Thursday, 21 August 2014 | MYT 9:37 PM

Young guns rising fast at Malaysian Open squash

Nicol (right) moved to the semi-final with a convincing 11-9, 11-5, 11-5 win over Hong Kong’s Annie Au. -SAMUEL ONG/The Star

Nicol (right) moved to the semi-final with a convincing 11-9, 11-5, 11-5 win over Hong Kong’s Annie Au. -SAMUEL ONG/The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: The younger generation of squash players continued their show-stealing act at the CIMB Malaysian Open with 21-year-olds Amanda Sobhy and Nour El Tayeb storming into the women’s semi-finals. 

It will be the first semi-final appearance in a Women’s Squash Association (WSA) Tour World Series for Sobhy, the 2010 world junior champion, and only the third for 2011 world junior champion Nour. 

A day after dispatching world champion Laura Massaro of England in the second round, Nour got the better of 37-year-old Madeline Perry of Ireland at the Nu Sentral Mall yesterday. Nour was leading 11-9, 17-15, 4-11, 9-2 when world No. 11 Perry suffered a muscle strain on her left leg and had to retire. 

“It’s really a dream for me to beat Madeline because she’s one of the fittest players around. To beat her is a real privilege because she’s been in the top 10 before I even started playing,” said Nour. 

American Sobhy finally ended the giant-killing run of world junior champion Habiba Mohamed with a clinical 11-5, 11-6, 11-7 win in a bruising encounter. 

“We’re both strong girls. I train with my brother a lot and he’s double my size so to get a little bump here and there is not a problem for me,” said Sobhy. 

“Habiba was bound to tire out eventually as she barely had any rest since winning the world juniors. I’m happy to put the pressure on her for the win.” 

Sobhy will meet Nour in the semi-finals – a repeat of the 2010 world junior championship final which the American won. 

“It’s going to be a great match. We’ve been playing each other since our junior days. She beat me in all the British Juniors while I won all the world juniors, so it will be an exciting match,” said Sobhy. 

Meanwhile, world No. 1 Nicol David stayed on coursewell in the hunt for her ninth Malaysian Open title with a convincing 11-9, 11-5, 11-5 win over Hong Kong’s Annie Au. 

“Once I got into my groove I just up the momentum. I’m happy to be winning it 3-0,” said Nicol, who will meet world No. 3 Raneem El Weleily of Egypt for a place in the final. 

Raneem, the 2012 champion, had to dig deep into her reserves before beating England’s Sarah-Jane Perry 11-4, 6-11, 12-10, 13-15, 11-6. 

In the men’s event, Malaysia’s No. 2 Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan found world No. 3 Mohamed El Shorbagy too hot to handle to crash out at the quarter-final stage for the third year in a row. 

The Egyptian outplayed the 28-year-old Nafiizwan 11-5, 11-9, 11-3. 

Nafiizwan (right) was no match for Egypt's Mohamed El Shorbagy.

Hong Kong’s Max Lee pulled off the upset of the day by beating fourth seed Karim Abdel Gawad of Egypt 15-13, 10-12, 11-6, 6-11, 11-8. 

Max will meet second seed Borja Golan of Spain for a place in the final. Golan saw off the challenge of Finland’s Olli Tuominen 11-6, 11-2, 9-11, 11-1.


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