Eight-Time Champion David Bows Out After Final World Appearance
27 Feb 2019
Malaysia's eight-time World Champion Nicol David made her final appearance at the sport's pinnacle tournament after bowing out to France's Camille Serme in the third round of the 2018/2019 PSA World Championships presented by the Walter Family at the Union Station in Chicago.
David, the 35-year-old from Penang who last week announced that she will retire from the sport at the end of this season, holds more World Championship titles than any other woman, winning the event eight out of ten times between 2005 and 2014.
The Malaysian squash queen had won 16 of her 18 PSA Tour matches against Serme and started on the front foot - rising to the occasion by holding off her French opponent to take the first game. But Serme controlled the court well from that moment onwards and came back to win 9-11, 11-4, 11-4, 11-5 to deny David the chance of a fairy-tale ending.
"She beat me so many times and of course she is a legend and it's an honour to be her last match at the World Championships," said Serme.
"She's such a fighter, even in the last game, I was 6-0 up, I had really good length and she came out firing and I thought she could come back, so I had to push really hard.
"She used to be called "Duracell" because she was physically so strong, and I think that's why the top girls push themselves so hard because she was so physical. She's so fair as well, she never cheats and she will always say 'good shot', it's just so enjoyable to play against her."
David said: "It's been so great to be part of this major event. It's our first $1 million event and I got a chance to play in it, which is great.
"Squash has come a long way, so to get this far is a thrill for me. With [this being] my last Worlds, I gave it my all, I'll take whatever I got and I really enjoyed my match today."
Serme will play Joelle King in the quarter-finals after the New Zealander dispatched Hong Kong's Joey Chan - while two-time World Champion Nour El Sherbini survived a thrilling five-game encounter with USA No.1 Amanda Sobhy to end home hopes at the event.
Buoyed by a partisan crowd, Sobhy went a game up on two occasions, but El Sherbini dug in to clinch victory, displaying her title-winning credentials in a 10-12, 11-3, 4-11, 11-8, 11-7 scoreline.
"This is the third time [playing Sobhy since the American's Achilles injury] and every match is getting better and better," said El Sherbini.
"This time was the toughest one and I didn't want to leave the tournament that early, so I had to fight until the end and I'm really glad I won this one. I just tried to put the ball back deep into the corners and attack more, but I think she was also doing the same."
El Sherbini will play Welsh No.1 Tesni Evans for a place in the semi-finals after Evans got the better of world No.6 Sarah-Jane Perry, winning 11-6, 11-8, 8-11, 11-7 in 45 minutes to reach the last eight for the second year running.
Meanwhile, Germany's world No.4 Simon Rösner had a huge battle on his hands against Spanish veteran Borja Golan - recovering from 2/1 to become the first German player ever to reach the quarter-finals of the World Championships.
Rösner was tested throughout a mammoth 93-minute battle with former world No.5 Golan but came out on top to see off the 36-year-old by a 9-11, 11-7, 10-12, 11-5, 11-5 scoreline.
"I've had my best results in the US, so of course that's something that's in the back of your mind," said Rösner.
"Each point, each game and each match is different so you've just got to be at your best throughout."
Saurav Ghosal lies in wait after the Indian defeated Welshman Joel Makin, making the quarter-finals for the second time since 2013. World No.2 Ali Farag and New Zealand's Paul Coll will also do battle in the last eight after they advanced courtesy of respective wins against Egyptian pair Mazen Hesham and Fares Dessouky.
"I'm lucky that he didn't start firing in the first two," said Farag.
"I did my homework and studied him well and I think it paid off. Two of my three biggest titles have come on US soil - first with the US Open with Nour and then last month the ToC, which got me to that number one spot [in March]. I have great memories here and hopefully it's going to be a third one."