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Nicol David KL Open 2012
26-31 Mar, Kuala Lumpur, $70k+$50k

31-Mar, Finals:

[3] Omar Mosaad (Egy) bt [4] Adrian Grant (Eng)
         11/6, 13/11, 12/14, 6/11, 11/8 (112m)

[1] Nicol David (Mas) bt Annie Au (Hkg)
          11/4, 12/10, 11/9 (36m)

Mosaad wins KL marathon, Nicol lives up to her own billing ...

Egypt's Omar Mosaad claimed the biggest title of his career as he overcame Adrian Grant in a lengthy final littered with lets at the Berjaya Times mall in Kuala Lumpur.

Mosaad, who won the Meco Invitational title in Hong Kong earlier this month, had beaten the last home player Ong Beng Hee to reach the final while Englishman Grant had produced a stunning upset against top seed and defending champion Karim Darwish.

But it was the Egyptian who started the stronger, taking a two-game lead, and at 10-8 in the third a straight-games win looked on the cards. Grant fought back to take the game 14/12, then forced a decider.

Mosaad always held the advantage in the fifth though, and with the let count mounting - five or more on a single match ball and 100 in the entire match - he finally closed it out to claim the title in a shade under two hours of play.

For Nicol David it was business as usual as she claimed her eighth KL Open title - but the first since the tournament had been named after her - as she beat unseeded Annie Au in straight games.

The world champion and world number one eased through the first game, but Au challenged strongly in the next two - with David even receiving a conduct warning as affairs became heated - but to the delight of the partisan crowd David took both to claim the 60th title of her dazzling career.

"I'm happy I won the CIMB Nicol David KL Open, and also knowing that it's named after me, it feels extra special to win it," said a delighted champion.

In the Crossfire -
Andrew Cross reports on the finals

In the Crossfire
KL Open on SquashSite365

Nicol David KL Open 2012
26-31 Mar, Kuala Lumpur, $70k
Round One
28 Mar 
29 Mar
30 Mar
31 Mar
[1] Nicol David (Mas)
11/5, 11/5, 11/6 (35m)
[Q] Donna Urquhart (Aus)
[1] Nicol David
11/5, 11/2, 11/6 (25m)
[Q] Dipika Pallikal
[1] Nicol David

15/13, 12/14, 11/6, 11/7 (49m)

[5] Raneem El Weleily

[1] Nicol David


11/4, 12/10, 11/9 (36m)


Annie Au

[8] Kasey Brown (Aus)
11/6 11/7, 11/9 (40m)
[Q] Dipika Pallikal (Ind)
[4] Madeline Perry (Irl)
11/9, 11/1, 1/11, 12/10 (53m)
Camille Serme (Fra)
[4] Madeline Perry
13/11, 11/6, 11/2 (31m)
[5] Raneem El Weleily
[5] Raneem El Weleily (Egy)
11/9, 11/6, 11/5 (30m)
Low Wee Wern (Mas)
Annie Au (Hkg)
11/9, 12/14, 11/6, 11/6 (55m)
[7] Natalie Grinham (Ned)
Annie Au
11/8, 7/11, 11/5, 5/11,  11/9 (76m)
[3] Laura Massaro
Annie Au

 9/11, 11/9, 11/8, 11/8 (43m)

[Q] Nour El Sherbini

Samantha Teran (Mex)
11/7, 11/5, 11/6 (31m)
[3] Laura Massaro (Eng)
[Q] Heba El Torky (Egy)
8/11, 5/11, 11/9, 11/5, 12/10 (88m)
[6] Rachael Grinham (Aus)
[6] Rachael Grinham
11/8, 6/11, 11/9, 11/8 (41m)
[Q] Nour El Sherbini
[Q] Nour El Sherbini (Egy)
12/10, 9/11, 11/5, 9/11, 11/9 (48m)
[2] Jenny Duncalf (Eng)
27-Mar, Qualifying Finals:

Nour El Sherbini (Egy) bt
Joelle King (Nzl)       11/5, 10/12, 4/11, 12/10, 11/8 (80m)
Donna Urquhart (Mas) bt Delia Arnold (Mas)              13/11, 11/3, 3/11, 11/6 (52m)
Heba El Torky (Egy) bt Jaclyn Hawkes (Nzl)               11/7, 7/11, 11/6, 14/12 (58m)
Dipika Pallikal (Ind) bt Nour El Tayeb (Egy)       12/10, 5/11, 11/8, 9/11, 11/6 (60m)

