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Monday December 3, 2012

A perfect warm-up for Nicol

PETALING JAYA: World No.1 Nicol David delivered another excellent performance to win her eighth consecutive Hong Kong Open squash title yesterday.

It was a perfect warm-up for the 29-year-old Penangite ahead of the World Open in two weeks’ time in Cayman Islands as she scored a convincing 11-9, 11-6, 8-11, 11-7 win over France’s Camille Serme.

The match, which was played outdoors in front of Kowloon Harbour, was delayed for about 30 minutes due to rain.

But when the weather cleared and the court dried, Nicol came out looking sharp and raced to a 7-4 lead in the opening set.

The 23-year-old Serme, however, showed great determination to level at 9-9. But Nicol used her experience to force the Frenchwoman into making two errors to close out the set.

The six-time world champion easily took the second 11-6 and appeared to be cruising after leading 8-5 in the third.

But Serme refused to give up. She reeled off six straight points to take a set off Nicol for the first time in five meetings.

Serme, who slipped out of the top 10 to No. 13 in the world following a poor run of form this year, appeared to have gathered momentum in the fourth as she rushed to a 4-1 lead.

Nicol, however, had other ideas. After levelling the score at 6-6, she allowed Serme only one more point before sealing off the match 11-7 in 58 minutes.

“It was a really tough game. Camille’s young with a bright future ahead of her. I just felt old playing against her,” quipped Nicol, who has now won 40 matches on the trot in Hong Kong.

“Camille played really well and she came out firing in the third. I knew then that I had to dig deep to make sure that I win it 3-1 because you never know what might happen in the fourth set.

“Having achieved so much, right now my goal is just to keep improving and keep learning and become a complete squash player,” added Nicol.

In the men’s event, Egyptian maestro Ramy Ashour turned the tables on world No. 1 James Wilstrop of England to win 11-8, 3-11, 11-7, 11-6.

“This is my second Hong Kong title and it really means a lot to me, especially beating James who has been very consistent throughout the year,” said the fifth seeded Ashour.

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