Monday, 25 August 2014 | MYT 9:22 PM
Delia eager to spoil Nicol's birthday bash in Hong Kong
National No.3 Delia Arnold will take on world No.1 Nicol David in the first round of the Hong Kong Open. - Bernama
PETALING JAYA: National No. 3 Delia Arnold will be cursing her luck after she is pitted against world No. 1 and compatriot Nicol David in the first round of the Hong Kong Open.
The 28-year-old Delia hit a purple patch of form when she stunned world No. 6 Alison Waters in the first round of the Malaysian Open last week.
It was the first time the KL-based Delia had ever went past the first round and she did it in style.
World No. 39 Delia who had to compete in the qualifiers in Hong Kong, had no problems dispatching local player Elise Ng on Monday. Delia won 11-5, 11-6, 11-8 in 19 minutes.
Despite the heavily-stacked odds, Delia is ready to give it a go against Nicol, who celebrates her 31st birthday on Tuesday.
“It’s definitely good to be in the main draw again and more importantly I’m playing well again,” said Delia.
“Right now my main focus is not on improving my rankings. I just want to start playing well as I’ve not been at my best this year. The rankings will come eventually.”
“It’s definitely tough to get such a draw. I’ve never beaten her before but I’ll still give it a go as I’ve got nothing to lose.”
Nicol, who has won nine straight titles in Hong Kong since the 2005 Women’s World Open, will be looking for a quick rebound after a disappointing semi-final loss to Raneem El Weleily of Egypt at the Malaysian Open.
With Raneem opting out of Hong Kong, and world No. 4 Joelle King of New Zealand and world No. 11 Madeline Perry withdrawing due to injury, Nicol has a best shot to make the final with only France’s world No. 5 Camille Serme waiting in the semi-finals.
Meanwhile, national No. 2 Low Wee Wern will take on local player Tong Tsz Wing in the first round on Wednesday.
In the men’s event, Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan received a boost after earning a place in the main draw with an 11-7, 10-12, 11-3, 14-12 win over Australia’s Matthew Karwalski.
However, Nafiizwan is up against world No.1 Gregory Gaultier of France in the main draw.
Ivan Yuen failed to get past the qualifiers.