PETALING JAYA: Eight-time world champion Nicol David is definitely rediscovering her touch.
A month ago, the world No. 1 was struggling with her movements after a lengthy break following the World Championships triumph in December. She even crashed out in the quarter-finals of the Tournament of Champions (TOC) in New York last month.
On Monday, Nicol cruised into the final of the Cleveland Classic in the United States after taking just 27 minutes to beat world No. 9 Omneya Abdel Kawy of Egypt 11-8, 11-2, 11-7 in the last four.
It was Nicol’s 20th win over Omneya in 21 meetings and was in stark contrast to the five-set thriller she went through to beat the talented Egyptian during the semi-finals of the world meet last year.
The Penangite started strongly to go 5-0 up before Omneya even knew what had hit her. Nicol continued to dominate and took the first two sets easily.
Omneya, though began to play with more power and offered more resistance in the third set but Nicol stayed focused to complete a ruthless and efficient win to stay on track for her 79th professional title.
“These girls are so tough and are always out to get you. But I just have to trust that it will come together if I stick to it,” said Nicol, who is now the longest reigning world No. 1 – having held the spot for 106 months.
“A good 3-0 win for me against Omneya today. Onto the finals of the #ClevelandClassic with Raneem El Welily tomorrow,” Nicol tweeted after the match.
World No. 2 Raneem was forced to dig deep before overcoming world No. 3 Laura Massaro of England.
Raneem, the TOC champion and runner-up to Nicol in the world meet last year, recovered from an opening set loss to beat Massaro 11-13, 11-7, 13-15, 11-9, 12-10.
“I didn’t feel confident hitting the ball early, but I had to do that today,” admitted the 26-year-old Raneem.
by Kng Zheng Guan - The Star