Nicol retains Malaysian Open squash title

KUALA LUMPUR: Reigning women's world champion Nicol David successfully defended her Malaysian Open title at the National Squash Centre in Bukit Jalil yesterday. 

In front of nearly 1,000 fans, Nicol, the second seed, however, struggled to beat eighth seed, Tania Bailey of England in the final. 

Nicol won 9-4, 9-6, 2-9, 5-9, 9-3 in a match that lasted 85 minutes. 

In the men's final, third seed Adrian Grant of England took 60 minutes to defeat Cameron Pilley of Australia 7-11, 11-3, 11-6, 11-3.  

MALAYSIA’s Nicol David posing with the trophy after retaining the MalaysianOpen squash title with a hard-fought 3-2 win over England’s Tania Bailey.

Nicol who is set to regain her world number one ranking next week said: “When I came into the tournament, I was not thinking about the world rankings. I just wanted to focus on this tournament. 

“But it does feel good to be on top of the rankings again.”  

Nicol felt the crowed played a major part in helping her claim a second Malaysian Open title last night. 

“The crowd was good. It's always another high to win in front of so many people,” said Nicol. 

The men’s finalwas won by Englishman Adrian Grant. – STARpix BY KAMAL SELLEHUDDIN

“They kept cheering me on all the way. I just took that all positive things in, especially during the fifth game to help me out,” she added.  

In the match last night, Nicol started off well by pounding Bailey with hard-hitting shots to easily win the first two games 9-4, 9-6. 

However, Bailey managed to slow down Nicol with lengthy rallies to win the third and fourth games 9-2, 9-5 to force the decider. 

But Bailey ran out of steam in the fifth game as Nicol took a 5-2 lead before sealing the match with a 9-3 score-line. 

“I wish I could say that I was just taking a breather before the fifth game but I was not. Tania just made a strong comeback after the first two games,” said Nicol. 

“I never gave up, it worked out in the end for me in the fifth game,” she added. 

Bailey, who reached her first major final since the 2002 British Open said: “Nicol was really fast in the first two games. I had to mix up my shots to give myself a chance to win the match,” said Bailey. 

“It worked, but I was just too tired in the last game. It's good to know that I am now capable of challenging the top four players again,” added Bailey. 

Nicol took home US$6,650 for the win while Bailey received US$4,725. Grant and Pillley took home US$4,512 and US$3,087 respectively.  

Nicol's next tournament will be the Penang Open which starts on Wednesday. 

A STRETCH: Malaysia’s Nicol David bends low to retrieve a shot in the final against Tania Bailey. The men’s finalwas won by Englishman Adrian Grant (inset). – STARpix BY KAMAL SELLEHUDDIN

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