CIMB MALAYSIAN OPEN: Boyfriend Tarek's triumph motivates Raneem to beat Nicol
RANEEM El Weleily did the unimaginable by outplaying Nicol David to complete an Egyptian double with boyfriend Tarek Momen in the finals of the CIMB Malaysian Open at The Curve in Mutiara Damansara yesterday.
Nicol's comprehensive defeat left many of those watching stunned as Raneem claimed her first win over the six-time world champion in nine meetings -- triumphing 12-10, 11-13, 11-6, 11-2 in 36 minutes.
Raneem was in total control of the final by keeping Nicol pinned to the back and catching her short with pin-point drops as the top seed was denied an eighth consecutive Malaysian Open title.
However, Nicol's first defeat in 43 matches since last November should not have come as a complete surprise given the World No 1's struggles all-week long.
Despite coming off a five-game semi-final battle against Low Wee Wern on Friday, Raneem looked the fresher of the two players ranked first and second in the world with Nicol unable to cope with her opponent's drives and volleys.
Raneem, who powered through the fourth game and won it with a cross-court drive on match point, also gained inspiration from Momen's triumph.
"It's unbelievable," said Raneem, 23, after winning the biggest of her five WSA Tour titles. "We have never won anything together other than the Arab Games but that cannot compare with this.
"I'm so happy we both won but don't be too disappointed with Nicol, she'll be back. I just kept my errors to a minimum than I normally do against Nicol.
"Nicol is so persistent and patient but it was not her best day. I was not as nervous as yesterday (Friday) as the pressure was not on me."
Nicol appeared to wilt under Raneem's constant barrage of shots and struggled to impose her usually dominant self.
"Raneem just played magnificently," said Nicol, whose last defeat at the Malaysian Open was to Vanessa Atkinson of the Netherlands in 2004.
"She's the number two and was coming off a good match. She's got a pretty good game and I just couldn't turn it around this time.
"She had no fear and just went for her shots and I could not do it my way. She got to everything and when someone is on a roll and things are not going your way, it's difficult against someone of that calibre."
Momen became the third Egyptian after Ali Aziz (1982) and Amr Shabana (2009) to win the Malaysian Open after practically stealing the title from under El Shorbagy's feet with a 12-10, 6-11, 12-10, 8-11, 14-12 win in 109 minutes.
World No 8 El Shorbagy paid the price for failing to close out the first game from 10-7, the third at 10-6 and 9-7 in the fifth as Momen surged from behind each time, saving a combined 11 game and match points
Momen had match ball at 10-9 but then was reprieved twice at 10-11 thanks to two let decisions when El Shorbagy, playing his third straight five-setter, thought he had the title won before the former sealed his third PSA Tour title with an unreturnable drop.
"I knew it would be tough because I had played here before and lost," said World No 19 Momen, referring to his defeat in the 2010 final to former national champion Azlan Iskandar.
"I really wanted to win it badly. I would have lost had he taken the match balls but I came back strong and it was only because I wanted so badly that gave me the extra edge.
"I'm literally over the moon as it has been an amazing two weeks for me," said Momen, 24, who won the Colombian Open prior to arriving in Kuala Lumpur.