Malaysia's formidable squash
player Nicol David today marked a tantalising trio of
metric milestones in the climax of the Women's Cathay
Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Open today -
winning the Women's Squash Association World Series Gold
title for the 10th year in a row; clinching her 50th
straight match win in the former British colony; and
notching up the 75th WSA World Tour title of her
David, the world number one
since August 2006, arrived in Hong Kong having suffered a
rare semi-final defeat in a WSA World Series event -
a four-game loss to Egypt's world No3 Raneem El Welily
in the Malaysian Open which denied the 31-year-old
from Penang a 12th successive appearance in the final of her
home country's principal event.
But, true to form, David
bounced back in Hong Kong - dropping just a single game
en-route to the 94th final of her career.
Her unexpected opponent was
Nour El Tayeb, the No16 seed from Egypt who had
resumed her giant-killing exploits last week in Malaysia to
knock down the second, fourth and fifth seeds in Hong Kong
to reach her second unscheduled World Series final in a
But, despite taking David
(pictured above in action with El Tayeb) to game balls
in the second, the 21-year-old from Cairo was unable to
penetrate the top seed's armoury as the Malaysian marched
through to a resounding 11-4, 12-10, 11-8 victory.
"I'm really pleased to win 3/0 and win in Hong Kong again,"
after her triumph in 39 minutes on an all-glass court
erected in the Hong Kong Park Sports Centre.
"Nour is an up and coming
player and she never gave up, especially in the second when
she really pressured me and played exactly to her game plan.
I had to really focus and work hard to take four points in a
row to win that game.
"It was crucial to win the
second and not give Nour confidence and play her rhythm
because she's proven why she's in these finals. I knew I
needed that second game and then took it on full speed in
the third game.
"I lost last week in
Malaysia, but I always enjoy it here in Hong Kong and it's
especially nice to win here again after last week's
"I'll head home to Malaysia
now," continued Hong Kong Open champion. "This is a good
boost for my preparations ahead of the Asian Games coming up
in South Korea."
stands one match away from a remarkable tenth successive title and a
phenomenal 50th straight victory in the former British colony after
brushing aside US number one Amanda Sobhy in today's
semi-finals of the Women's Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial
Hong Kong Open.
The world number one from Malaysia beat eighth seed Sobhy 11-8,
11-4, 11-2 in just 27 minutes on the first day of action in the
Women's Squash Association World Series Gold event on an
all-glass court erected in the Hong Kong Park Sports Centre.
The win sees the 31-year-old into the 94th WSA World Tour
final of her career.
"No doubt, she played a strong
first game," David (pictured above in action with Sobhy) said
later. "We were both finding our feet and our range on the court.
"Then it was just a matter of putting the work in in the second and
third games, and her shots didn't come in as well and she missed a
few shots she doesn't usually, so I just had to put the pressure on.
"I'm just going to be focusing on what I have to do. I just love
playing here. It raises my game and I always play my best squash.
I'm just going to go all out and leave it all out there."
David will now face event giant-killer Nour El Tayeb, the
16th seed from Egypt who reached her second successive surprise
WSA World Series final after a dramatic 11-9, 10-12, 11-2, 12-10
triumph in 47 minutes over No2 seed Laura Massaro, the
reigning world champion from England.
Tayeb marched into the semis after consecutive upsets over fifth
seed Low Wee Wern and No4 seed Alison Waters - then
shocked world No2 Massaro for the second time in ten days!
have no words to describe how I feel at the moment," said the
jubilant 21-year-old Egyptian (pictured above in action with
Massaro). "To beat Laura twice, and to reach two huge finals,
it's just unbelievable.
"I'm in the best form of my life. It's definitely the best two weeks
of my life, for sure.
understand if I won one match, but to back it up for two weeks, I
really don't know how to explain it. The furthest I was looking was
the first round!"
Sobhy Sinks Serme For Second Successive World Series
squash star Amanda Sobhy claimed "one of my best-ever wins"
when she upset third seed Camille Serme in today's
quarter-finals of the Women's Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai
Financial Hong Kong Open to reach her second successive
Women's Squash Association World Series Gold event semi-final.
The 21-year-old from New York, in her final year at Harvard
University, had never beaten Serme before. But, buoyed by a surprise
last four finish in last week's WSA World Series Malaysian Open,
the No8 seed dug deep to overcome the world No5 from France 11-5,
1-11, 11-7, 11-3 in 37 minutes.
"I was just running around and
playing too short in the second," Sobhy (pictured above in action
with Serme) admitted later. "I just had to settle down again and
I was pleased with how relaxed I was.
"I'm really happy. It's a good day and I can go back to school happy
whatever happens next.
"It's nice to know I'm getting close to the top ten players while
I'm still at school," added the US number one who currently stands
at nine in the WSA world rankings. "It will be great when I've
finished and can go full time on the tour."
