Sport

Published: Wednesday December 4, 2013 MYT 11:22:00 PM
Updated: Wednesday December 4, 2013 MYT 11:53:16 PM

Nicol stroll into second round in HK Open

Nick Matthew of England (front) beat compatriot Daryl Selby in the first round of the Hong Kong Open squash championship in straight sets on Wednesday. - Courtesy of SquashSite.co.uk

Nick Matthew of England (front) beat compatriot Daryl Selby in the first round of the Hong Kong Open squash championship in straight sets on Wednesday. - Courtesy of SquashSite.co.uk

KUALA LUMPUR: World No. 1 Nicol David took just 35 minutes to stroll past Canadian qualifier Sam Cornett 11-5, 11-7, 11-4 in the first round of the Hong Kong Open.

Seven-time world champion Nicol, who is gunning for a record eighth Hong Kong title, faces ninth seed Camille Serme of France in the second round.

Nicol had defeated Serme 3-1 in last year’s final.

Serme warded off a strong challenge from Emily Whitlock of England before prevailing 11-6, 11-4, 9-11, 11-7 in 42 minutes.

The 30-year-old Nicol has never lost to Serme in the professional circuit and triumphed in straight sets when they last met in the second round of US Open in October.

“I’m excited to play in Hong Kong as I have done well in this tournament. This is also my last meet for the year before I take a break for Christmas,” said Nicol.

“It was a good match against Sam as I got a feel of the court.

“I need to stay focused and raise my game for the next round,” said Penangite Nicol, who has won a total of 71 professional circuit titles.

Unseeded Joshana Chinappa of India created the upset of the day when she defeated seventh seed Natalie Grinham of Holland in straight sets 11-8, 11-8, 11-4 in 31 minutes.

In the men’s competition, five-time champion Amr Shabana of Egypt faced a strong challenge from qualifier Mathieu Castagnet of France before prevailing 11-6, 15-13, 11-5 to set up a date with Switzerland’s Nicolas Mueller.

Mueller had to dig deep into his reserves to overcome qualifier Gregoire Marche of France 11-8, 11-7, 6-11, 5-11, 15-13 in a dramatic 89 minutes.

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