KUALA LUMPUR: World No. 1 Nicol David gave the Malaysian squash fraternity quite the scare after pulling out from the TC National Championships on doctor’s orders.
The seven-time world champion and three-time national champion was scheduled to take on Zulhijjah Azan in the quarter-finals at the National Squash Centre in Bukit Jalil on Friday.
But Nicol, who has been competing non-stop since the Malaysian Open in August, pulled out from the national meet after picking up a back pain from the Macau Open last week.
“It’s nothing serious. She complained of having a bit of pain in her back after Macau and she only managed to get an appointment with the National Sports Institute (NSI) doctor today,” said Squash Racquets Association of Malaysia (SRAM) director of coaching Allan Soyza.
“Turns out she was having a back glute strain and it was more of a precaution that she has withdrawn.”
This is, however, the first time in her career that Nicol has actually withdrawn from a tournament citing injury.
With the Women’s World Team Championship in Canada and the Women’s World Championship in Egypt scheduled for next month, it is definitely a good move for the Penangite to get some rest.
Nicol’s withdrawal means Zulhijjah received a free pass into the semi-finals where she will face 18-year-old Vanessa Raj.
National No. 2 and world No. 5 Low Wee Wern is now the odds-on favourite to win her second national title.
“It’s unfortunate and quite a shame that Nicol has pulled out because I was looking forward to a re-match after losing to her in the US Open,” said Wee Wern after a routine 11-6, 11-1, 11-3 win over 15-year-old S. Sivasangari.
“But it’s a good team decision, especially with the world teams and world meet next month.”
Wee Wern, who won the national title in 2012, will meet national No. 3 Delia Arnold in the semi-finals.
In the men’s event, defending champion Ong Beng Hee and national No. 2 Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan made the semi-finals without too much trouble.