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Nicol David

KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysian squash queen, Datuk Nicol Queen qualified for the 2016/17 season-ending squash tournament – PSA Dubai World Series Finals – to be held at the Dubai Opera, United Arab Emirates in June, after finishing among the top eight players in the Road to Dubai Standings.

The 33-year-old Penangite who is in sixth place with 155 points qualified for the event that would be held from June 6-10, according to the Professional Squash Association (PSA) website www.psaworldtour.com.

Other women players who will feature in the US$160,000 (RM705,747) tournament are world number one Camille Serme of France, England duo Laura Massaro and Sarah-Jane Perry, American Amanda Sobhy and three Egyptian players – reigning world champion Nour El Sherbini, world number four Raneem El Welily and world number five player Nouran Gohar.

In the men’s division, Egyptian world champion Karim Abdel Gawad who is set to be crowned as the new world number one come May 1, following his breakthrough this season, would be challenged by seven other players.

They are defending World Series Finals champion Gregory Gaultier of France, El Shorbagy brothers –Marwan and Mohamed, Ramy Ashour (all from Egypt), English pair Nick Matthew and James Willstrop and also Simon Rosner of Germany.

The top eight players, both in men’s and women’s category qualify for the PSA World Series Finals after the conclusion of the El Gouna International Squash Open which was held in Egypt, last week. – BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysia’s squash queen Datuk Nicol David will lead the national team to the World Doubles Championships to be held in Manchester, England, on Aug 1-5.

Nicol will partner Rachel Arnold in the Women’s doubles event while other pairs consist of Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan-Ivan Yuen and Muhammad Syafiq Kamal-Ng Eain Yow in the men’s doubles.

While in the mixed doubles event, Malaysia is banking on Rachel and Ivan.

Squash Racquet Association of Malaysia (SRAM), Director of Coaching Major (R) S. Maniam said the championships would provide an overview of where the Malaysian pairs stood in the international doubles circuit.

“It will be the first major doubles championship that Malaysia will be participating in this year. It will be good preparation for the SEA Games athletes to gear themselves up for the challenges ahead.

“It will be a great preparation for the team leading towards the Commonwealth Games which will be held next year in Gold Coast, Australia,” said Maniam in a statement today.

Before the World Doubles Championships, the national team would be competing in the World Games in Wroclaw, Poland on July 25-28.

For the record, Nicol has participated in the last three World Games and won a hattrick of golds in Germany (2005), Taiwan (2009) and Colombia (2013) while retired player Azlan Iskandar won bronze in 2009.

“Nicol is expected to once again retain the gold medal for the fourth time this year which will be a record. As for the men we are hoping for Wan (Mohd Nafiizwan) or Ivan to make it to the semis at least,” he added.

The World Games has brought together a total of 33 countries throughout years since it first started in 1997 except for the year 2001 where squash was not in the World Games. – BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysian squash queen Datuk Nicol Ann David cruised past her first hurdle in the 2017 British Open by defeating Olivia Blatchford of the United States at the Airco Arena, Hull in England, on Tuesday.

According to the competition’s official website http://allambritishopensquash2017.com, the Penangite took 30 minutes to beat her opponent in straight sets, 11-7, 11-7 and 11-4.

The current world number seven will face Hong Kong’s Joey Chan in the next round on Thursday.

Joey earned her spot after defeating homester, Jenny Duncalf also in straight sets of 11-2, 11-6 and 11-7 in a 25-minute match. – BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysian squash queen, Datuk Nicol David finally ended her 14-month wait to secure her first PSA World Tour title since December 2015 after winning the inaugural Ciudad de Floridablanca Women’s Squash Open title in Colombia on Saturday (Sunday in Malaysia).

Second seeded Nicol showcased a dominant display right from the start of the match though the match played in the shadow of the stunning El Santisimo statue – suspended about 40 minutes at 6-6 in the third game after a sudden period of rainfall.

However, it did not stopped the Penangite, who returned to court to wrap up a 11-3, 11-4, 11-8 victory in the 70-minute match, to add to the 81st tour title of her glittering career.

On the victory, the eight-time world champion was delighted after more than a year wait ended while praising the support received from the parties involved to ensure the inaugural tournament run successfully.

“It feels great to win a tournament again. It’s been quite a while and I think this is really special to have my first title here in Floridablanca. It’s going to have a special place in my heart,” Nicol said.

“Thank you so much to the people in Floridablanca for hosting us here at the El Santisimo, it’s been such a special week for all of us girls here,” added the 33-year old player who secured her last victory back at the 2015 Hong Kong Open. – BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysian squash queen, Datuk Nicol David moved a step closer to secure her first PSA World Tour title since the 2015 Hong Kong Open after cruising to the semifinals of the Women’s Squash Open Ciudad de Floridablanca in Colombia.

The world number seven defeated world number 17, Joey Chan of Hong Kong; winning in straight games 12-10, 12-10 and 11-3 in the quarterfinals  on Thursday (Friday in Malaysia).

“I felt good at the start and I think it was a good match,” Nicol was quoted as saying in the squash website;www.squashsite.co.uk.

“I’m really excited to play in the semis here in Colombia. It’s such a great venue, I’ve been feeling good and I’m going to give it all I’ve got tomorrow,” the Penangite added.

Nicol is set to face another mammoth task against world number 10, Alison Waters of England in the semis late Friday (Saturday in Malaysia).

The world number 10 player staved off a challenge from Victoria Lust in a gruelling five-set thriller before prevailing in 11-7, 16-18, 11-7, 7-11 and 15-13 in the last eight.

