World no. 1 squash player Nicol David celebrates her birthday on Tuesday in Hong Kong where she is the defending champion.
PETALING JAYA: There was to be no birthday blues for world No. 1 Nicol David as she made a lightning quick rebound at the Hong Kong Open.
Nicol, who turned 31 on Tuesday, received a birthday cake from team-mates Low Wee Wern and Delia Arnold on Monday.
Twelve hours later Nicol, who has won nine straight Hong Kong Open titles since 2005, made quick work of national No. 3 Delia in the first round with an 11-6, 11-5, 11-5 win in 28 minutes.
It was the perfect response from the Penangite, who was not at her usual sharpness in losing to Egypt’s Raneem El Weleily in the semi-finals of the Malaysian Open last week.
The 28-year-old Delia, who notched her biggest career win against world No. 6 Alison Waters of England last week, came into match full of confidence and managed to match Nicol early in the first set.
Delia, however, paid the price for allowing Nicol too much space to manoeuvre in the front and the Penangite needed no second invitation to take the first set 11-6 in just eight minutes.
Nicol then upped the pace to take the second and third sets with identical 11-5 scores.
“I almost died out there ... her pace was just too fast today,” admitted Delia.
Nicol will now meet England’s Emma Beddoes, who recovered from a slow start to beat South Africa’s Siyoli Waters 12-10, 11-5, 11-6.
Malaysian No. 2 Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan lost 4-11, 4-11, 11-13 to world No. 1 Gregory Gaultier despite playing a strong third set.