SQUASH / AUSTRALIAN OPEN: Nicol powers into last eight
NICOL David was back to her usual dominating self after a quick-fire win over national teammate Low Wee Wern to sail into the quarter-finals of the Australian Open in Canberra yesterday.
Having being given a fright by Welsh qualifier Tesni Evans in the first round on Wednesday, Nicol never took her foot off the pedal against Wee Wern to secure an 11-4, 11-1, 11-6 win in the second round.
Wee Wern, who had lost her five previous meetings with World No 1 Nicol without taking a game, never looked like she had a chance as Nicol expertly controlled proceedings.
Nicol ended Wee Wern's misery in 32 minutes on her second match point when Wee Wern's weak return from a front-court drop allowed the defending champion to bury the ball in the angle of the back court beyond her compatriot's reach.
"Lost to Nicol David 3-0. Always tough to play a good friend and World number 1. Next up is New Zealand (for the Matamata Open). Good luck to Nicol David for the rest of the week!" Wee Wern posted on Twitter later.
Nicol will next face England's Alison Waters in what will be their first meeting since the 2011 Kuala Lumpur Open before the former world No 3 succumbed to an Achilles injury which kept her off court for eight months.
Alison, who is 0-17 against Nicol on the WSA Tour, plummeted to 44th in the rankings but is back up to 16th after winning four tournaments since March.
An 11-7, 11-6, 11-8 upset of fifth seed Annie Au of Hong Kong showed Alison is back to near her best and should give Nicol a thing or two to think about.
However, Alison's England teammate Jenny Duncalf was not so fortunate as the second seed was sent packing 11-7, 10-12, 11-7, 11-6 by 2010 world junior champion Amanda Sobhy of the United States.
Camille Serme and former world champion Rachael Grinham were also dumped out of the tournament.
India's rising star Dipika Pallikal stunned Frenchwoman Camille 3-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-6 to set up a quarter-final clash with Amanda while Australian Donna Urquhart claimed a first career win over compatriot Rachel 11-5, 11-7, 6-11, 11- 4.
Ong Beng Hee, who takes on second seed Omar Mosaad of Egypt in the quarter-finals, is the only Malaysian left in the men's tournament after eighth seed Nafiizwan Adnan was eliminated by Egypt's Omar Abdel Aziz 11-3, 11-9, 7-11, 11-6. By Devinder Singh