26 Mar, Qualifying Round One:

Joelle King (Nzl) bt Jadeleen Lee (Mas)           11/3, 11/0, 11/2 (14m)
Nour El Sherbini (Egy) bt Teh Min Jie (Mas)    11/2, 11/4, 11/4 (14m)
Donna Urquhart (Mas) bt Rachel Arnold (Mas)  11/7, 11/5, 11/2 (19m)
Delia Arnold (Mas) bt Pushppa Devi (Mas)        11/1, 11/8, 11/2 (27m)
Heba El Torky (Egy) bt Siti Munirah Jusoh (Mas)      11/2, 11/5, 11/5 (23m)
Jaclyn Hawkes (Nzl) bt Celine Yeap (Mas)               11/1, 11/4, 11/2 (17m)
Nour El Tayeb (Egy) bt Vanessa Raj (Mas)      4/11, 11/2, 11/4, 11/7 (26m)
Dipika Pallikal (Ind) bt Zuljijah Binti Azan (Mas)      11/2, 11/5, 11/7 (26m)
KL Open 2012
26-31 Mar, Kuala Lumpur, $50k
Round One
28 Mar from 16.00
29 Mar
30 Mar
31 Mar
[1] Karim Darwish (Egy)
11/2, 11/5, 11/9 (40m)
Gregoire Marche (Fra)
[1] Karim Darwish
11/5, 11/3,11/9 (26m)
[Q] Leo Au
[1] Karim Darwish

12/14, 11/8, 13/11, 11/9 (80m)

[4] Adrian Grant

[4] Adrian Grant


11/6, 13/11, 12/14, 6/11, 11/8 (112m)


[3] Omar Mosaad

Ryan Cuskelly (Aus)
11/8, 9/11, 8/11, 12/10, 11/3 (67m)
[Q] Leo Au (Hkg)
Max Lee (Hkg)
11/8, 11/5, 11/5 (40m)
[Q] Adrian Waller (Eng)
Max Lee
7/11, 9/11, 11/9, 11/4, 11/6 (73m)
[4] Adrian Grant
[4] Adrian Grant (Eng)
6/11, 11/3, 11/8, 11/8 (73m)
Ivan Yuen (Mas)
Tarek Momen (Egy)
8/11, 12/10, 10/12, 11/1, 11/6 (112m)
[3] Omar Mosaad (Egy)
[3] Omar Mosaad
11/7, 11/9, 4/11, 11/7 (56m)
Saurav Ghosal
[3] Omar Mosaad

11/6, 11/7, 8/11, 11/7 (56m)

Ong Beng Hee

[Q] Abdullah Alkmezayen (Kuw)
9/11, 11/8, 11/8, 11/6 (45m)
Saurav Ghosal (Ind)
[Q] Matthew Karwalski (Aus)
11/8 rtd (5m)
Ong Beng Hee (Mas)
Ong Beng Hee
12/10, 11/13, 6/11, 11/7, 11/7 (91m)
 Nafiizwan Adnan
Nafiizwan Adnan (Mas)
8/11, 11/7, 7/11, 11/3, 11/2 (66m)
[2] Azlan Iskandar (Mas)
27-Mar, Qualifying Finals:

Abdullah Almezayen (Kuw) bt
Zac Alexander (Aus)     11/8, 9/11, 12/10, 11/2 (52m)
Adrian Waller (Eng) bt Kamran Khan (Mas)                           11/1, 11/6, 11/8 (49m)
Matthew Karwalski (Aus) bt Gurshan Singh (Mas)                  11/5, 11/7, 11/5 (24m)
Leo Au (Hkg) bt Muhd Asyraf Azan (Mas)                            11/9, 11/7, 13/11 (57m)

