A CHANCE TO END TI­TLE DROUGHT

Ni­col checks into fi­nal in Colombia

New Straits Times - - Sport - RE­PORTS BY DEVIN­DER SINGH devin­der@nst.com.my

NI­COL David reached her first PSA Tour fi­nal in 15 months at the Ci­u­dad de Florid­ablanca tour­na­ment in Colombia on Fri­day while look­ing to end a ti­tle drought just as long.

The for­mer World No 1 ral­lied from a game down to over­come Eng­land’s 10thranked Ali­son Wa­ters 8-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-2 to book her first fi­nal ap­pear­ance since win­ning the Hong Kong Open in De­cem­ber 2015.

Next for Ni­col is World No 27 Olivia Blatch­ford, who was gifted a place in the fi­nal af­ter top seed Amanda Sobhy re­tired hurt while hold­ing match point in their all-Amer­i­can semi-fi­nal.

Eight-time world cham­pion Ni­col, seek­ing an 81st PSA Tour ti­tle in her 101st ca­reer fi­nal, has won both her pre­vi­ous meet­ings with Olivia with­out drop­ping a game at the 2014 World Team Cham­pi­onship and 2015 Windy City Open.

“I’m glad to get to the fi­nals here, it’s been such a spe­cial tour­na­ment, I’m just re­ally en­joy­ing it,” said Ni­col, 33, play­ing in Colombia for the first time since win­ning gold at the 2013 World Games.

“I’ll give it a good go. When you’re in a fi­nal, you’re both there to just go for it and I’ll be do­ing just that.”

Se­cur­ing the sec­ond game against Ali­son was cru­cial in World No 7 Ni­col’s march to vic­tory as she im­proved her record against her one-time ri­val to 26-2.

“I was just a bit re­ac­tive in some parts of the match and she was free-flow­ing,” said Ni­col of her early trou­bles.

“I wasn’t fully comfortable hit­ting my shots or find­ing my lines. I man­aged to set­tle into the game and started hit­ting my tar­gets well and put­ting her un­der pres­sure. I was re­ally pleased to en­force my game and pull it through to win 3-1.”

Amanda was just one point away from the fi­nal, lead­ing 11-1, 11-6, 10-5, when she tore her Achilles ten­don chas­ing a drop with the World No 6 im­me­di­ately hit­ting the floor and un­able to con­tinue.

“I know I don’t de­serve to be out there in the fi­nal, she does, so the best thing I can do is hon­our her by giv­ing my best on court,” said Olivia, 24. “I need to re­ally show up for Amanda.”

A win over Olivia would be just the boost Ni­col needs for the Bri­tish Open on March 21-26 and the World Cham­pi­onship next month.

Ni­col David de­feated Eng­land’s Ali­son Wa­ters 8-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-2 on Fri­day.

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