Nicol David of Malaysia (left) beat Frenchwoman Camille Serme in the quarter-finals of the Cleveland Classic squash meet in Ohio, US on Feb 2. - SquashSite.co.uk
PETALING JAYA: World No. 1 Nicol David delivered yet another robust performance to storm into the semi-finals of the Cleveland Classic.
Seven-time world champion Nicol, who is going for her seventh straight title, overpowered Camille Serme 11-5, 11-6, 11-6 on Sunday.
But it was qualifiers Annie Au of Hong Kong and former world junior champion Nour El Tayeb who stole the show at the Cleveland Racquet Club in Pepper Pike, Ohio.
Reigning Asian champion Annie was in top form as she made full use of her court craft to stun world No. 2 Laura Massaro of England 11-5, 12-10, 14-12.
“I was hitting at a good length today and was using my lob well,” said the world No. 13 on www.squashsite.co.uk.
“Laura’s deep game wasn’t as good as it usually is and I was able to take the ball early and I felt confident in finishing off the points.”
Annie will meet world No. 4 Alison Waters of England for a place in the final. The fourth-seeded Waters had to dig herself out of trouble, coming back from two sets down to beat Egypt’s Omneya Abdel Kawy 8-11, 5-11, 13-11, 11-9, 11-5 in the quarter-finals.
The 20-year-old El Tayeb, however, kept the Egyptian flag flying high as she produced a superb performance to dethrone compatriot and defending champion Raneem El Weleily in four sets.
El Tayeb, who is ranked No. 27 in the world, was on fire as she recovered from a first set deficit to stun world No. 3 Raneem 8-11, 11-9, 11-4, 12-10.
“I just can’t believe how well I was playing ... I was feeling pretty confident so I went for the winners which worked all day for me,” said El Tayeb.
“I practise with Raneem all the time and I learned all my shots from her, so to beat her is a real achievement indeed.”
The 2011 world junior champion, however, will face a tougher test in the semi-finals, going up against the in-form Nicol.
Earlier, the 30-year-old Penangite looked sharp as she recorded her 13th straight win over Serme to stay on track for back-to-back titles on American soil following her Tournament of Champions (TOC) triumph in New York last month.
“Camille is a tough competitor and made me work hard with a series of long rallies. But I was able to set myself up for an opening before putting the ball away and I’m happy to win 3-0,” said Nicol, who lost to Raneem in last year’s final.