26-Mar, Qualifying Round One:
Zac Alexander (Aus) bt Syafiq Kamal (Mas)                       11/4, 11/4, 11/4 (26m)
Abdullah Almezayen (Kuw) bt Kam Hing Choong (Mas)      11/5, 11/6, 11/7 (29m)
Kamran Khan (Mas) bt Sanjay Singh (Mas)                 11/7, 9/11, 11/6, 11/9 (69m)
Adrian Waller (Eng) bt Amir Farhan (Mas)                          11/2, 11/2, 11/2 (16m)
Matthew Karwalski (Aus) bt Elvinn Keo (Mas)             5/11, 11/5, 11/5, 11/4 (35m)
Gurshan Singh (Mas) bt Farhan Mehboob (Pak)           w/o
Muhd Asyraf Azan (Mas) bt Dick Lau (Hkg)                11/7, 7/11, 11/6, 11/5 (41m)
Leo Au (Hkg) bt Siddarth Suchde (Ind)        6/11, 11/13, 11/7, 14/12, 12/10 (122m)

KL Open news
from the Star (and other Malaysian papers)

2011 Event  |  2010 Event  |  2009 Event
30-Mar, Semis:

[4] Adrian Grant bt [1] Karim Darwish 
            12/14, 11/8, 13/11, 11/9 (80m)
[3] Omar Mosaad bt Ong Beng Hee
            11/6, 11/7, 8/11, 11/7

Annie Au bt [Q] Nour El Sherbini 
            9/11, 11/9, 11/8, 11/8 (43m)
[1] Nicol David bt [5] Raneem El Weleily
            15/13, 12/14, 11/6, 11/7

Semis in the Crossfire -
Andrew Cross reports

Nicol survives as KL Open finalists decided

While there were no further upsets in the semi-finals of the CIMB Nicol David KL Open WSA World Series event, Malaysia's seven-time title holder Nicol David was made to work hard before seeing off the challenge of Egypt's Raneem El Weleily in four tough games.

In the final she'll face Hong Kong's unseeded Annie Au, who ended the run of Egyptian qualifier Nour El Sherbini, coming from a game down to win 3/1.

In the men's PSA $50 event hopes of home interest in both finals were dashed as another Egyptian, third seed Omar Mosaad, beat Ong Beng Hee 3/1 to advance to the final where he'll face fourth seeded Englishman Adrian Grant who scored a sensational upset, comiong from a game down to beat top seed Karim Darwish 3/1 after 80 minutes.

A delighted Grant tweeted: "Won a battle against Darwish today, thanks to @hollyeddleston little chat. 1 more day, 1 more push, 1 more match ... final tomo."

Semis in the Crossfire - Andrew Cross reports

29-Mar, Quarters:

[1] Karim Darwish bt [Q] Leo Au      11/5, 11/3,11/9 (26m)
[4] Adrian Grant bt Max Lee 7/11, 9/11, 11/9, 11/4, 11/6 (76m)

Ong Beng Hee
bt Nafiizwan Adnan 12/10,11/13,6/11,11/7,11/7
[3] Omar Mosaad bt Saurav Ghosal  11/7, 11/9, 4/11, 11/7

In the Crossfire - Andrew Cross reports on the quarters

[Q] Nour Sherbini bt [6] Rachael Grinham 11/8,6/11,11/9,11/8
Annie Au bt [3] Laura Massaro 11/8,7/11,11/5,5/11,11/9 (76m)

[5] Raneem El Weleily bt [4] Madeline Perry 13/11, 11/6, 11/2
[1] Nicol David bt Dipika Pallikal    11/5, 11/2, 11/6

No end to the upsets in KL

Quarter-finals day at the CIMB Nicol David KL Open saw another stunning series of upsets in the WSA W$70k World Series event, as the younger generation again made its mark.

Nour El Sherbini
followed up her defeat of Jenny Duncalf with an equally impressive win over Rachael Grinham, Annie Au stunned third seed Laura Massaro in a marathon match, and Raneem El Weleily beat fourth seed Madeline Perry in straight games.

It was left to seven-time champion Nicol David to ensure that at least one of the top four seeds made the semi-finals as she ended the run of Dipika Pallikal in straight games.

In the men's $50k event the three remaining top seeds all came through - poster boy Adrian Grant having to come from two games down though - to be joined in the semis by Ong Beng Hee who won a marathon all-Malaysian affair with Nafiizwan Adnan.


"Déçue et frustrée... Il y avait vraiment la place..

