Champ David in seventh heaven
Malaysian world No 1 wins again while Egypt's Ashour upsets the odds to regain men's title
Hong Kong is home away from home for Malaysia's world No 1 Nicol David, who won her seventh consecutive title in the city yesterday when she beat Frenchman Camille Serme 11-9, 11-6, 8-11, 11-7 in the final of the Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Open.
Unlike the previous day, when rain forced the men's semi-finals to be moved from the outdoor court at the Cultural Centre piazza in Tsim Sha Tsui to the Hong Kong Squash Centre in Admiralty, the weather gods were kind yesterday as the clouds cleared just before the finals began. This was important because two senior International Olympic Committee officials were in town to evaluate the sport, which is bidding to join the Games in 2020.
This time they got to watch the show against the spectacular backdrop of Victoria Harbour.
"The fact that they have seen the quality of the game, the way Hong Kong organises this tournament ... I hope we've impressed them," David said.
What surely was impressive was the quality of David's game even though, at 58 minutes, it was the Malaysian's longest match at this year's tournament.
"It's always special in Hong Kong. It was here that I won my first World Open title  so there's always a special feeling when I play in Hong Kong," she said.
She admitted, however, that the final was tougher than she had anticipated. "Serme had absolutely no fear at the start of the match. She is younger than me and can run and run. I see her as a serious rival to watch out for in the future."
The 29 year-old veteran will depart for Amsterdam via Malaysia today for some rest before she defends her World Open title in then Cayman Islands in two weeks.
Meanwhile, Egypt's Ramy Ashour upset defending champion James Willstrop of England 11-8, 3-11, 11-7, 11-6 in the men's final, which lasted 64 minutes.
"Winning the Hong Kong Open twice is something I am really proud of," said former world No1 Ashour, who regained the Hong Kong Open title he won in 2010.
"James has been consistent as he is the world No1 now, so I had to play my heart out," added the Egyptian, who is now targeting a return to the top of the world rankings.