12:16 am
14 Jun 2024

13th Time Lucky As Grainger Ends David's Unbeaten Run In KL Final

7 Mar 2009

In a sensational climax of the women's CIMB KL Open at Berjaya Times Square in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur today, Natalie Grainger of the USA stunned defending champion Nicol David in five games - thus ending the 17-month, 56-match, unbeaten WISPA World Tour run by the world number one from Malaysia.

David - last beaten in the World Open in Madrid in October 2007, since when she has won 12 titles in succession - went into the championship as firm favourite to win the title for a sixth time.

In the final of the $53,000 WISPA Gold event, Grainger put pressure on the local heroine from the outset. The 31-year-old from Greenwich, who already had two Tour titles to her name this year, won the first game then saved a game ball in the second before eventually losing 12-10 as David drew level.

World No4 Grainger moved ahead after winning the third game - but, again, the 25-year-old from Penang struck back to force the match into a fifth game decider.

A backhand drop took the US underdog to match-ball at 10-6 - then Grainger again delivered a perfect winning drop response to a ball that David scraped off the back wall to clinch victory.

An ecstatic Grainger raised both arms aloft to celebrate her historic 11-8, 10-12, 11-7, 5-11, 11-6 upset after 51 minutes. It was 13th time 'lucky' for the WISPA President who has lost 12 times to Nicol David since last beating her in October 2003!

"I took six or seven poundings from Nicol as she is such a great champion and always closing out," admitted Grainger afterwards. "But I feel that I have been playing well the last two years, probably the most consistent of my life - and it all came together today in front of this great audience."

David had no excuses: "If you are not spot on against Natalie you are in trouble and, fair play to her, she was great today," said the former champion. "You have to accept it, I had to bring something more, but this time I couldn't get it on."

The final of the men's $50,000 PSA Tour event was an all-English affair between favourite Peter Barker and England team-mate Adrian Grant - the third seed who ousted Malaysian hope Ong Beng Hee, the defending champion, in the semi-finals.

Grant, who tumbled over his opponent in mid court in the first game of the final, was unable to reproduce the form he showed in the previous round as Barker recorded an 11-6, 11-2, 11-4 victory in 52 minutes over his fellow left-hander.

"It was a bit up and down as I had a bad slip in the first game and my right hamstring jarred," said the disappointed runner-up. "After that I wasn't so confident moving."

Barker, whose PSA Tour title tally now rises to 13, admitted that he tried to ignore Grant's setback: "I definitely noted a bit of a change in his movement after he fell. But I tried to carry on playing my own game - being steady and boringly British!"

Men's final:
[1] Peter Barker (ENG) bt [3] Adrian Grant (ENG) 11-6, 11-2, 11-4 (52m)

Women's final:
[4] Natalie Grainger (USA) bt [1] Nicol David (MAS) 11-8, 10-12, 11-7, 5-11, 11-6 (51m)