KUALA LUMPUR: It will be an all-Egyptian final after world No. 1 Nicol David’s hopes of making every CIMB Malaysian Open final since 2003 went up in smoke at the Nu Sentral mall on Friday.
Eight-time winner Nicol had no reply to an extremely sharp Raneem El Weleily as she blew a one-set advantage to lose 11-7, 6-11, 8-11, 11-13.
It is the second time this year that the Penangite had lost in the semi-finals on home ground, She lost to another Egyptian, Nour El Sherbini, in the Women’s World Championships in March.
Nicol got off to a great start taking the first set 11-7 picking up six points on the trot as world No. 3 Raneem struggled.
Raneem, who had defeated Nicol in the 2012 Malaysian Open final, however came back with shots off the side wall to take the second set 11-6.
It was tight in the third set but Raneem somehow managed to squeezed through.
In the fourth, Nicol saved a match ball from 9-10 down but a backhand volley error handed Raneem a sensational win after 52 minutes.
“It’s disappointing to lose especially in the Malaysian Open where I really wanted to do well but Raneem was simply flawless today,” said Nicol.
“The first set went well for me but Raneem really kept it tight and she had control the whole time.
“Fairplay to her, she deserves this win because she was the better player today,” added Nicol, who will compete in the Hong Kong Open on Sunday.
Meanwhile, an elated Raneem, whose last title was the Cleveland Classic last year where she beat Nicol, was pleased with the way she rediscovered her appetite for the game.
“I think I lost my way a little recently, and my head was a mess. I was trying to work that out and getting married (to Tarek Momen) in June kept me busy,” said Raneem.
“I’m really happy with the way I won today because it was not easy at all. With Nicol, being patient is not enough and I had to make the right shots too which I did.”
Raneem will face Nour El Tayeb – the world No. 25 whom she described as a ‘sister’ in the final.
The 21-year-old Nour kept American 10th seed Amanda Sobhy extremely quiet in a 11-9, 11-9, 11-2 win.