News24

David wins British Open title

2012-05-20 16:34

London - Malaysia's world number one Nicol David regained the British Open title with an 11-6, 11-6, 11-6 win over the youngest ever finalist Nour El Sherbini on Sunday.

It was a startling effort by 16-year-old Egyptian Sherbini, who is still doing grade ten school work, and who managed to upset three higher seeded players.

Against the most experienced and highest profile woman player of them all, however, it was never likely she would cause a sensation.

David was fast, knowledgeable, and much more versatile than she used to be, and responded sharply to two brief moments of danger, at 5-4 in the first game and at 2-4 down in the second.

She did that with two periods of very tight squash, paying extra attention to her line and length, and thereafter was able to move the tall powerful teenager around enough to extract errors, and to risk more attacks herself.

It earned her a fourth British Open title, and repaired the damage inflicted by a shock defeat to Madeline Perry of Ireland in the last British Open, three years ago in Manchester.

"I was so fired up to play Sherbini," David said. "She's an amazing player. The score was three-love but it wasn't easy. She played some amazing strokes.

"She's only 16-years old and she's on the way up. I have to go home and work on my game because she's coming up."

Though Sherbini's best was understandably intermittent this time, she sometimes struck the ball with the authority of a future great and with the disguise of a player with a good squash brain.

Egyptian head coach Amir Wagih believes she can be world number one within three years, and David is well aware of the threat - perhaps the greatest since she rose to the top of the rankings six years ago.

"I have to go home and work on my game because she's coming up," the 28-year-old said. "She's definitely up there with the rest of them now. She's top three in the world I would say.

"She will be gunning with the rest of the players, the English, the Egyptians, and hopefully the Asians too, so I am looking forward to next season."

Sherbini, seeded only 16th this week but contesting a British Open final at a younger age than the 17-year-old Jahangir Khan famously did in 1981, should now climb to world number seven.

"I beat some good players," she rather shyly said, referring to wins over Perry, the fourth seed, Annie Au, the seventh seed from Hong Kong, and Raneem El Weleily, her fifth seeded Egyptian compatriot.

"So I am very happy to have reached the final. Maybe next year I will do better."

They sounded like ominous words. Meantime though she will return to her school books.

AFP