Nicol David celebrated turning 31 yesterday with a straight-forward win over national teammate Delia Arnold in a positive start to her Hong Kong Open title defence.
Looking to put last week’s Malaysian Open semi-final loss behind her, Nicol won the first round match 11-6, 11-5, 11-5 with national No 3 Delia still to take a game off the seven-time world champion.
This was only the pair’s second meeting on the WSA Tour after the 2011 World Open but fifth in all competitions, with the last meeting prior to yesterday coming at the 2013 National Championships.
Nicol, who has won the Hong Kong Open for eight years running, next plays England’s Emma Beddoes, a 12-10, 11-5, 11-6 winner over South African Siyoli Waters, tomorrow.
In the men’s first round, top seed Gregory Gaultier of France repeated his 2011 Malaysian Open success over national No 2 Nafiizwan Adnan with an 11-4, 11-4, 13-11 win.
Delia reached the main draw on Monday with an 11-5, 11-6, 11-8 win over Hong Kong’s Elise Ng while Nafiizwan won 11-7, 10-12, 11-3, 14-12 over Australian Matthew Karwalski.
Ivan Yuen lost in the men’s first qualifying round 11-6, 11-6, 13-11 against Rex Hedrick of Australia while Zulhijjah Azan was beaten 12-10, 11-6, 6-11, 11-9 by Milou Van Der Heijden of the Netherlands in the women’s qualifying finals.
Malaysian Open runner-up Tarek Momen produced the biggest shock of the day when the Egyptian ousted third seed James Willstrop of England 11-9, 12-10, 11-8.
National women’s No 2 Low Wee Wern opens her campaign against Hong Kong's Tong Tsz Wing today.
By Devinder Singh - NST