J'avais un plan tactique, j'ai essayé de m'y tenir tout le long du match.. Ce qui est rageant, c'est que j'ai mené beaucoup d'échanges, je l'ai fais courir, bougé, mais je n'arrivais pas à conclure... à l'image du 1er jeu que je mène et au dernier que je dois gagner après 2 balles de jeu..

J'étais dans une bonne phase d'entraînement avant de faire ce tournoi, alors même si on a envie que ça paie tout de suite, il faut être patient et continuer sur cette voie..

Je pars au Texas dans 3 semaines. Objectif: remporter le tournoi! Alors retour maison pour travailler et voir les points qui m'ont empêcher de passer ici..

À bientôt, bises"

Merci :)

28-Mar, Round One:
Day for the youngsters in KL

First round action in the CIMB Nicol David KL Open saw a series of upsets by the young generation of WSA players at the National Squash Centre in Bukit Jalil.

Round One - the Crossview
Andrew Cross reports

First, and biggest, was Nour El Sherbini's stunning 3/2 defeat of world number two Jenny Duncalf.

The  16-year-old former world junior champion picked up her biggest scalp to date as she won a see-saw battle in 48 minutes.

"BOOM, so delighted to get through it," tweeted Sherbini.

At the same time, Sherbini's compatriot Heba El Torky, 21, was stretching sixth seed Rachael Grinham to all the way to 12/10 in the fifth after 88 minutes.

Another upset quickly followed though, as Hong Kong's Annie Au, 23, beat former world number two and seventh seed Natalie Grinham in four games.

Then it was the turn of Raneem El Weleily, the 23-year-old fifth seed to provide more Egyptian success as she beat Malaysian number two Low Wee Wern in straight games.

"Proud of @Nour_Sherbini who's also through to the quarters beating the world's #2," tweeted El Weleily.

The final upset of the day came when 20-year-old Dipika Pallikal joined in the fun with a straight games win over eighth seed Kasey Brown.

"First win over a top 10 player," tweeted the Indian starlet, "quarters tomorrow against World number 1. Big day ahead :)"

Laura Massaro and Madeline Perry, the third and fourth seeds, kept the flag flying for the older generation as they went through to set up quarter-final meetings with Au and Weleily, and the quarter-final draw was rounded off as Nicol David started her quest for an eighth KL title with a straight games win over qualifier Donna Urquhart.

Adnan upsets Azlan,
but home semi-finalist assured

Meanwhile in the PSA $50k event, top seed and defending champion Karim Darwish opened his defence comfortably enough with a straight games win over young Frenchman Greg Marche.

There were upsets elsewhere in the draw  though, none more so than in the bottom spot as Nafiizwan Adnan got the better of second seeded compatriot Azlan Iskandar in a five game battle.

A Malaysian semi-finalist is assured as Adnan now weets Ong Beng Hee, who eased through against an injured Matthew Karwalski.

Hong Kong's Leo Au, Annie's younger brother, continued his recent fine run of form  - and marathon matches - with a 67-minute upset win over Australian Ryan Cuskelly, but the longest match of the day was the all-Egyptian meeting between Omar Mosaad and Tarek Momen, with third seed Mosaad prevailing 3/2 after 112 minutes.

This poster needs to be bigger i think! My head is to small :-)

Round One - the Crossview
Andrew Cross reports

Qualifying Finals
27-Mar, Qualifying Finals:
Qualifying complete in KL

Andrew Cross reports

The CIMB Nicol David KL open final round of qualifying got underway with some extremely difficult matches. After yesterday's rather comfortable matches on the women’s side today was the first real day for the women to showcase their sport at the highest level.

The opening two matches were extremely close with two upcoming juniors taking to the court, Dipika Pallikal from India taking on Nour El Tayeb from Egypt.

Dipika had a highest ranking of 14 last month against Tayeb whose highest ranking of 12 at the end of 2011, so on paper this promised to be close and so it proved to be.

The opening game was 10.10 when Dipika finished it off with a low backhand volley and then El Tayeb hit the tin. El Tayeb then squared the match at one game all and built a healthy lead in the third to 6-2 but Dipika came back strong to lead 10.7 and she closed out the game 11.8. El Tayeb came back to win the fourth 11.9 but Dipika eventually close it out in the fifth. This was the opening match in what proved to be a high quality night for women’s squash.

