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Saturday January 5, 2013
Reports by AFTAR SINGH
KUALA LUMPUR: You can’t keep a true champion down for too long. Not when it’s world No. 1 squash player Nicol David.
The defending champion bounced back from her shocking loss to Laura Massaro by crushing veteran Natalie Grinham of Holland to seal a place in the semi-finals of the World Series Finals at the Queen’s Club in London.
The Penangite, who lost 10-12, 9-11 to world No. 3 Massaro of England on Thursday, needed just 19 minutes to send Grinham packing 11-4, 11-8 yesterday.
It was Nicol’s 25th win over Australian-born Grinham in 31 meetings.
Nicol thus completed her Group A matches with two wins and a defeat. She beat Annie Au of Hong Kong 11-7, 11-4 on Tuesday.
Seven-time world champion Nicol started off exceptional well against Grinham, the mother of a 2-year-old boy, to take the first set in seven minutes.
However Grinham, who will turn 35 on March 16, gave a better fight in the second set but Nicol executed her shots well to seal victory.
Nicol, who has been the world No. 1 since August 2006, finished second in the group and will face world No. 9 Camille Serme of France in today’s semi-finals.
Serme has been in top form in Group B, having won her first two matches by beating Jenny Duncalf of England and Egypt’s Nour El Sherbini.
Although Nicol has never lost to Serme in their last five meetings, the Malaysian will have to be wary of the Frenchwoman this time.
Massaro also made the semi-finals from Group A despite losing to Annie 5-11, 11-7, 6-11 yesterday.
In the men’s Group A, defending champion Amr Shabana advanced into the semi-finals after registering his second win by defeating England’s Peter Barker 11-8, 11-6.
The Egyptian had upset world No. 2 and 2011 world champion Nick Matthew of England 11-6, 11-6 on Wednesday.
In Group B, Gregory Gaultier of France also checked into the last four with an 11-6, 13-11 win over former world No. 1 James Willstrop of England.
In the first match on Tuesday, world No. 4 Gaultier came back from a set down to beat Germany’s Simon Rosner 10-12, 11-4, 11-7.
Group A: Amr Shabana (Egy) bt Peter Barker (Eng) 11-8, 11-6; Nick Matthew (Eng) bt Mohamed El Shorbagy (Egy) 11-5, 11-6.
Group B: Gregory Gaultier (Fra) bt James Willstrop (Eng) 11-6, 13-11; Simon Rosner (Ger) bt Karim Darwish (Egy) 11-4, 11-8.
Group A: Nicol David (Mas) bt Natalie Grinham (Hol) 11-4, 11-
8; Annie Au (Hkg) bt Laura Massaro (Eng) 11-5, 7-11, 11-6.
Group B: Nour El Sherbini (Egy) bt Raneem El Weleily (Egy) 11-
8, 11-8; Camille Serme (Fra) bt Jenny Duncalf (Eng) 11-7, 11-4.
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