Sport

Published: Friday August 29, 2014 MYT 8:59:00 PM
Updated: Friday August 29, 2014 MYT 10:44:01 PM

Nicol breezes into HK Open semis

Nicol David (right) checked into the Hong Kong Open semi-final after beating local player Joey Chan in the quarter-finals on Friday. - Filepic

Nicol David (right) checked into the Hong Kong Open semi-final after beating local player Joey Chan in the quarter-finals on Friday. - Filepic

KUALA LUMPUR: Defending champion Nicol David made short work of local player Joey Chan to seal a place in the semi-finals of the Hong Kong Open squash championships.

The 31-year-old Penangite, who recorded her 48th straight win in the Hong Kong Open, won 11-8, 11-4, 11-3 in just 27 minutes in Friday’s match.

Top seed Nicol, who is gunning for a record tenth Hong Kong Open title, will play American youngster and 2010 world junior champion Amanda Sobhy in the semi-finals.

The 21-year-old New York-born Sobhy, ranked 15th in the world, pulled off one of her best ever wins by stunning world No. 5 and third seed Camille Serme of France 11-5, 1-11, 11-7, 11-3 in 37 minutes.

Nicol, seven-time world champion and the world No. 1 ranked player since August, 2006, said that Joey, cheered by local fans, pushed her hard in the first set.

“It took me some time to get my game moving in the first set but I took control of the set to win. I thought Joey would come back strongly in the second set but she lost her focus. It is good to be in the semi-finals,” said Nicol.

Joey said that she played well in the first set but the fast pace took a toll on her.

“It taught me a few things. I know I need to work on my defensive shots in my preparation for the Asian Games,” said Joey.

Left-handed Sobhy, winner of the Hong Kong Football Club (HKFC) International Open in May, was delighted with her win over Serme.

“It was a good day. Now I can go back to school to graduate from Harvard next May.

“It’s nice to know I’m getting close to the top-ten players while I’m still at school,” she said.

“It will be great when I’ve finished my studies and go full time on the tour,” said Sobhy, who is looking forward to the clash with Nicol.

In the men’s category, Tarek Momen of Egypt came back from a set down to upset world No. 11 and eighth seed Simon Rosner of Germany 7-11, 11-4, 7-11, 11-7, 11-8 in 77 minutes.

Tarek, however, faces a tough challenge as his next opponent is world No. 1 Gregory Gaultier of France in the semi-finals.

The Frenchman, who is the European champion, had no problem packing off England’s Daryl Selby 11-2, 11-3, 11-8.

Last year’s finalist Spaniard Borja Golan, who survived a five-setter on Thursday, eased into the semis with a straight-game win over Nicolas Mueller of Switzerland 11-7, 11-9, 11-7.

Tags / Keywords: Nicol David, Hong Kong Open, squash, Joey Chan, Amand Sohby

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