Sevens years have passed since Rebecca Chiu Wing-yin (pictured) beat Nicol David and the gap between the two is getting greater, and the games, shorter.
World number one David was too good for Chiu again yesterday, crushing the home star 3-0 (11-3, 11-6, 11-3) in the second round of the Cathay Pacific Gale Well Hong Kong Open. Chiu's defeat ended Hong Kong interest in the HK$1.6 million tournament at Hong Kong Squash Centre.
David, from Malaysia, has not lost to her Hong Kong rival since the 2002 Asian Games in Pusan; the two have been Asia's leading players, but the gap between them has been widening in recent years, said Tony Choi Yuk-kwan, the Hong Kong team coach.
'David is in her very best years and has got everything to be a winner - fitness, skills, techniques, tactics and it will be difficult for any player to beat her unless she makes a lot of mistakes in one match,' Choi said.
'Chiu can only maintain her standard as she has been working very hard in training, but you cannot expect a player who is over 30 to make any big improvement.'
The 26-year-old Malaysian has occupied the world's top spot for a record 39 months since August 2006.
David's attempt to win her fourth consecutive Hong Kong title became easier yesterday when the world number two, Australian-born Natalie Grinham of the Netherlands was forced to withdraw from her last-16 match against Camille Serme of France.
Grinham, who beat Hong Kong's Elise Ng Jia-yunn 3-0 in the first round on Wednesday, had been sick all night with a stomach bug and was too weak to play.
'I'm really disappointed as I have been playing well and was really prepared for this week,' Grinham, who lost to David in the semi-finals in Hong Kong last year, said.
In the men's second round, world number 20 Mohammed Azlan Iskandar of Malaysia pulled off a major surprise when he beat fifth-seed David Palmer of Australia in five games.
Number of months Nicol David has occupied the world's women's squash spot: 39