9:39 am
17 Jun 2024

David Gets Title Defence Underway In Hong Kong

5 Dec 2013

Samantha Cornett & Nicol David in Hong Kong action

Malaysia's world number one Nicol David successfully began her defence of the Women's Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Open title when she beat Canadian qualifier Samantha Cornett in the first round of the final WSA World Series Gold squash event of the year at the Hong Kong Squash Centre.

Bidding to win her ninth title in a row, the 30-year-old from Penang notched up her 41st successive Hong Kong match win with her 11-5, 11-7, 11-4 victory over 22-year-old Cornett, the world No32 from Ottawa.

"I've seen that she's had some good results," David told www.sport-asia.com later. "Being so tall, I knew she was going to be strong volleying and she's an attacking player. I knew I couldn't give her anything and I paid the price sometimes.

"She's keen, has nothing to lose and wanted to go for any opportunities that are there. Anything in the forehand volley and backhand volley, she was just putting it in. This court is very unforgiving and when she was playing her shots I had to really keep sharp, keep solid, and I did that at the end of each game."

"At 7-7, it's always crucial, so I just focused on that rally and then the next rally, when I guess she was still thinking of the last point. I just wanted to keep that momentum and get those few points when I needed to. Then I just wanted to keep the intensity and put her under pressure, especially in the third game," David continued.

"When the pressure was on, she went a little bit too fine, too soon, and that's where I got the advantage and I took the chances. I needed to keep to my game and not fall into her patterns. I'm really pleased to come out playing well at the end of each game and win it 3/0. Everything came together well."

The top seed now faces French rival Camille Serme, the ninth seed who need four games to see off Hong Kong Open debutante Emily Whitlock, a 19-year-old from England, 11-6, 11-4, 9-11, 11-7.

Tesni Evans became the second British qualifier to reach the event's last 16 after a stunning five-game upset over Kasey Brown, the No10 seed from Australia. The 21-year-old Welsh number one, who survived a five-game qualifying finals encounter, twice came from behind to overcome world No11 Brown 10-12, 11-8, 7-11, 11-4, 11-8 in 81 minutes to reach the second round in her maiden appearance in the event.

But India's Joshana Chinappa claimed the biggest upset of the day after removing No7 seed Natalie Grinham. The unseeded 27-year-old from Mumbai despatched Dutch star Grinham, runner-up in 2007, 11-8, 11-8, 11-4.

The shock win avenged 14th seed compatriot Dipika Pallikal's surprise first round defeat 24 hours earlier.

16th seed Nicolette Fernandes provided Guyana interest in the second round for the second year in a row after beating Australian Donna Urquhart 11-7, 11-9, 12-10.

World No19 Fernandes will now line up against England's Jenny Duncalf after the No5 seed denied the crowd double Hong Kong interest in the last 16 round when she beat Joey Chan 11-9, 12-10, 6-11, 11-8.

2nd round line-up:
[1] Nicol David (MAS) v [9] Camille Serme (FRA)
[5] Jenny Duncalf (ENG) v [16] Nicolette Fernandes (GUY)
[4] Alison Waters (ENG) v [Q] Tesni Evans (WAL)
Joshana Chinappa (IND) v [15] Line Hansen (DEN)
[8] Madeline Perry (IRL) v [11] Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY)
[3] Raneem El Welily (EGY) v Nour El Tayeb (EGY)
[Q] Emma Beddoes (ENG) v [12] Annie Au (HKG)
[2] Laura Massaro (ENG) v [13] Rachael Grinham (AUS)

Official event website: www.hksquashopen.com

1st round (top half of draw):
[1] Nicol David (MAS) bt [Q] Samantha Cornett (CAN) 11-5, 11-7, 11-4 (35m)
[9] Camille Serme (FRA) bt Emily Whitlock (ENG) 11-6, 11-4, 9-11, 11-7 (42m)
[16] Nicolette Fernandes (GUY) bt Donna Urquhart (AUS) 11-7, 11-9, 12-10 (38m)
[5] Jenny Duncalf (ENG) bt Joey Chan (HKG) 11-9, 12-10, 6-11, 11-8 (45m)
[4] Alison Waters (ENG) bt [Q] Misaki Kobayashi (JPN) 11-3, 11-5, 11-5 (24m)
[Q] Tesni Evans (WAL) bt [10] Kasey Brown (AUS) 10-12, 11-8, 7-11, 11-4, 11-8 (81m)
[15] Line Hansen (DEN) bt Sarah Kippax (ENG) 11-6, 12-10, 11-9 (44m)
Joshana Chinappa (IND) bt [7] Natalie Grinham (NED) 11-8, 11-8, 11-4 (31m)