PETALING JAYA: Malaysian squash queen Nicol David won the Australian Open for the first time in her career after duly packing off England’s Jenny Duncalf in the final at Canberra yesterday.
Playing in Australia for the first time since her defeat in the bronze playoff of the 2006 Commonwealth Games to New Zealand’s Shelley Kitchen, world No.1 Nicol was at her imperious best as she raced to a 6-1 lead in the first set.
Duncalf, the world No. 2 managed to mount a mini fightback but Nicol proved to be the superior player on the day as she eventually closed out for a 11-8, 11-4, 11-6 victory to seal her debut Australian Open title in her 700th professional match since turning pro in 2000.
It was also her 21st victory over Duncalf in all meetings and odds are now high for the Penangite to claim her sixth world title at the World Open at Rotterdam in October.
“I knew it was going to be a tough because Jenny knows my game well and we have played each other many times,” said Nicol.
“It was a good thing that I was moving well on the courts because I could not allow Jenny time to play her shots because she is very dangerous that way.”
“Fortunately good starts in the first two sets gave me a big advantage and from there I just had to stay focused and consistent.”
“Winning this Australian Open is a huge achievement because this tournament has so much history.
“There are so many big names who have won the trophy and I really wanted to win it as well and I’m pleased to have done such.”
Meanwhile Duncalf, who also lost to Nicol in the Malaysian Open final last month, admitted that her slow start cost her the match.
“I was always playing catch-up especially in the first set and winning a few points can make a huge difference.”
“Against Nicol, you’ve really got to play a string of winners because she is so agile and is a great retriever on court which makes things frustrating and difficult,” said Duncalf.
In the men’s event, Egyptian Ramy Ashour showed just why he is considered one of the most exciting player in the world when he twice came back from a set down to overcome defending champion and world No. 1 Nick Matthew of England to win his first Australian title.
The world No. 2 was forced to dig deep into his reserves before seeing off Matthew 12-14, 11-6, 10-12, 11-8, 11-4 to become the first Egyptian man to win the title.
“It was a tough match for us, both physically and mentally but I think I had the edge because he has more pressure as the world No.1,” said the 22-year-old Ramy.
“Its still great to win this title because I’ve been thinking about it a lot since I lost to Nick in last year’s final. It is also one of the biggest tournament in the world and I’m glad to have finally won it.” - theStarOnline