Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Home title restores Nicol’s confidence for more glory days

Nicol David returns a shot to Egypt’s Raneem El Weleily during the CIMB Malaysian Open final on Sunday. — M. AZHAR ARIF / The Star
Nicol David returns a shot to Egypt’s Raneem El Weleily during the CIMB Malaysian Open final on Sunday. — M. AZHAR ARIF / The Star

PETALING JAYA: With her confidence restored, world No. 1 Nicol David is now looking to more glory days in world squash.

The 30-year-old Malaysian showed she was back to her best form in the Malaysian Open on Sunday.

Nicol was so clinical that she dropped only a set in the tournament – to compatriot Low Wee Wern in the quarter-finals.

In the final, Nicol gave Raneem El Weleily no room to manoeuvre to carve out an 11-8, 11-7, 11-6 win. It was sweet revenge for Nicol as she lost to the Egyptian in last year’s final.

It was Nicol’s first title on the Women’s Squash Association (WSA) Tour this season.

Prior to that, she was struggling for form. She lost twice to England’s Laura Massaro and once to El Weleily.

Nicol admitted she was pleased to finally get a title under her belt.

“It’s definitely a relief. I came into the Malaysian Open as the underdog as Laura and Raneem already got their wins over me.

“I’m just so happy and pleased to win,” said Nicol, who has now won 67 WSA Tour titles.

“The win was basically a combination of the work I’ve done with my team in Amsterdam over the summer. It was putting together all the things we’ve done.

“The hardest part of being a squash player is the consistency. With this win, I’m just hopeful that it will the start of better things to come.

“I’ve done so much hard work and training. After a strong start, I just want to push on for the next one,” she added.

The seven-time world champion will have a short break in Penang before heading back to her base in Amsterdam to prepare for two tournaments in the United States.

She will compete in the Carol Weymuller Open in New York from Oct 1-6 and the US Open in Philadelphia from Oct 9-18.

Nicol is no stranger to the Carol Weymuller Open, having won the tournament in 2005.

As for the US Open, Nicol is the defending champion. She defeated El Weleily 14-12, 8-11, 11-7, 11-7 in last year’s final.


By KNG ZHENG GUAN - THE STAR

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