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Two young Egyptians steal the show in British Open


PETALING JAYA: World No. 7 Nicol David (pic) got her British Open campaign off to a winning start but it was two Egyptian youngsters who stole the show.

While Nicol got the better of American Olivia Blatchford for the second time in two weeks, 16-year-old Nada Abbas and 20-year-old Mayar Hany sent two seeded players packing in the opening round of the British Open in Hull on Tuesday.

Eight-time world champion Nicol began her quest for a sixth British title by thumping the American world No. 27 11-7, 11-7, 11-4.

The Penangite had beaten Blatchford 11-3, 11-4, 11-8 in the final of the Ciudad de Floridablanca Open in Colombia two weeks ago – and ended her 18-month title drought.

“I’m sure Olivia has become more comfortable playing against me since our meeting recently ... she came on strongly at the beginning,” said Nicol.

“It was a pretty challenging match all the way through ... I had to stick to my game and that got me through the first two sets.

“I really found my rhythm in the last set, which provided a strong finish.

“It’s really a great start for me since this is the most prestigious tournament on the Tour ... it’s great to soak up the atmosphere on court.”

The sixth seed will have a day off before taking on Hong Kong’s Joey Chan in the second round.

World No. 17 Joey put up an impressive performance to beat 2008 finalist Jenny Duncalf of England 11-2, 11-6, 11-7.

Teenager Nada produced the biggest upset of the day when she beat last year’s runner-up and world No. 4 Nouran Gohar in an all-Egyptian opening-round clash.

World No. 45 Nada brilliantly countered Nouran’s hard-hitting style to pull off a 12-10, 14-12, 5-11, 11-8 win in 45 minutes.

“It’s a great feeling ... it’s the first time I’ve beaten anyone in the top 10 and I can’t believe it,” said a jubilant Nada, who will meet Australia’s Donna Urquhart next.

“There’s no pressure on me ... I just want to play my best. If I can play like this again, I could possibly reach the quarter-finals.”

Mayar too delivered a stunner when she beat world No. 11 Joelle King of New Zealand 7-11, 11-9, 11-4, 11-9.

World No. 33 Mayar will face 2013 champion and home favourite Laura Massaro for a place in the last eight.

In the men’s event, Hong Kong’s world No. 17 Max Lee upset the form books by ousting Egyptian world No. 7 Marwan El Shorbagy 5-11, 7-11, 11-5, 11-6, 11-6 to set up a second-round meeting with France’s Mathieu Castagnet.

squash , British Open , Nicol David

   

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