The inaugural tournament, which is part of the PSA World Tour calendar, offers total prize money of US$70,000 (RM312,317). – BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR – A title drought continues to haunt Malaysian squash queen Datuk Nicol David in the PSA World Tour tournament.

She lost in the quarterfinals of the Tournament of Champions Squash Championship held at the Grand Central Terminal in New York, on Tuesday.

The 33-year-old Penangite, who is the tournament sixth seed, lost to top seed and current world number one, Nour El Sherbini of Egypt in a gruelling five-set match.

El Sherbini started the ball rolling when she won the first set on 11-5 before Nicol levelled it by winning the second set 11-6.

However, the Egyptian squash sensation took the third set, 11-6 before Nicol gained back her composure to level the score once again, by winning the fourth set, 15-13.

In the deciding set, both players fought fiercely and the score was neck-to-neck, but El Sherbini sealed the match 11-8 to book her berth in the semifinals.

Their match lasted for 64 minutes. – BERNAMA

SEREMBAN – The Squash Rackets Association of Malaysia (SRAM) president Huang Ying How remains confident that National squash queen and former world number one Datuk Nicol David would return to her old form.

Ying How said he was confident that the country’s squash queen can regain her status and performance since she had adopted a new strategy and rhythm.

“Many are of the perception that Nicol’s performance had dropped throughout the year due to the age factor but Nicol has not problems with her physical fitness. Even the report from the National Sports Institute (ISN) certified that she is in excellent condition.

“Actually, the sport of squash has changed drastically with players adopting the fast game strategy and Nicol is adjusting to such a style of play,” he told reporters at the launch of a squash training centre at Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Seri Pagi, Senawang, near here today.

Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin who had also expressed concern with Nicol’s performance and results throughout the year, called for a quick remedy to ensure Nicol returned to her former self.

Nicol who had set an unprecedented record of having stayed as world number one for more almost nine years (109 months) has currently dropped to world number five. – BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysian squash queen and world number three player, Datuk Nicol David kicked off her campaign with a winning start after cruising to the quarter-final of the Netsuite Open Squash Championship in San Francisco, United States, on Tuesday (early Wednesday Malaysia time).

The Penangite who is vying for her first PSA World Tour title of the season, whitewashed Reyna Pacheco of the United States, winning with 11-3, 11-1 and 11-3 in the opening match held in the glass portable squash court at South Lawn, Justin Herman Plaza, said the tournament’s website www.netsuiteopensquash.com.

Nicol will meet Nour El Tayeb of Egypt in the last eight on Wednesday after the Egyptian defeated another Malaysian player, Low Wee Wern 11-3, 9-11, 11-4 and 11-1 in another first round match.

Based on the tournament format, the winner in the opening match moved straight to the quarter-final.

Malaysia did not send representatives in the men’s division of the tournament which offers a total prize purse of US$150,000 (RM619,957). – BERNAMA

PETALING JAYA: British newspaper The Telegraph has listed squash queen Nicol David as one of the 20 greatest athletes in the world.

“Not many athletes can claim to have enjoyed the sort of dominance Nicol David has had in the world of squash.

“The 32-year-old Malaysian was world number one for a record 109 months until September last year, and has won three gold medals at World Games, two Commonwealth golds, and a remarkable eight World Open titles,” The Telegraph said.

It listed her among “the very best of athletes”, which includes footballer Cristiano Ronaldo, sprinter Usain Bolt, tennis players Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic and swimmers Michael Phelps and Katie Ledecky.

Nicol first appeared in the squash scene when she was 16, winning her first Women’s World Junior Squash Championship in 1999 before clinching her maiden major Tour title in February 2000.

She then went on to become the first Malaysian to win the Malaysian Open Squash Championship and the British Open and capturing the first of her eight World Championship crowns.

In January 2006, she became the first Asian woman to reach the world number one spot.

Nicol was unbeaten throughout 2008, when she had a 56-match unbeaten run, capturing the British Open title and her third World Championship crown. Her winning streak came to an end in 2009, when she lost to Natalie Grainger.

Nicol then went on to celebrate her 106th consecutive month at the top of the world rankings to surpass New Zealand’s Susan Devoy as the longest reigning world number one.

However, her unprecedented reign came to an end in September 2015 when she was usurped by El Welily as the new women’s world number one and when she suffered a shocking defeat to World Junior Champion Nouran Gohar at the Stars on the Bund China Open.

In July 2016, Nicol again achieved another milestone with her 151st successive month in the Top 10 rankings overtaking the previous record set by Peter Nicol in October 2006.

KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysia’s squash queen, Datuk Nicol David dropped three rungs to fifth position in the latest Professional Squash Association (PSA) Women’s World Rankings for April that was issued today.

According to PSA official website, www.psaworldtour.com, the 32-year-old player accumulated 2,121 average points after playing nine tournaments and it was her lowest position in the world rankings since 2004.

The tremendous downfall was due Nicol’s failure to clinch any title this season as she only captured the Hong Kong Open title back in December 2015.

National champion Delia Arnold remained in 15th place while Low Wee Wern dropped seven rungs to 42nd place after only playing four PSA World Tour sanctioned tournaments.

British player, Laura Massaro remains at the top of the standings for four straight months with 2,909 average points despite only landing one title this season, the British National Championship in February.

Nour El Sherbini, 20, who recently became the first Egyptian player to lift the prestigious British Open title for the first time in the 94-year history of the tournament, moved up three rungs to replace Nicol in second place with 2,706 average points.

Nour’s compatriot Raneem El Welily and Camille Serme of France remained in third and fourth place respectively with 2,148 and 2,133 average points. – BERNAMA