NICOL David and Low Wee Wern set up a US Open quarter-final showdown after the country's top two women's squash players won their respective second round matches in Philadelphia on Monday.
The two Malaysians, ranked first and fifth in the world respectively, will meet for the 13th time today with Nicol winning all their meetings so far, including last month's Asian Games final.
Nicol defeated old rival Australian Rachael Grinham for the 33rd time in 40 meetings with an 11-1, 11-8, 11-3 win in 28 meetings while Wee Wern rallied from 5-1 down in the opening game to beat Nicolette Fernandes of Guyana 11-8, 11-7, 5-11, 11-3.
Seven-time world champion Nicol never looked back after an 8-0 start to the first game against Rachael in her bid to win a hat-trick of US Open titles.
“Rachael and I have played so many times, she’s so experienced and tricky, you have to have plans A, B and C ready against her," said Nicol after the match. "I knew I had to be totally focused, and I was really pleased with my performance today."
Nicol said she is pleased to see Wee Wern making great strides this year and breaking into the world's top-five.
“It’s always tough going up against your teammate," said Nicol, who was given a fright in the Asian Games final in Incheon by Wee Wern.
“It’s great for Malaysia for us both to get to the quarter-finals. It’s nice to see Wee Wern move up the rankings as well, so I’m looking forward to a good match.
“But it’s still the quarter-finals of the U.S. Open so I’m going to put my focus in and get started strong."
Wee Wern knows she cannot afford to make a poor start against Nicol as she did against Nicolette.
“I was really struggling at the start. I just couldn’t see the ball or find any length,” said Wee Wern, who also won the team gold in Incheon.
“I was struggling through all the games really. She was playing well and putting a lot of pressure on me.”
The winner of the all-Malaysian clash will face either third-seeded Egyptian Raneem El Weleily or England's fifth seed Alison Waters in the semi-finals.
By DEVINDER SINGH - NST