Thursday, May 30, 2024

Australian Open: David sees off brave Whitlock

Emily Whitlock stretches for the ball against Nicol David

David sees off impressive Whitlock

By ANDREW DENT in Canberra

World number one Nicol David of Malaysia made it through to the quarter-finals of the Australian Open with a straight games win over 17-year-old Englishwoman Emily Whitlock on Wednesday.

David started slowly but overpowered her younger opponent to win 11-9, 11-7, 11-5.

She will play Hong Kong’s Annie Au in the last eight following Au’s 14-12, 11-4, 9-11, 11-9 win over Line Hansen of Denmark.

Whitlock finished third at the recent World Junior Championships and showed no fear against her illustrious opponent, jumping out to an 9-6 lead in the first game.

However, David stepped up a gear and won five points straight to win the first game and was never headed thereafter.

“She certainly got everything going for her at the start,” David said.

“She didn’t make any mistakes and at the end I knew I just had to tighten up a little bit more and feel the ball better, and she started to make a few more errors.

“It’s nice to see a 17-year-old play like that – I’d heard about her and I was expecting a challenge today.

“It’s good that it was three-love. It was close in the first game and with this scoring you cannot let your guard down, every point is important.”

Au never looked as comfortable against Hansen, with the Dane unlucky not to win a tight first game.

Hansen had her chances throughout but was undone by some errors at crucial moments to hand the match to the Au, who won the title in 2008.

Au has faced David seven times on tour and at the Asian Games and is yet to notch a victory, but she said she would go in with nothing to lose.

“I think I will just try my best, relax and play all my shots,” she said.

“I can learn a lot from her and hopefully I can get closer to her – everybody’s got a chance.”

Australian teammates Rachael Grinham and Donna Urquhart will meet in the quarter-finals after both won tough second round matches.

Grinham downed Malaysian Low Wee Wern 11-8, 8-11, 11-4, 11-3 before Urquhart saw off India’s Dipika Pallikal 11-6, 7-11, 11-6, 11-8.

Urquhart and Grinham were part of the Australian team that won the world teams title last December and have become training partners since Grinham returned to live in Australia at the start of July.

“It’s an advantage for me because I train with her now,” Urquhart said, “but I guess it could be an advantage to her as well.

“It’s good that there won’t be too many surprises, we know each other’s games pretty well and it’s been really good to train together.”

Urquhart was in dynamic form at the beginning of her match against Pallikal, showing why she has risen to number 13 in the world over the past few months.

But after starting brilliantly she lost concentration in the second and allowed the Indian back into the contest.

However, she regrouped to regain control and move comfortably into the final eight.

“I didn’t get my length right in the second and she was all over me,” Urquhart said.

“I knew I had to get back in front of her and control the game again if I wanted to win. Today it was all about getting the right position and slowing it down, not giving her any pace on the ball.”

Grinham’s match followed a similar pattern to Urquhart as she won the first game easily, then dropped the second before regaining control and easing away.

“I made it a bit tough for myself when I lost the second game, but I settled down and started hitting some good length, rather than panicking and trying to do too much,” Grinham, the 2005 champion, said.

Second round results – prefix denotes seeding:

1-Nicol David (MAS) bt Emily Whitlock (ENG) 11-9, 11-7, 11-5

6-Annie Au (HKG) bt 14-Line Hansen (DEN) 14-12, 11-4, 9-11, 11-9

3-Rachael Grinham (AUS) bt 9-Low Wee Wern (MAS) 11-8, 8-11, 11-4, 11-3

7-Donna Urquhart (AUS) bt 13-Dipika Pallikal (IND) 11-6, 7-11, 11-6, 11-8



World number one Nicol David stamped her class on the Viridian Australian Open squash tournament in Canberra when she raced to an emphatic 11-3, 11-6, 11-2 first round win over Brisbane’s Samantha Davies on Tuesday.

David, playing her first ever Australian Open, was untroubled by Davies, who tried hard but was outclassed by the Malaysian superstar.

David now plays 17-year-old Englishwoman Emily Whitlock, who upset 15th seeded New Zealander Kylie Lindsay 11-9, 7-11, 11-4, 11-3.

Not to be outdone, world number two Jenny Duncalf of England followed David on court and was equally impressive in her 11-5, 11-3, 11-3 win over Melbourne qualifier Vanessa Pickerd.

The top women’s seeds all progressed with few problems.

Third seed Rachael Grinham beat Lucie Fialova of the Czech Republic 11-6, 11-5, 11-2, Ireland’s Madeline Perry (4) downed Malaysia’s Siti Munirah Jusoh 11-5, 11-2, 11-3 and Kasey Brown (5) was too good for New Zealand’s Amanda Cranston 11-2, 11-7, 11-3.

Other winners included 2008 champion Annie Au of Hong Kong, seventh seed Donna Urquhart and 2009 winner Joelle King from New Zealand.


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