11:14 pm
24 May 2024

Nicol David Wins Fourth World Open Title

27 Sep 2009

Defending champion Nicol David destroyed Dutch dreams of local success in the Forexx Women's World Open Squash 2009 when she beat Netherlands number one Natalie Grinham in today's final of the $118,000 WISPA World Tour event at Frans Otten Stadion in Amsterdam.

The Amsterdam-based Malaysian now becomes only the third player in the history of the championships to win four titles, alongside Australia's Sarah Fitz-Gerald and New Zealander Susan Devoy.

But it was second seed Natalie Grinham, showing the form of her life in these championships, who set the early pace in the 30th international meeting of their career - dropping just three points en-route to taking the first game.

Midway through the second game, it was again Grinham who looked to be heading to victory - a win which would have been her first over the long-time world number one since April 2007, and one which would have reduced the 22-7 head-to-head lead that Nicol had as the pair took to the court.

But the balance of play swung towards the favourite at 7-6 up in the second: David won the next four points to draw level, and soon established a 7-1 lead in the third.

Grinham, the former Australian who became a Dutch national last year, snatched a further two points before David again rattled off four points in a row to lead 2/1.

Thought by many to be hot favourite to win the title for the first time in her fourth final, Grinham established leads of 4-1, 6-3 and 8-6 in the fourth game - but a determined David just didn't give up.

Two lengthy and crucial rallies saw the score move to eight-all - then two winners from David followed by a miss-hit by Grinham took David to match-ball at 10-8.

Seconds later, referee Chris Sinclair awarded the Malaysian a stroke - and Nicol David raised her arms in delight and relief to celebrate her astonishing 3-11, 11-6, 11-3, 11-8 title triumph after 51 minutes.

"I knew it was going to be tough - I felt those eight-all and nine-all points were so crucial," said the new champion, former winner of the crown in 2005, 2006 and 2008.

"I needed that second game. After she won the first, I just didn't want her to get any more confidence.

"I just knew that the rallies would go on and on."

Nicol David, the 26-year-old from Penang who this month became the third longest holder of the world number one ranking of all-time, arrived in Amsterdam with her invincibility slightly shattered after losing in the quarter-finals of the British Open.

"To come back from last week and win my fourth world title means a lot to me," added David.

"I'm so happy. I just don't know what to say."

Natalie Grinham was clearly devastated by the defeat: "I'm still thinking about the game," said the 31-year-old from Almere shortly afterwards. "I wish there was more to play.

"When I think of how sick I was at the start of the year, being able to get a silver medal in the worlds is a great achievement in a way - I'm really delighted to be competing again at such a high level.

"But I've been second three times already, and I didn't come here to be second again, so of course I'm disappointed.

"I thought I was definitely up there."

[1] Nicol David (MAS) bt [2] Natalie Grinham (NED) 3-11, 11-6, 11-3, 11-8 (51m)