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Published: Saturday December 7, 2013 MYT 10:24:00 PM
Updated: Saturday December 7, 2013 MYT 10:29:35 PM

Nicol passes Waters test Malaysian to take on Raneem in HK final

World No. 4 Alison Waters (left) of England.

World No. 4 Alison Waters (left) of England.

PETALING JAYA: World No. 1 Nicol David is just one step away from winning her eighth Hong Kong Open title after battling past world No. 4 Alison Waters of England in the semi-finals.

A day after steamrolling past England No. 3 Jenny Duncalf in the quarter-finals, the 30-year-old Nicol was given a stiffer test by Waters.

Although the Londoner took the first set, Nicol showed her mettle to prevail 9-11, 13-11, 11-7, 11-7.

It was Nicol’s 21st win over Waters in 22 Women’s Squash Association (WSA) clashes – the only blot coming in last year’s Carol Weymuller Open.

“The second set was so important. I was leading and then she came back and I was just lucky to take it in the end,” admitted Nicol.

“That gave me the confidence and I was able to impose my game in the third and fourth sets.”

With the win, Nicol will also be gunning for her ninth title in Hong Kong since winning her first world title in 2005.

The Penangite will take on world No. 3 Raneem El Weleily (pic) of Egypt in the final. Raneem beat home favourite Annie Au 11-6, 11-5, 11-5 in 26 minutes.

Raneem is one of only two players – the other being England’s Laura Massaro – to have beaten Nicol this year.

“Raneem and I have played in so many finals and I know I just have to be very sharp from the start,” said Nicol.

“But really, I’m just pleased to come back to this fantastic venue and play in front of such a fantastic crowd.”

Raneem, who will be seeking to avenge her China Open defeat to Nicol last month, was in superb form against Annie.

“The first set was the toughest because whoever took it would have taken the match,” said Raneem. “But it is also because Annie might have been tired from her earlier matches.”

Tags / Keywords: Hong Kong Open, Nicol David

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