Resur­gent Ni­col eyes Bri­tish Open suc­cess again

New Straits Times - - Sport - DEVINDER SINGH

FRESH from end­ing a 15-month title drought, Ni­col re­turns to Hull for a crack at win­ning the Bri­tish Open for a sixth time start­ing tomorrow. The for­mer World No 1’s last suc­cess at one of the sport’s most pres­ti­gious tour­na­ments came in 2014, the same year she won the World Open for a record eighth time.

Ni­col, how­ever, can ex­pect the go­ing to be tougher in Hull than in the Ci­u­dad de Florid­ablanca tour­na­ment after most of the world’s top play­ers gave Colom­bia a miss.

In claim­ing her first PSA Tour title since De­cem­ber 2015, Ni­col faced just one top10 player in Eng­land’s Ali­son Wa­ters in the tour­na­ment.

“It was great to play at a new venue in Colom­bia and to reach the fi­nal and win was re­ally spe­cial,” Ni­col told SquashTV. in an in­ter­view fol­low­ing the Florid­ablanca tour­na­ment.

In Hull, Ni­col can ex­pect to face World No 2 and 2015 Bri­tish Open cham­pion Camille Serme in the quar­ter-fi­nals.

How­ever, Ni­col can draw from a wealth of ex­pe­ri­ence which has seen her win 81 PSA Tour ti­tles in her ca­reer and she looks to push on from Colom­bia.

“My first world title when I was 22 was just a dream come true as was be­ing the World No 1 the next month,” said Ni­col, Malaysia’s sole rep­re­sen­ta­tive in the Bri­tish Open women’s draw.

“Since then, a lot has hap­pened but I think over my whole ca­reer, to do what I have done and get eight world ti­tles and hold the World No 1 spot for nine years, is hard to imag­ine some­times.

“But it has been a great ca­reer and hope­fully, there is more to come and I am look­ing for­ward to the sea­son ahead.”

Ni­col opens her Bri­tish Open cam­paign against Amer­i­can Olivia Blatch­ford in a re­peat of the Florid­ablanca fi­nal be­fore fac­ing ei­ther Hong Kong’s Joey Chan or Eng­land’s Jenny Dun­calf in the last-16.

The coun­try’s top two men’s play­ers Nafi­izwan Adnan and Ivan Yuen were bid­ding to make the main draw when they faced Eng­land’s Bradley Masters and France’s Gre­goire Marche in the first qual­i­fy­ing round late yes­ter­day.

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