Seventh Heaven for Nicol and First Finals for Raneem

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STEVE CUBS REPORTS | After a day of upsets and revenge at Hong Kong Squash Centre yesterday some of the semi-final lineups at the Kowloon Cultural Centre on the harbourside overlooking Hong Kong Island, had an unfamiliar feel to them, particularly the women’s semi-finals where top seed and six-time defending champion Nicol David was the only one of the original top eight seeds remaining.

Hong Kong’s Annie Au delighted the home crowd as she took the first game off the overwhelming favourite, but David struck back to take the next three to reach a seventh successive Hong Kong final.

“I knew it would be tough, that the crowd would get behind her,” said the victor, “and she played really well in the first. I knew I had to tighten up and find my lengths from the second and I managed to do that.”

There she’ll meet Raneem El Weleily, the tenth seed who overcame Malaysia’s Low Wee Wern in a high-quality match, coming from 7/1 down in the fourth game to clinch the win.

“It’s very hot on there, difficult to breathe even for us Egyptians and I could see she was suffering too,” admitted El Weleily. “She got a good lead in the fourth, I’m glad my mum wasn’t watching I would have given her another heart attack! Obviously I’m really pleased to get through to the final, especially in such a wonderful setting, I just hope I can play my best …”

The finals start at 18.00 on Sunday.

[1] Nicol David (Mas) bt [8] Annie Au (Hkg)  9/11, 11/2, 11/4, 11/6 (45m)
[10] Raneem El Weleily (Egy) bt [13] Low Wee Wern (Mas)  11/6, 9/11, 11/3, 11/9 (47m)

Full reports, quotes and photos on TODAY in Hong

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