Jacklyn Hawkes was looking to use her experience against Heba El Torky and again this proved to be a close match. The last time they met back in 2010 it was a 3-1 win to Heba and so this was the case again tonight. A slightly scrappy match that seemed to suit the Egyptian more than Hawkes. The opening games were shared before Heba went on to win the third and the fourth and the fourth only just 14-12.

The second matches onto the court saw two well established players taking to the court when the last surviving local player Delia Arnold took to the court to take on Donna Urquhart from Australia. Considering how long they have been playing on the tour these two have actually never played before.

An even opening game stood at 11-10 to Donna when Donna caught Delia in the face with the racket. Delia received a small nick to the face yet somehow it was deemed self inflicted by the referee so she only had three minutes to sort out the injury. Donna went on to win the opening game. Very quickly it became two games to nil. In the third Delia got off to a better start leading 5-0 and then 10-2 before winning 11-3. The fourth was close up until the midpoint of the game when Donna put together a few points to lead 10-6 and she closed out the match to book her spot in the first round against Nicol David.

Joelle King and Nour El Sherbini took to the next court and this one promised to be a great match. Both women strike the ball beautifully and powerfully, with both girls finishing off their opponents yesterday in 14 minutes they both had plenty of energy to offer to the match.

This proved to be a high quality match with Sherbini taking the opening games with lots of attacking shots from the back of the court. Any shot that king left half court to ¾ court and with an angle usually ended with a straight drop. In games two and three King found better length and managed to limit the angles that she provided Sherbini with.

The fourth was tight all the way with until King held match balls at 11-10, five lets followed as both players played safe waiting for the opportunity. However King left Sherbini with two angles and Sherbini obliged to hit two winners and force a fifth.

King started better in the fifth taking a 4-0 lead but Sherbini fought back to lead. The next few points were shared until Sherbini got a few points clear again attacking well from the back of the court.

This was the final match of the night and there was a big crowd to see who would win. Eventually Sherbini won the match on a stroke in what was a high quality match.

It was a great night for women’s squash and im sure that the people involved in it have a lot to be happy and proud about.

On the men’s side of the draw the opening matches saw Matthew Karwalski from Australia prevail over Gurshan Singh and Leo Au back up his tough match from yesterday with a win over Asyraf Azan.

Matthew seeming to struggle with a leg injury used the height on the front wall to recover back to the middle and had a little bit too much experience for the local who received a walkover yesterday.

Asyraf and Leo played quite a scrappy match with lots of points ending in lets and collisions around the middle of the court. Leo held his composure better and remained focus despite all the distractions to see off the local boy.

Adrian Waller played with a great variety of pace and deception to see off the last local in qualifying Kamran Khan. Waller played a brilliant opening game winning it 11-1 before Khan got back into the match. The second and third were competitive but Waller never looked like he was going to lose after playing so commandingly in the opening game.

The final match of the night proved to be a brilliant match that went all the way to a fifth. It was a match that has contrasting styles Zac Alexander the Australian that has a very good strong basic game against the unpredictable Abdullah Almezayen. Abdullah got off to the better start using his deception to hold Zac on the T looking to play a drop and then push the ball to the back of the court.

Lots of drops were coming off Abdullahs racket that stayed way up the court catching Zac hanging back a little bit.

Zac was also playing well he never gives an opponent anything for free and to win a point you are required to work extremely hard for it. The opening four games were shared but Abdullah got the better start in the fifth and quickly led 10-2. He eventually finished it off 11-2 and even though the match may have only been 52 minutes long there were a lot of short sharp intense rallies.


Qualifying Round One

26-Mar, Qualifying Day One:
CIMB ND under way in KL

Andrew Cross reports

The anticipation is over as the CIMB Nicol David KL open championships finally got under way at the National Centre Bukit Jalil.

Uphill task for home hopefuls

The women’s qualifying draw saw home interest involved in every match and it looked a tall order indeed for the Malaysian’s as they took on some well established opponents.

Dipika Pallikal and Nour El Tayeb were first onto the court, Dipika the current World Number 15 beat Zulhijjah Azan 11-2, 11-5,11-7 as the local player seemed to get better as the match went on.

Dipika will play El Tayeb, the current World Junior Champion, after she beat Vanessa Raj despite starting slowly. El Tayeb dropped the first game but recovered sufficiently enough to win the next three games.

