Quality Squash in the Semis

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CIMB Malaysian Open 2010: Semi final highlights

Great crowd! Photo with thanks to GlennGuan of TheStar.

“…she went down fighting to the very last point…”

Jenny Duncalf bt. Raneem El Weleily 11/8, 11/5, 8/11, 12/10 (54 mins)

After dispatching two higher ranked players, Raneem seemed to be in good shape to pose a decent threat to Jenny Duncalf, seeded second in this tournament. Jenny started off strongly in the first two games while Raneem was trying to get her rhythm. Raneem made some nifty shots but hit a number of tins as well, giving away the first two games 8-11 and 5-11 respectively.

Raneem’s mental strength and determination took her through the third game with a 11-8 win. If there’s anything we’ve learned about this young lady is that she has an admirable “never say die” attitude. In the fourth set, Raneem pushed Jenny to extra points but Jenny held on to her game plan and worked her way to seal a place in the final with a 12-10 victory over the 21-year old Egyptian fighter.

Jenny now takes the head-to-head with Raneem to 4-0 but a strong point has certainly been made to the other players on the circuit of Raneem’s prowess.

A pleased Jenny said, “I had a great start in the fourth, no pressure at all, then she turned up the pace and it took me by surprise, really. I was very fortunate to put it away and I look forward to playing in my first final here in Malaysia. It has been a great tournament and a great crowd!”

“…and then the crowd went wild!”

Nicol David bt. Alison Waters 14/12, 12/10, 6/11, 11/7 (64 mins)

Photo with thanks to GlennGuan of TheStar.

The match between Nicol and Alison was expected to be an interesting one but it was a treat to the crowd when the first game itself was battled point-for-point. After trailing Alison for most of the game, Nicol was awarded a let at 10-10 but the end was not in sight yet. The scores were evened at 11-11, then 12-12 and Nicol went on to take the first game 14-12 with a tight forehand drive.

The second game looked pretty much like the first one. It was nailbiting to say the least! Alison played a tight game and Nicol was kept on her feet, retrieving every shot that came off Alison’s racquet. Once again, Nicol was trailing 7-10 and it seemed that the game would go Alison’s way. A determined Nicol took it one point at a time and went up 2-0 with a 12-10 win in the second game.

Fitness levels of both players were stretched today as the rallies were long and hard but both of them remained persistent and focused. This time around, Alison produced some amazing forehand winners and did not allow Nicol to play another game of cat and mouse, emerging as the winner in the third game at 11-6.

The scenario in the fourth game was slightly different—Nicol looking more focused and vicious, while Alison showed some signs of fatigue. At 9-7, Nicol led the game and was awarded a stroke when Alison hit the ball back at herself. It didn’t take too long from then for Nicol to wrap up the match at 11-7, to make a date with Jenny in the final tomorrow.

It was a game of high quality squash tonight between these two girls and definitely an entertaining one for the audience.

Nicol spoke to SquashStars after the match… She just played a really good match—just solid squash. I was really trying to dig in deep to stay with her… really glad to pull it off to play in the finals tomorrow. It’s always good matches with Alison.”

Don’t forget to catch the final tomorrow at 4pm (GMT +8) for another thrilling match between the World Number 1 and 2!

CLICK HERE FOR THE LIVE BLOG. STARTS @ 3:00PM MALAYSIAN TIME

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