World number one Nicol David stamped her class on the Viridian Australian Open squash tournament in Canberra when she raced to an emphatic 11-3, 11-6, 11-2 first round win over Brisbane’s Samantha Davies on Tuesday.
David, playing her first ever Australian Open, was untroubled by Davies, who tried hard but was outclassed by the Malaysian superstar. Not to be outdone, world number two Jenny Duncalf of England followed David on court and was equally impressive in her 11-5, 11-3, 11-3 win over Melbourne qualifier Vanessa Pickerd.
David won the Australian Junior Open in 1999 in her only previous visit to Canberra and showed why she is the favourite to claim the senior title in 2011.
“I had never played Samantha before so I didn’t know what to expect,” David said. “I knew she was a big shot player and she made some shots but I just stuck in there and played solid.”
David had a rare loss at last week’s Singapore Open but said she had already put that out of her mind. “Those days happen and I’m just moving forward,” she said. “It’s good to get fresh and ready for the Australian Open and I’m excited to be here.”
David now plays 17-year-old Englishwoman Emily Whitlock, who upset 15th seeded New Zealander Kylie Lindsay 11-9, 7-11, 11-4, 11-3.
“It’s quite different playing someone that you don’t know,” she said. “I went and watched the qualifiers yesterday because I didn’t know 90 per cent of them so I had a little look at Vanessa yesterday and she looked good. You can never take any match lightly, but it’s nice to get a feel for the court early.”
Duncalf will play Gaby Huber in the second round after the Swiss number one downed Melbourne’s Sarah Cardwell 11-6, 8-11, 11-5, 11-1. The top women’s seeds all progressed with few problems.
Third seed Rachael Grinham beat Lucie Fialova of the Czech Republic 11-6, 11-5, 11-2, Ireland’s Madeline Perry (4) downed Malaysia’s Siti Munirah Jusoh 11-5, 11-2, 11-3 and Kasey Brown (5) was too good for New Zealand’s Amanda Cranston 11-2, 11-7, 11-3.
Brown said she was happy with how she had played against Cranston. “I just wanted to go out there and work on some things that I’ve been working on the last couple of months,” she said. “I felt quite comfortable on there, I felt like I played pretty well. She got a bit tired towards the end so I was able to take advantage of that and get through in three.”
“I’ve got a day off tomorrow as well so it’s just keep form and keep sharp through the week. I’ve got a tough one against Nat Grinham on Thursday so just looking forward to playing that really. She’s come back and is moving just as well and playing just as well before the baby. I played her in the Cayman Islands at the beginning of the year I think and I ended up losing that one.”
Perry, winner of the Singapore Open last week, was also pleased with how she had played against Munirah Jusoh. “I knew Siti was probably one of the harder first-round matches. I was aware she was a good player,” Perry said.“I wanted to really concentrate today with it being the first round and just start the tournament with a good start. I’m coming into it better than I was last time but I’m going to have to be this time, Nicol David’s here and all the top girls are playing well, Jenny Duncalf’s playing well.”
Other winners included 2008 champion Annie Au of Hong Kong, seventh seed Donna Urquhart and 2009 winner Joelle King from New Zealand.
First round results:
Top half of draw:
 Nicol David (MAS) bt Samantha Davies (AUS) 11-3, 11-6, 11-2
Emily Whitlock (ENG) bt  Kylie Lindsay (NZL) 11-9, 7-11, 11-4, 11-3
 Annie Au (HKG) bt [Q] Lisa Aitken (SCO) 11-3, 11-1, 11-5
 Line Hansen (DEN) bt Milou Van Der Heijden (NED) 8-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-9
 Rachael Grinham (AUS) bt Lucie Fialova (CZE) 11-6, 11-5, 11-2
 Low Wee Wern (MAS) bt [Q] Zoe Petrovansky (AUS) 11-4, 11-6, 11-5
 Donna Urquhart (AUS) bt [Q] Tamika Saxby (AUS) 11-7, 11-1, 11-3
 Dipika Pallikal (IND) bt [Q] Amanda Landers-Murphy (NZL) 11-4, 11-8, 11-2
Bottom half of draw:
 Delia Arnold (MAS) bt Olga Ertlova (CZE) 5-11, 11-9, 9-11, 11-6, 11-6
 Joelle King (NZL) bt Maggy Marshall (AUS) 11-6, 11-3, 11-2
 Joey Chan (HKG) bt Christine Nunn (AUS) 11-3, 11-2, 11-3
 Madeline Perry (IRL) bt Siti Munirah Jusoh (MAS) 11-5, 11-2, 11-3
 Natalie Grinham (NED) bt Melody Francis (AUS) 11-2, 11-4, 11-5
 Kasey Brown (AUS) bt [Q] Amanda Cranston (NZL) 11-2, 11-7, 11-3
 Gaby Huber (SUI) bt Sarah Cardwell (AUS) 11-6, 8-11, 11-5, 11-1
 Jenny Duncalf (ENG) bt [Q] Vanessa Pickerd (AUS) 11-5, 11-3, 11-3