Jacklyn Hawkes made light work of Celine Yeap and will play Heba El Torky tomorrow. The Egyptian, who seems to bounce around the court, beat Siti Muniroh 11-2, 11-5,11-5.

Donna Urquhart, who has been a regular to Malaysia over the last few years, took on National Junior Rachel Arnold and after finding her feet in the opening game took control of the match in games two and three. Tomorrow Donna will expect to have a tougher match against Rachel's older sister Delia Arnold who overcame Pushppa Devi also three games to love.

The final matches of the day saw two more national juniors taking to the courts in what looked to be two very difficult matches for them and so it proved to be as Nour El Sherbini beat Teh Min Jie and Joelle King beat Jadeleen Lee.

Tough days for the locals in the women’s draw but it is great exposure for them as some of them look to the long term and a life on the WSA tour.

Tough openers for the Men

In the Men’s draw there were some tough opening matches with Indian Siddharth Suchde taking on Leo Au from Hong Kong and Asyraf Azan taking on Dick Lau also from Hong Kong.

Azan won in 41 minutes, but Siddharth and Leo played a match that lasted just over two hours!

Siddharth won the first game and as Leo looked to level in the second at 11-all Siddharth played a great low backhand drive and then Leo followed this by easy boast tin.

That was two games up to Siddharth and now he was looking to close out the match but Leo had other ideas. Leo opened up a lead in the third and Siddharth couldn’t quite recover. The fourth was similar with Leo opening a small lead before Siddharth fought back.

Another game that Leo just stole on the tie break, we were into a fifth and both were still moving as they were in the first few rallies showing no signs of tiredness.

The fifth went to a tie break Leo got the point to go to 11-10 a few lets followed and then another long rally and in the back corner Siddharth struggled after hitting a ball to recover and appeared to cramp so with Leo the whole court to hit into finished it off with a backhand drop.

Siddharth however was laid flat out on the floor cramping in agony.

Leo will need a good night's rest before he takes on Azan who beat Dick Lau in four games. The opening games were shared before Azan gained control to take the third and the fourth games.

After the two hour match the next match was nonexistent as Gurshan Singh received a Walkover against Farhan Mehboob who failed to show.

Singh will play Matthew Karwalski after the Australian beat Malaysian Elvinn Keo. Elvinn played well in the first before then losing his way and lost the next three games.

Adrian Waller will be in good shape to face Kamran Khan tomorrow after beating Amir Farhan 11-2, 11-2, 11-2.

Kamran was made to work a lot harder than Waller against Sanjay Singh in what was a closely contested match. Kamran with more experience at this level won the opening game before Sanjay hit back to win the second.

Kamran regained the third but it looked like we could go to a fifth after Sanjay was leading 8-5. Kamran however slowed down the pace a little bit and his younger opponent got a little bit excited. Kamran reeled off the next 6 points in a row.

Abdullah Al Muzayen, the guy with the magic racket, beat Choong Kam Hing to play Zac Alexander who beat Syafiq Kamal.

Tomorrow this match promises to be a clash of styles as the hard working Australian looks to combat the flamboyance of the Kuwaiti.

Coming up in KL
Preview from Andrew Cross

Malaysian Sport celebrates what will no doubt be a busy week for all sports fans across the country. This weekend will see the Malaysian Formula one Grand Prix, Axiata Cup (ASIAN Men’s team badminton) and of course the CIMB Nicol David KL Open.

Berjaya Times square will once again host the competition from the quarter finals onwards, a fantastic venue in the centre of KL. The championships have been renamed this year after probably the countries biggest sporting superstar in recognition of her achievements.

Nicol will begin a quest for an 8th KL Open title with an opening match against a qualifier. There is a possibility of a quarter final meeting with Kasey Brown should Brown overcome a qualifier in the opening round. Brown is currently playing in Canada [she's in the final of the Atwater Cup today] and will make a trip around the world to be here.

The next quarter of the draw looks very tough indeed and on the bouncy courts in the National Squash Centre, Bukit Jalil it could prove to be an even playing field. Madeline Perry, last year’s runner up, faces Camille Serme in what promises to be a great opening round match. The winner of this match will also play the winner of another tough match between Raneem El Weleily and another local star Low Wee Wern.

