the final,” she said.
“I would be so much happier going into the summer if I can get my hands on that trophy today.
“The season has been a little bit up and down. Winning the British Open was a massive high as was the British Nationals as well, they’re never easy to win.
“I won a couple of titles as well in San Francisco and China. It’s not easy to win these titles anymore and they’re getting split around by everyone, so to win today would mean a huge amount.”
Their last meeting in a best-of-five format saw Massaro complete a stunning fightback from 2-0 down in Marche’s British Open semi-finals and it is the Englishwoman who narrowly leads the head-to-head record by six wins to El Sherbini’s four.
El Sherbini lost out to Massaro at the last four stage last year and she is determined to improve on that result this time around.
Nour El Sherbini (left) takes on Camille Serme (right) in the last four
“I don’t think that there is a better ending to the season than being in the final of the World Series Finals,” the two-time World Champion said.
“It’s been a long week for me and a tough one. I didn’t expect to get this far, but I’m really happy to be in the final.
“All of the matches were very tough, very close and I didn’t know what was going to happen. I would have loved to have reached the final last year but I lost in the semi-finals, so I didn’t know how what would happen this year.
“It’s one of the biggest and best tournaments we have. There could be no better ending than winning the tournament.”
Astro (Malaysia / Brunei)
Bein Sports (Middle East / North Africa)
BT Sport (United Kingdom)
Eleven Sports Network (Singapore / Taiwan)
Fox Sports Australia (Australia)
MNC Indonesia (Indonesia)
Now TV (Hong Kong)
Sky Sport NZ (New Zealand)
Super Sport (Sub-Saharan Africa)
Ten Sports (Indian Subcontinent)
Draw – Final: Women’s 2016/17 PSA Dubai World Series Finals
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) v  Laura Massaro (ENG)