Sobhy now faces a tough test in Nicol David, the top seed
from Malaysia who is bidding for a remarkable tenth successive
title. The world No1 put paid to domestic interest in the remainder
of the championship by beating surprise opponent Joey Chan,
the Hong Kong number two who ousted No7 seed Omneya Abdel Kawy
in the previous round
David defeated the 15th seed 11-8, 11-4, 11-3 to take her winning
streak in Hong Kong to 48 matches.
Egyptian Nour El Tayeb is also extending a magnificent
Malaysian Open run in Hong Kong: The 16th seed from Cairo secured
her latest scalp with an 11-4, 9-11, 11-4, 11-8 victory over
Alison Waters, the fourth seed from England.
can't believe it," said the delighted 21-year-old. "It was
completely the opposite type of game than against Wee Wern yesterday
- Alison hits the ball really hard and I was having to try to
"I'm so happy to be in the semis here. My coach has been telling me
to enjoy the game and I was really enjoying that match!"
Tayeb now faces a further English opponent after second seed
Laura Massaro survived a testing five-game battle against 10th
seed Rachael Grinham, saving a match-ball in the decider to
beat the 2002 champion 11-8, 7-11, 11-9, 5-11, 12-10 in 58 minutes.
was always in control," joked Massaro, the world No2 (pictured
above in action with Grinham). "She's in great form so I knew it
was going to be a tough match, and I think she worked out how to
play this court against Annie (Au) yesterday.
was down in two of the games I won, I just had to keep sticking in
and stay strong like I always do," added the Lancashire lass.
"I've enjoyed my matches on here this year, but it will be good to
get on the all-glass court tomorrow."
Hong Kong underdog Joey Chan claimed an unexpected place in
the last eight of the Women's Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai
Financial Hong Kong Open after despatching No7 seed Omneya
Abdel Kawy in straight games in today's second round of the
Women's Squash Association World Series Gold event in Hong
The world No23's 11-8, 13-11, 11-7 win over 2009 finalist Kawy,
ranked 11 places higher, provides solitary home interest in the
quarter-finals since compatriot Annie Au, the Hong Kong
number one and sixth seed, crashed out of the event, beaten by
Australia's 2002 champion Rachael Grinham, seeded 10.
Chan's surprise success sees the 26-year-old left-hander
(pictured above in action with Kawy) back in her country's major
Open event for the first time for three years. "I am really glad to
get through the quarters after 2011, Omneya is a really talented
player," said the 15th seed.
"Since the game was fast in pace, I just tried to take the control
at court and kept running around, and be patient on making every
attack and the rallies as long as possible."
Chan will now line up against top seed Nicol David, the
defending champion from Malaysia who was taken to four games by
Emma Beddoes before beating the 13th seed from England 11-4,
11-6, 8-11, 11-7.
just want to enjoy the match and the atmosphere and do my best,"
37 years old and competing in her 11th Hong Kong Open since 2001,
Grinham today showed that she is still a force to be reckoned with.
The Queenslander recovered from a game down to see off Au 9-11,
11-4, 11-5, 11-9 in her first win over the world No9 since July
"I thought I played really well,
but I knew I had to keep smacking the ball hard, not my usual sort
of game at all," Grinham said later. "If she gets her shots going on
this court she's deadly, she's beaten me a few times on here so I
needed to keep it fast to take her options away.
"Two years ago I'd have been happy to think I had two years left, so
now I'm just taking it month by month," added the former world
number one. "I still feel I've got the game to beat the top players,
but maybe not three or four of them in a row!"
Third seed Camille Serme made the last eight by the skin of
her teeth, saving two match-balls to hold off England's No9 seed
Jenny Duncalf 11-13, 6-11, 11-4, 11-3, 12-10 in 77 minutes.
"At two-nil down I was thinking that it couldn't be worse," admitted
the top-ranked French player. "I just tried to calm myself down and
get my tactics right, I was a bit mixed up in my head.
got lucky on the second match ball and I told myself that this is my
chance now. It's never nice to lose a match like that, I'm just glad
I was the winner today."
But there were a further upset when 16th seed Nour El Tayeb
beat fifth-seeded Malaysian Low Wee Wern 11-8, 7-11, 11-3,
7-11, 11-5 in 74 minutes.
Egyptian El Tayeb, the 21-year-old world No25 from Cairo, is
enjoying a stunning run on the WSA World Tour after reaching
last week's Malaysian Open from the position of 16th seed and
now making the last eight in Hong Kong for the first time.
"That's how it is with Wee Wern," said El Tayeb after her first ever
win over the world No7. "She sucks me into her slow pace and for
large parts of the match I just couldn't play my game! Omar [Elborolossy]
kept telling me I needed to wake up, and thankfully in the fifth I
managed to get on top again."
Au Doubles Home Interest In Hong Kong Open Last 16
Hong Kong number one Annie Au doubled home interest in the
last 16 round of the Women's Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai
Financial Hong Kong Open - and ensured two local players in the
second round for the first time for three years - when she beat
Egypt's Heba El Torky in today's first round of the
Women's Squash Association World Series Gold event in Hong Kong.
"My aim was just to get past the
first round," the world No9 said later.
