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Nicol makes Malaysia proud by winning World Open for the 3rd time October 20, 2008

Posted by nikmj in General, National, news.
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Malaysian superstar Nicol David completed the double atonement she has been seeking for an entire year when she won back the World Open title and captured it for a third time here yesterday.

The world number one endured a career crisis last year when she lost both the British and World Open titles and had set her heart on getting them back this year.

Having regained the British Open five months ago in Liverpool, she now repeated the achievement at the Tour’s most important tournament, beating the surprise finalist from England, Vicky Botwright 5-11, 11-1, 11-6, 11-9.

It was not the best performance by Nicol and it was the first time she had dropped a game all week. However, it was one which showed her immense determination, some extra variety in her game, and increasingly versatile mental qualities in the difficult moments.

Pride of Malaysia: Nicol David holding the trophy after winning the Women’s Final at the World Squash Championships in Manchester yesterday. David beat England’s Vicky Botwright 3-1 in the final. — AP

She was assaulted by an enterprising attack from the start by Botwright, who was playing in her last match before retirement and had the home crowd behind her, and looked for a while as though she were capable of a surprise.

But from the second game onwards, Nicol not only found greater accuracy with her basic line and length, but scored well in the front court, especially with volley drops.

She also found a way to win when Botwright came back dangerously in the fourth game to lead 8-7, when a decider – in which the home player’s support would have become immense – seemed dangerously possible.

Nicol produced a winning drop shot to get to 9-8 and a drive-dropshot combination to get to match point, which she converted when the British referees courageously, and correctly, gave a penalty stroke to the Malaysian when Botwright hit the ball back too close to herself.

”Every shot she played, every drive she made, was so tight,” said Nicol of her unseeded opponent.

”Credit to her, she’s done so well to get to the final – and what a final that was! I had to fight. But to win is such a great feeling. I’m so glad I’ve got it back after last year. Manchester is my lucky place, I guess. I was really pleased with my performance to hang in there.”

Nicol first won the World Open title in Hong Kong in 2005 and retained it the following year in Belfast. But she suffered a shock second-round defeat by Shelley Kitchen of New Zealand in Madrid last year.

The victory for Nicol yesterday was her eighth consecutive title this season and it took her unbeaten run to 43 matches.

She was the winner at the Apawamis, the Kuala Lumpur Open, British Open, Seoul Open, Malaysian Open, Singapore Masters and the Dutch Open. – AFP

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