Squash great Nicol shown exit in final career match


Going all out: Nicol David (front) in action against Egypt’s Nour El Tayeb in the second round of the British Open in Hull yesterday. — SquashSite

Going all out: Nicol David (front) in action against Egypt’s Nour El Tayeb in the second round of the British Open in Hull yesterday. — SquashSite

PETALING JAYA: The curtains came down on Malaysia’s eight-time world champion Nicol David at the British Open squash championships in Hull, England.

The 35-year-old had wanted to call it a day at the prestigious British Open, one of her favourite tournaments and in which she has won five times.

And it ended for her in 41 minutes in the second round yesterday. Nicol lost 4-11, 7-11, 13-11, 5-11 to world No. 3 Nour El Tayeb of Egypt at the Hull University Hall.

After the 26-year-old Nour from Cairo dominated the first set, Nicol showed her ability to adapt and change as she unleashed her attacking prowess to cause trouble for the Egyptian in the second before winning the third.

But a couple of friendly bounces that went away from the Malaysian allowed the Egyptian to regain her confidence and win the match.

Nicol announced in February that she will retire when the 2018-2019 Professional Squash Association (PSA) season ends and the second-round exit in the British Open marked the end of her glittering career.

It has been more than 20 years since the squash legend mesmerised her fans with her tenacity, skills and determination en route to winning numerous titles and being voted the greatest female player of all time.

She won a record eight world titles, 81 PSA titles and held the world No. 1 spot for an unprecedented 109 consecutive months from 2006-2015.

Earlier, national squash player Low Wee Wern showed her mental strength in coping with the loss of a loved one to advance into the second round.

Wee Wern packed off England’s Fiona Moverley 11-6, 11-3, 11-6 in the first round and the 28-year-old had no hesitations in dedicating the win to her grandfather who passed away on Monday.

“This match today is for my grandpa,” said Wee Wern on her social media account.

But despite her grief, the Penangite displayed fortitude to overcome the 32-year-old Moverley, who incidently, was playing the last match of her career.

Meanwhile, Malaysia’s men’s hopes ended when both Ivan Yuen and Ng Eain Yow suffered first-round defeats.

World No. 43 Ivan gave the higher ranked world No. 30 Greg Lobban of Scotland a run for his money before bowing out 10-12, 9-11, 12-10, 4-11.

World No. 36 Eain Yow suffered an upset against home favourite and world No. 95 Patrick Rooney, losing 8-11, 10-12, 7-11.

“Ivan played well against Greg as the first three sets were very close and he could have won the match had things gone his way,” said national head coach Ajaz Azmat.

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