Thursday October 11, 2012
Nicol digs deep into reserves to edge Waters in quarters
PETALING JAYA: World No. 1 Nicol David reconfirmed her status as the world No. 1 when she dug deep into her reserves to edge England’s Alison Waters 11-5, 11-7, 11-9 in the quarter-finals of the US Open in Philadelphia on Tuesday.
Waters, ranked world No. 8, had beaten Nicol at the quarter-finals of the Carol Weymuller Open last month and, as expected, started the match on a confident note.
But no one beats the Malaysian squash queen twice in a row and Nicol gradually stamped her mark to the take the first set 11-5.
It was a far-from-vintage performance by the 29-year-old Nicol’s lofty standards as Waters, 28, was always threatening with some dangerous shots to steal the match.
But with her coach Liz Irving by her side, Nicol was in uncompromising mood and rallied from 8-9 down in the third set to seal the win in 41 minutes.
The victory certainly made up for what had been a nightmarish September where Nicol suffered defeats in the Malaysian Open and the Carol Weymuller Open.
“Alison was always going to be up for it, having beaten me the last time,” said a relieved Nicol on www.usopensquash.com.
“So, I knew I had to start on a strong note and fight for every point to stop her from feeling that she can do it again.
“I also think I adapted to the court a little faster but Alison certainly found her touch in the third set and became more comfortable with her shots.
“I’m really glad to finish the match in three sets and, hopefully, this will be the kickstart I need for the rest of the tournament.”
The Penangite, who is gunning for her first ever US title – the only major Women’s Squash Association (WSA) title missing from her trophy cabinet — will take on New Zealand’s Joelle King in the semi-finals today.
Kiwi No. 1 King, who came through the qualifiers, pulled off her biggest career win by taking out third seed Jenny Duncalf of England in a gruelling five setter.
“I guess there was less pressure being unseeded. But I’ve been at this level for a while and came close to some big wins, so the pressure was probably all from myself,” said King, who won 8-11, 11-4, 11-3, 8-11, 11-5. In the men’s action, world No. 1 and top seed James Wilstrop was also taken the distance before beating Egypt’s Mohamed El Shorbagy 11-6, 7-11, 12-10, 8-11, 11-5 in 90 minutes.
The Englishman will face Gregory Gaultier in the last four after the French ace ended the challenge of another Egyptian, fifth seed Karim Darwish.