David to face Massaro in Canberra decider

Andrew Dent reports

Defending champion Nicol David was back to her imposing best as she defeated 2010 winner Madeline Perry in the semi-finals of the HI-TEC Australian Open in Canberra on Saturday.

David beat the Northern Irishwoman in straight games 11-7, 11-4, 11-5 to set up a final against England’s Laura Massaro, who earlier took five games to see off India’s Dipika Pallikal 11-7, 7-11, 13-11, 3-11, 11-9.

The Malaysian superstar was pushed hard in Friday’s quarter-finals by Alison Waters, who exposed some chinks in the world number one’s armour in a thrilling contest. But she was back to her devastating best against Perry, who admitted later she didn’t have an answer despite going into the semi-final in great form.

“I have to win the rally 10 times to win a point,” Perry said. “I end up trying to hit the ball lower and lower and that’s why I made so many mistakes. It’s difficult to know how to win a point when she gets everything back and doesn’t make a lot of errors.”

David’s movement was superb as she chased down everything, never giving Perry an easy point throughout.

“The match yesterday gave me a real motivation for today, to stay focused and stay solid,” David said. “I was moving well and hitting the ball well so hopefully it will be the same tomorrow.

“A match like yesterday makes you sharper and makes you more aware of what your opponent’s trying to do to you. After yesterday I was a bit more prepared for what was coming today.”

Massaro came from 5-9 in the deciding fifth game to beat Pallikal and deny India a first ever finalist in a major tournament.

Pallikal had played superbly to take the fourth game 11-3 and opened a big lead in the fifth before faltering under the pressure of Massaro’s comeback. After beginning the match strongly, Massaro began to struggle to cope with Pallikal’s deceptiveness at the front of the court.

Pallikal was unlucky to lose the third in a tiebreak then dominated until the late stages of the fifth. She will be rueing losing a match that even her opponent conceded she should have won.

“At 9-5 down in the fifth I’d just decided I’d lost really and I just wanted to finish well and make the score respectable,” Massaro said.

“She probably thought she had won it, I’ve been there myself – you’ve got such a big lead and you think ‘I’ll win one more point surely’.”

David and Massaro have met on 17 occasions with the Malaysian winning 15 times and Massaro twice. However, the Englishwoman has pushed David over the past two years, with her two wins coming in major tournaments in 2011, the Malaysian Open and Singapore Masters.

18-Aug, Semi-Finals

[3] Laura Massaro (Eng) bt [11] Dipika Pallikal (Ind)  11/7, 7/11, 13/11, 3/11, 11/9 (72m)
[1] Nicol David (Mas)bt [4] Madeline Perry (Irl) 11/7, 11/4, 11/5 (39m)

Full SquashSite Coverage |  OzOpenSquash.com

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