A CRUISE FOR NICOL
Advances to British Open second round with routine win
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.