Ad­vances to Bri­tish Open sec­ond round with rou­tine win

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

NI­COL David made an en­cour­ag­ing start in her bid to re­gain the Bri­tish Open ti­tle af­ter clear­ing the first round with lit­tle dif­fi­culty in Hull on Tues­day. The five-time Bri­tish Open cham­pion needed just 30 min­utes to down Olivia Blatch­ford 11-7, 11-7, 11-4 in a re­peat of the out­come of the Ci­u­dad de Florid­ablanca fi­nal just two weeks ago in Colom­bia.

Know­ing that the 27th-ranked Amer­i­can would be look­ing to re­deem her­self, Ni­col stuck to her game plan with­out be­ing too ad­ven­tur­ous be­fore book­ing a sec­ond round meet­ing with Hong Kong’s Joey Chan to­day.

Joey over­came for­mer World No 2 Jenny Dun­calf of Eng­land 11-2, 11-6, 11-7.

“Af­ter that match (in Colom­bia) I’m sure she got more com­fort­able from play­ing me once and she came in a bit stronger and clearer from what she had to do from the be­gin­ning,” said World No 7 Ni­col, who im­proved her record against Olivia to 4-0.

Ni­col, 33, last won the Bri­tish Open in 2014 and her path to the fi­nal cleared a lit­tle fol­low­ing the shock loss of fourth seed Nouran Go­har to her fel­low Egyp­tian Nada Ab­bas.

Nada, ranked 45th in the world, turned the draw in the bot­tom half on its head with her 12-10, 14-12, 5-11, 11-8 win over Nouran.

Al­though Ni­col could still face World No 2 and 2015 Bri­tish Open cham­pion Camille Serme in the quar­ter-fi­nals, the for­mer World No 1 has never lost to the French­woman.

A win could have seen Ni­col come up against last year’s Bri­tish Open run­ner-up Nouran in the semi-fi­nals, a stage Ni­col has failed to reach just once, in 2009, since claim­ing her first Bri­tish Open ti­tle in 2005.

Soufi Rusli (right) with Nor Hashimah Is­mail and coach Zu­raidi Puteh in War­illa, Aus­tralia yes­ter­day.

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