Sport

Monday, 13 March 2017

Nicol ends 18-month title drought

She’s back: Nicol David returning a shot to Olivia Blatchford of the United States in the final of the Ciudad de Floridablanca Open in Colombia yesterday. — Squash Colombia.

She’s back: Nicol David returning a shot to Olivia Blatchford of the United States in the final of the Ciudad de Floridablanca Open in Colombia yesterday. — Squash Colombia.

PETALING JAYA: Finally, the wait is over.

Nicol David ended her 18-month title drought when she clinched the Ciudad de Floridablanca Open in Colombia.

The 33-year-old Nicol, whose last title was the Hong Kong Open in 2015, was in sizzling form as she outplayed surprise package Olivia Blatchford of the United States 11-3, 11-4, 11-8 in a rain-delayed final on Saturday.

The eight-time world champion was quick off the blocks as she raced to a 2-0 lead as world No. 27 Blatchford struggled to find her range.

The competition, which was held next to the stunning El Santisimo statue, was delayed for 40 minutes due to a sudden downpour with both players tied at 6-6 in the third set.

But the inclement weather failed to dampen Nicol’s spirit as she returned to court to emphatically close out the 30-minute contest.

It was a much needed win for Nicol who has struggled to cope with the increasing physical demands of the sport. She has not made it to a final since the Hong Kong triumph.

The win in Colombia was also her 81st PSA title from 101 Tour finals.

“It really feels great to win a tournament again,” admitted Nicol.

“It’s been quite a while and I think it is really special to have my first title in Floridablanca.

“There’s definitely a special place in my heart for this win. I’m also really thankful to the people here for hosting us ... it’s been such a special week for all of us.

“Everyone worked so hard to make this tournament happen and it’s really great to see such support for women’s squash.”

The world No. 7 will next compete in the British Open in Hull from March 19-26 before competing in the Women’s World Champion­ship in El Gouna, Egypt from April 3-14.

Tags / Keywords: squash , Ciudad de Floridablanca Open , Nicol David

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