"I'm satisfied with my performance today so I'll just focus on one
match at a time," added Au (pictured above in action with El
Torky), who now joins compatriot Joey Chan in the next
The 25-year-old No6 seed will face Australian veteran Rachael
Grinham for a place in the quarter-finals. Grinham, the
37-year-old tenth seed who made her debut in the 2001 championship -
and was champion a year later - defeated Mexican qualifier
Samantha Teran 11-4, 11-7, 12-10.
Egypt's Nouran Gohar celebrated her first appearance in the
championship in great style - by upsetting India's No14 seed
Joshana Chinappa, a Commonwealth Games gold medallist in
Scotland earlier this month, 11-8, 11-4, 11-7.
"She's hard to play as she has so many shots," said 16-year-old
Gohar. "But I managed to play my game, keeping the pace up and the
court helped me when I got the chance to play dropshots. It's my
first time in HK so I'm very happy to make the last sixteen!"
Gohar, the world No29 from Cairo, now lines up against No2 seed
Laura Massaro. England's world champion beat Egyptian qualifier
Kanzy Emad El-Defrawy 11-6, 11-4, 11-3.
a surprising first-ever meeting with a 17-year-old fellow
countrywoman, 16th seed Nour El Tayeb admitted to a bout of
nerves - despite arriving in Hong Kong after reaching last week's
Malaysian Open final against expectations.
The 21-year-old world No25 from Cairo took 37 minutes to see off
qualifier Mariam Metwally, ranked more than 60 places lower,
13-11, 12-10, 11-8.
was nervous through the whole match," admitted El Tayeb. "Even
though I never played her before I knew she was very good, and after
last week I want to do well again but I was trying too hard to be
relaxed and just made myself too anxious!
"It was close all the way through, I'm just glad to win in the end."
Tayeb will now take on Low Wee Wern, the fifth seed from
Malaysia who made up for the disappointment of a second round
Malaysian Open exit to beat Hong Kong wildcard Tong Tsz-Wing
7-11, 11-4, 11-2, 11-8.
"She came out strong in the first," said Low. "But after that I felt
comfortable right up to 10-3 match ball, she gave it all she had and
came back well so I was glad to get off in four in the end."
Round Top Half
Birthday Girl Nicol Celebrates Successful Hong Kong
Title-holder Nicol David gave herself a perfect present on
her 31st birthday as she successfully began her defence of the
Women's Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Open
trophy with a straightforward win in today's first round of the
Women's Squash Association World Series Gold event in Hong
The Malaysian world No1 notched up her 46th successive match win in
the championship, beating compatriot Delia Arnold 11-6, 11-5,
11-5 as she bids to clinch a remarkable tenth Hong Kong title in a
row since 2005.
Top seed David (pictured above in Hong Kong action with Arnold)
will now face Emma Beddoes, the 13th seed from England who
defeated recently-crowned South African champion Siyoli Waters
12-10, 11-5, 11-6.
Hong Kong will be represented in the second round after Joey Chan
beat Dutch qualifier Milou van der Heijden 11-3, 11-6, 11-4.
The Hong Kong number two, seeded 15 in the championship, will now
face Egypt's No7 seed Omneya Abdel Kawy for a place in the
The only upset of the day came when England's unseeded Victoria
Lust beat Nicolette Fernandes, the 12th seed from Guyana.
The pair were poised at three wins apiece in their head-to-head
record before the match - but underdog Lust defied three recent
losses in a row to the world No19 to defeat Fernandes 11-8, 11-9,
12-10 to land a place in the last 16 round.
Lust, the Canada-based world No32, will now line up against
Amanda Sobhy, the No8 seed from the USA who despatched Egyptian
qualifier Salma Hany Ibrahim 11-6, 13-11, 11-5.
Six Nationalities Survive Women's Hong Kong Open
Players from six different nations will add to the draw of the
Women's Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Open
after surviving today's qualifying finals of the Women's Squash
Association World Series Gold event in Hong Kong.
18-year-old Salma Hany Ibrahim leads a trio of Egyptians into
round one after beating Argentina's sole representative Belen
Etchechoury. The world No36 has been drawn to face Amanda
Sobhy, the No8 seed from the USA.
of the USA becomes the oldest player to make the main draw after
seeing off local hope Lau Tin Yan in straight games in just
19 minutes. The 41-year-old from Seattle is celebrating her 22nd
year on the WSA World Tour and has now competed in more than
Khan is drawn to meet England's No9 seed Jenny Duncalf in
what will be the pair's seventh Tour clash in more than 11 years.
But it is Malaysian qualifier Delia Arnold who has the
toughest task: The 28-year-old from Selangor despatched Hong Kong's
Elise Ng 11-5, 11-6, 11-8 in just 19 minutes and will now
face top-seeded compatriot Nicol David.
The world No1 is bidding for an incredible 10th straight title since
first winning the trophy in December 2005. The Malaysian pair will
line up at 5.30pm local time on Tuesday - with Nicol bidding to
begin the defence of her title with a 46th successive match win in