Nicol David (right), seen here during her quarter-final win over fellow Malaysian Low Wee Wern, will take on England's Laura Massaro in the final of the Tournament of Champions in New York on Saturday. - Squashpic.uk
PETALING JAYA: It looks like the English women are lining up to take a shot at dethroning world No. 1 Nicol David in New York.
Top seed Nicol toiled for 46 minutes to overcome fourth seed Alison Waters 11-8, 11-8, 12-10 in the semi-finals of the Tournament of Champions (TOC) on Thursday to set up an intriguing title showdown with Laura Massaro.
“It was pretty close all the way (against Waters),” Nicol was quoted as saying on the website www.squashsite.co.uk.
“I had to put the pressure on with good depth. I really found the front corners of the court today as well.
“After two rounds of play on the glass court, I always see the ball better.
“I will also face a strong challenge from Laura in the final.”
Nicol, who will be making her 90th appearance in a final, is gunning for her first TOC crown.
Massaro too had to slog for 62 minutes before prevailing 11-5, 3-11, 11-6, 11-9 over fifth seed Camille Serme of France.
Nicol and Massaro met three times last year, with the Englishwoman triumphing twice – KL Open (March) and British Open (May).
Nicol prevailed when they last met – in the US Open final last October. The Penangite had to dig deep into her reserves to win 3-2.
Massaro is clearly delighted to be in the final.
“Final day is always a big occasion, especially here in New York City where the crowd is so great,” she said.
Seventh-seeded Amr Shabana of Egypt continued his excellent form in the tournament when he stunned fourth seed James Willstrop of England 11-5, 5-11, 11-5, 11-5 in the men’s semi-finals.
Veteran Shabana, who upset world champion Nick Matthew of England in the quarter-finals, will face top seed Gregory Gaultier of France in the final.
The Frenchman had to come back from a set down to beat third seed Mohamed El Shorbagy of Egypt 5-11, 11-6, 11-8, 14-12.
The victory against Shorbagy saw Gaultier draw level with world No. 1 Matthew in the world rankings.
Gaultier can be the new No. 1 if he beats four-time world champion Shabana in the final.