World No. 1 Nicol David progressed in dominating fashion into the Semi-finals of the Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Squash Open 2012 at the HK Squash Centre on Friday Nov 30. Beating unseeded Kasey Brown of Australia in three straight games 11-2, 11-4, 11-3, in a Quarter Final lasting just 30 minutes, David is clearly the one to beat in the tournament.
David’s opponent in the Semi-finals will be No. 8 seed Natalie Grinham of the Netherlands, who won against Jenny Duncalf of England 3-1 in the Quarter finals.
Although Grinham stretched her opponent with good play, Duncalf, much to her disappointment, had a rather “bad day at the office” making a catalogue of unforced errors.
The other Semi-final will be between Carmille Serme of France — who played strongly to beat Rachael Grinham of Australia in the Quarter Finals — and Omneya Abdel Kawy of Egypt.
Kawy, continuing her way back up the rankings after an 18-month injury break, came through a tough, very tight 5-game match in the Quarter Finals against No. 6 seed Alison Waters of England, 11-9, 9-11, 6-11, 11-8, 11-9 in 67 minutes.
Kawy was delighted with her win and says that she doesn’t feel pressure against higher ranked players.
“Games against Alison are always like that. I have played her twice before this year and she has won, so I really wanted to win this one, so it makes me double-happy to win the match,” Kawy told The Epoch Times.
“As I am a lower ranked player, there is no pressure on me playing the higher ranked players. I am not thinking about winning or losing, I just go out and play.
“I have not played Carmille for a couple of years, so let’s see what happens tomorrow,” concluded Kawy.
Meanwhile, Men’s World No. 1, James Willstrop, progressed to the Semi-finals with a good win over Boja Golan of Spain.
The venue for the Hong Kong Open changes now, with the Semi-finals and Finals taking place at the Cultural Centre Piazza, Tsim Sha Tsui, on the banks of Victoria Harbour.
The annual Hong Kong Squash Open has been held since 1985 – except when Hong Kong hosted the 2005 World Open Squash Championships – and is one of the few tournaments that brings the world’s best men and women together in two top-tier tournaments.
As an equivalent of one of tennis’s Grand Slam events, winning the prestigious tournament is one of the aspirations on many professional players’ lists.
Peter Nicol from Scotland won the Open on four occasions in the Men’s category; as has Amr Shabana from Egypt, who has won four consecutive titles at this event.
Meanwhile, Nicol David of Malaysia has a more impressive record having won the last six consecutive titles (2006-11) in the Women’s category. She also won the 2005 Women’s World Open Squash Championships held in Hong Kong.
This year, David will be defending her 2011 title, as will last year’s Men’s winner James Willstrop from England.
Also this year, the Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Squash Open 2012 has the honour of having the International Olympic Committee present to complete an “inspection” to determine if squash will be on the programme for the 2020 Summer Olympics.
The line-up for Semi-final matches taking place on Saturday Dec 1.
Women: Nicol David of Malaysia plays Natalie Grinham of the Netherlands; and Camille Serme of France plays Omneya Abdel Kawy of Egypt.
Men: James Willstrop of England will meet Karim Darwish of Egypt; and Ramy Ashour of Egypt plays Nick Matthew.
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