HONG KONG—World No.1, Nicol David of Malaysia won her ninth consecutive Hong Kong Open title when she won the Final of the Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Squash Open 2014 on Sunday Aug 31.
This superstar of women’s squash has dominated the world squash scene for the last decade. After winning the World Open title in Hong Kong in 2005 she has won nine consecutive Hong Kong Opens from 2006 to 2014. This is a magnificent achievement and even more so to be still dominating the sport a decade on is remarkable. The World No.3 Seed, Egyptian Raneem Welily who deprived David of a place in the Malaysian Open Final a week previous did not participate in Hong Kong Open, but 7 of the top 10 women players were in the draw.
David, now 31 years old, only dropped 1-game during the entire competition still has the speed, shots, squash brain, temperament and tenacity to outplay the other top players. Her conquests in this event were Delia Arnold of Malaysia, Emma Beddoes of England, Joey Chan of Hong Kong, Amanda Sobhy of America (Semi-final) and Nour El Tayeb of Egypt in the Final. She won the highly entertaining Final 3-0 winning the first and third games 11-4 and 11-8 respectively and coming from behind to win the second game 12-10.
David’s Finals opponent Tayeb, is 10 years her junior and although she has been on the World Tour since 2007 she may just be “coming of age”. Coming into the Hong Kong Open Tayeb’s world ranking was No.25, but reaching the final of the Malaysian Open on Aug 23 and repeating the performance in Hong Kong has pushed her into the top ten for the first time. She is now ranked No.8 on the newly released Sept 2014 ranking list.
After the match David explained: “I was just concentrating on timing and playing the right shots. I was just pleased to get that second game and to come stronger in the 3rd to win 3-love”.
Tayeb is a strong, confident performer with great athletic ability, fine shots, has nerves of steel and never gives up. She also has that “killer instinct” needed at the top level of the sport.
Tayeb beat three of the world’s top 10 players on her route to the Final. She played Egyptian Mariam Metwally in the first round, then had a tough 74 minute 5-game match against the Malaysian No.2, Low Wee Wern (World Ranked 7). She then beat Alison Waters (6) in the Quarter Final, Laura Massaro of England (2) in the Semi-final to meet Nicol David in the Final.
David was complimentary of Tayeb: “She is an athletic and skillful player, all of the Egyptians come from a good [squash] breed in Egypt where they all just know the game and she proved it today. Coming to this final beating all of the top players so she has done a good job.”
Although David was generally well in control it was a well contested final, Tayeb was not overawed by her illustrious opponent, playing many long rallies pulling off some great winners and making David play to her full capability. Although losing 11-4 in the first game, Tayeb was in the lead for most of the second game, but the experienced and unruffled Champion pulled back to take the game 12-10. Tayeb held her own in the third game up to 7-7, but then David pulled away to take the game 11-8 and the Championship 11-4, 12-10, 11-8.