Wednesday, June 12, 2024

World Open: Nicol David feels at home

Nicol David in action. Picture by STEVE CUBBINS

Nicol David’s bid to win the World Open a record sixth time carried her to a notable revenge and to the semi-finals in her adopted home country of The Netherlands.

The Amsterdam-based Malaysian overcame Kasey Brown, the sixth-seeded Australian who beat her in the US Open in Philadelphia in August, by 11-7, 12-10, 11-4 in a match which, David said, felt like a five-setter – or “possibly a six-setter.”

The pace was at times frenetic as both players looked to step forward to up the pace, but eventually it caught up with Brown as she faded in the third. Afterwards David said she thought the women’s game was improving all the time as players tried to close the gap on her.

“There’s always a challenge but every time you step up your game these girls are still coming at you,” she said. “But I look forward to every challenge.”

Her next one is a repeat of the 2009 final in Amsterdam against Natalie Grinham, who prevented an all-Malaysian semi-final by beating Low Wee Wern 11-7, 11-7, 11-5 – despite a cut to her nose requiring a ten-minute injury time out early in the third game.

The former Australian turned Dutch international returned to the court knowing that if the bandage fell off and the bleeding restarted she would have to forfeit that game and, if it were repeated, the match.

But Grinham won, as she had against the fourth-seeded Madeline Perry, because of the high quality of her front court game, and once again overcome the distraction of arriving with a pram carrying baby son Kieran and having to return to it afterwards.

The other semi-final will be between Samantha Teran, the first Mexican ever to reach a World Open semi-final, and Jenny Duncalf, the second seed from England. Duncalf had also gained revenge over an adversary as she downed British Champion Laura Massaro, her conqueror in the US Open.

She played intelligent squash working the openings against an opponent who has had a fine 2011 and was one of the dark horses for the title. Teran secured her semi-final birth with a competent straight games victory over India’s Dipika Pallikal.

The youngster appeared slightly over-awed by proceedings in the Luxor Theatre finding the tin with frustrating frequency and never really discovering the form that had seen her carve her way through the draw, however, that’s not to take anything away from Teran who was extremely business like in securing a first ever World Open semi-final.

Women’s Quarter-Finals:

[1] Nicol David (Mas) bt [6] Kasey Brown (Aus)                      11/7, 12/10, 11/4 (41m)
[12] Natalie Grinham (Ned) bt [16] Low Wee Wern (Mas)      11/7, 11/7, 11/5 (47m)
[15] Samantha Teran (Mex) bt Dipika Pallikal (Ind)                11/6, 11/8, 11/9 (36m)
[2] Jenny Duncalf (Eng) bt [5] Laura Massaro (Eng)              11/9, 11/7, 11/7 (45m)


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