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22/11/2006
WOMEN'S WORLD OPEN
 

Defending Champion Nicol David Survives Marathon World Open Final

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Defending Champion Nicol David Survives Marathon World Open Final

In a marathon final, which Nicol David led for the first time only in the fifth game, the Malaysian world number one successfully defended her Women's World Open Championship title when she beat Australia's Natalie Grinham 1-9, 9-7, 3-9, 9-5, 9-2 at the Ulster Hall in Belfast to extend her winning run to 33 matches.

 

David, with five successive WISPA World Tour titles to her credit since losing to Grinham in the Commonwealth Games in March, was overwhelming favourite in the richest ever women's event – and arrived in the final without having dropped a game.

 

But fourth seed Grinham, who followed her victory over David in Melbourne by clinching the singles gold medal – swiftly followed by gold in both the women's doubles and mixed doubles events – raced to a 9-1 victory in the first game and a 3-0 lead in the second before the Malaysian fought back to draw level.

 

After taking the third, the 28-year-old Queenslander battled hard in the fourth – but David maintained her pressure to draw level for the second time.

 

When David sped to a 4-0 lead in the decider, it was the first time she had been in front in the match.  But the 23-year-old from Penang - being avidly supported by her parents and Malaysia's Ambassador to Ireland, His Excellency Siddiq Firdause - persevered to record her strength-sapping victory after 96 minutes, the longest-recorded final in Women's World Open history.

 

"It was so intense all the way," said a relieved David afterwards.  "I really had to work her as she worked the back court really well today – she's so fast and quick.

 

"In the fifth game, I needed to make sure I got a lead – which gave me the confidence to go forward," explained David, only the fourth player in the event's 27-year history to successfully defend the title.

 

"I'm so pleased with the way I played.  I got so emotional – but I didn't realise how much until the final shot," added David, who tearfully left the court to a standing ovation from the packed and highly enthusiastic Ulster Hall crowd.

 

The Australian runner-up admitted to being "sadly happy with the result" when she spoke later.

 

"I can't think of anything I could have done better," said Grinham junior, who was supported by a back-up team which included older sister Rachael Grinham, beaten by David in the semi-finals 24 hours earlier; husband Tommy Berden, the Dutch squash international; and new fitness coach Alistair McCaw, the Amsterdam-based South African who was back in the city of his birth for the first time for more than twenty years.

 

"I gave it all in the fourth game – I really wanted that game, but I felt I let her dictate the play.  And then she came out better in the fifth," said Grinham.

 

"I think I'm as fit as I've ever been – but I can definitely get fitter.  I didn’t think there was a big gap between us.

 

"I fought all the way to the end – but Nicol deserved that match, she ran it down.  I think I'll feel the pain tomorrow," acknowledged the world No4 from Toowoomba.

 

Nicol David now has to turn her attention on reclaiming the Asian Games gold medal from regional rival Rebecca Chiu, the Hong Kong No1 who wrested the title from her four years ago.  The Malaysian star first plans a few days' rest with her parents, who will be visiting her Amsterdam base for the first time.

 

The 2006 Asian Games take place from 10-14 December in Doha, Qatar.

 

The Picture that says it all



A victorious Nicol David hugs Natalie Grinham after their marathon final



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Draw
Round ONE
22 Nov 
BBC
Round TWO
23 Nov 
UH
Quarters
24 Nov
UH
Semis
25 Nov
UH
Final
26 Nov
 UH
[1] Nicol David (Mas)
9-4, 9-5, 9-4 (49m)
[Q] Lauren Briggs (ENG)
Nicol David
9-2, 9-1, 9-0 (25m)
 Samantha Teran
Nicol David
10-8, 9-2, 9-4 (36m)
Omneya Abdel Kawy
Nicol David
9-7, 9-1, 9-1 (46m)
Rachael Grinham
Nicol David
1-9, 9-7, 3-9, 9-5, 9-2 (95m)Natalie Grinham

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[12] Engy Kheirallah (Egy)
9-5, 9-5, 9-1 (46m)
[Q] Samantha Teran (MEX)
[5] Vicky Botwright (Eng)
10-8, 9-2, 9-5 (40m)
Isabelle Stoehr (Fra)                    
Vicky Botwright
10-9, 10-9, 9-7 (54m)
Omneya Abdel Kawy
[9] Omneya Abdel Kawy (Egy)
9-4, 9-7, 9-5 (29m)
[Q] Amelia Pittock (AUS)
[3] Rachael Grinham (Aus)
9-1, 9-5, 8-10, 10-8 (53m)
Raneem El Weleily (Egy)              
Rachael Grinham
9-2, 9-4, 9-3 (26m)
Rebecca Chiu
Rachael Grinham
9-2, 9-3, 9-6 (34m)
Laura-Jane Lengthorn
[15] Rebecca Chiu (Hkg)
C6 13.00*
Laura Mylotte (Irl)                       
[6] Jenny Duncalf (Eng)
9-7, 9-4, 10-9 (63m)
[Q] Nicolette Fernandes (GUY)
Nicolette Fernandes
9-0, 9-3, 9-2 (42m)
Laura-Jane Lengthorn
[11] Laura-Jane Lengthorn (Eng)
9-0, 9-2, 9-1 (22m)
[Q] Tenille Swartz (RSA)
[Q] Rebecca Botwright (ENG)
9-1, 10-8, 9-5 (24m)
[10] Alison Waters (Eng)
Alison Waters
6-9, 9-4, 9-0, 9-0 (48m)
Tania Bailey
Tania Bailey
9-5, 10-8, 9-5 (56m)
Natalie Grinham
Natalie Grinham
9-4, 10-8, 9-6 (45m)
Natalie Grainger
Sharon Wee (Mas)                        9-5, 9-1, 9-3 (28m)
[7] Tania Bailey (Eng)
[Q] Tegwen Malik (WAL)
9-4, 9-6, 9-5 (45m)
[13] Shelley Kitchen (Nzl)
Shelley Kitchen
9-4, 9-1, 9-4 (30m)
Natalie Grinham
[Q] Jaclyn Hawkes (NZL)
9-3, 9-3 ret.
[4] Natalie Grinham (Aus)
Kasey Brown (Aus)                       9-1, 5-9, 10-9, 9-7 (83m)
[16] Annelize Naude (Ned)
Kasey Brown
9-7, 9-0, 5-9, 9-2 (51m)
Madeline Perry
Madeline Perry
9-2, 9-4, 9-5 (32m)
Natalie Grainger
Aisling Blake (Irl)                         9-3, 9-5, 9-0 (40m)
[8] Madeline Perry (Irl)
Pamela Nimmo (Sco)                    C6 15.00
[14] Natalie Grainger (Usa)
Natalie Grainger
6-9, 2-9, 9-2, 9-1, 9-7 (52m)
Vanessa Atkinson
Dominique Lloyd-Walter (Eng)       9-2, 9-4, 9-0 (26m)
[2] Vanessa Atkinson (Ned)
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