In the next quarter of the draw comes another tough little quarter with Annie Au from Hong Kong, last year’s semi finalist taking, on former world number two Natalie Grinham. Samantha Teran takes on Laura Massaro in what could be another tough first round match.

Rachel Grinham and second seed Jenny Duncalf will both take on qualifiers in their opening round matches.

From the way I write people may believe that playing a qualifier in the opening round will mean that the seeded players will be guaranteed to make the quarter finals but by having had two matches already on the courts, understanding the referees' viewpoints and being into tournament mode will this mean that some of the qualifiers progress.

There are two World Junior champions in qualifying as well as four more players that make up the top 16 in the world.

In the men’s draw it will see the return of last year’s champion Karim Darwish and he will begin against Frenchman Gregoire Marche in a repeat of last year's semi-final which Darwish won 3-0 on his way to the title. Winner of this match will play either Ryan Cuskelly or a qualifier.

Adrian Grant will take on former World Junior runner up and wildcard for the tournament Ivan Yuen. This promises to be an interesting encounter as Ivan looks to build on some good form that he has shown.

The lower half of the draw seems very tough with an all Egyptian clash taking place in the first round. Omar Mossad, third seed and winner in Hong Kong last week, will take on compatriot Tarek Momen who took James Willstrop all the way to a fifth in Canary Wharf. Winner of this brutal encounter looks set to take on Saurav Ghosal who also pushed the current world number one Willstrop to a fifth in the opening round in Canary Wharf.

The last quarter of the draw sees a lot of home interest with Ong Beng Hee taking on a qualifier and he will be looking to continue his good start to the year. The final match in the draw sees two friends and training partners taking to the court, Azlan Iskander v Nafizwan Adnan. Azlan is the current Asian Games champion taking on the current Asian Champion Nafizwan - promises to be another good match.

Qualifying looks interesting with a wide mix of players who play with different styles, top 8 qualifiers are now seeded and I’m sure they will all be looking to avoid Abdullah Al Muzayen from Kuwait who is a very talented player whose world ranking does not reflect his true ability.


KL Open goes Gold -
and gets a new name ...

Following the world No1’s record sixth World Open title win last year, the tournament sponsors CIMB Group have paid tribute to Nicol David, who currently has 59 WSA titles to her name.

Group Chief Executive of CIMB Group, Dato’ Sri Nazir Razak said:

"Nicol is a national icon, and she is arguably Malaysia's most successful sportsperson ever. We decided to rename the KL Open to ensure her achievements are remembered and celebrated annually."

Nicol has played in eleven previous CIMB KL Open finals, winning seven of them, and last year was honoured by Malaysia’s Prime Minister for her successes after securing her most recent world open title.

Last year she claimed all but one of the WSA World Series events, falling just short of a clean-sweep as she lost  to Kasey Brown in the semi-finals of the Delaware Investments US Open in Philadelphia, Laura Massaro going on to take the title.

The tournament is also being upgraded to a World Series Gold event, which will see the prize money total increase from $45k to $60k  and will sit alongside the Australian Open, Malaysian Open, US Open, Qatar Classic and Hong Kong Open as this year’s WSA World Series events, culminating with the Cayman Islands World Open in December.

WSA Chairman Ingrid Lofdahl-Bentzer commends the deal that further raises the profile of women’s squash. She said:

"It’s wonderful to see CIMB continuing to recognise the value of supporting squash and honouring Nicol David by naming the tournament after her. Furthermore we are very pleased to see an already prestigious event take the step up to World Series.

"Last year was a particularly exciting one on the WSA World Tour with a number of younger players starting to make an impact, so we are sure they will be rewarded with a fantastic event and Nicol David will have to be at her best to defend her title."

The CIMB NICOL DAVID KL OPEN SQUASH CHAMPIONSHIPS 2012 will mark the first World Series event of the year for the WSA World Tour, following the ATCO World Series Finals at the Queen’s Club, London in January.

Top seeds Nicol and World No2 Jenny Duncalf will face qualifiers in the first round which starts on 28th March 2012. No3 seed Laura Massaro will face Samantha Teran of Mexico in the first round, whilst Irish No4 seed Madeline Perry will play France's Camille Serme.

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