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David escapes cull of World Open seeds

MANCHESTER, England (AFP) — Nicol David, who aims to follow her recapture of the British Open title by regaining the World Open as well, reached the quarter-finals with a solid win over one of her most memorable adversaries.

The world number one from Malaysia was given one of her biggest shocks in the 2002 Asian Games final in Busan when she was beaten by Rebecca Chiu, but David scored a comfortable 11-3, 11-8,11-7 victory on Thursday over the Hong Kong player.

David, who has been heaped with honours in the last ten months during which she has completed more than two years at the top of the world rankings, was required to peg back a 3-6 deficit in the third game but was never under heavy pressure.

Indeed she began to find a good rhythm quite early on, by no means an easy thing because all the women have been made to play on the conventional plaster outside courts in the first round before moving to the slower, cooler, all-glass show-court.

"It's a big change," said David. "It's a lot of getting use to at the start. It's always like that with the glass - but it gets the adrenalin going because you just want to play well before the crowd.

"The corners are deader than on the side courts, so you have to work these corners. When that works your way, it's great.

"I was pleased with my game today. I managed to keep on top of it, although Rebecca got used to the court and got into it more in the third game.

"There have been a lot of surprises so far in the tournament, but you just have to play your match and keep it that way as much as possible and not look elsewhere," added David.

She was referring to the surprise defeats of Rachael Grinham, the defending champion from Australia, Natalie Grainger, the former world number one from the United States, and Shelley Kitchen, the world number six from New Zealand, who had caused the biggest upset in years by beating David in the World Open in Madrid a year ago.

This means that David's most serious remaining rival appears to be Natalie Grinham, the third-seeded younger of the two Australian sister who is representing her adopted country of The Netherlands for the first time in a World Open.

David next plays Omneya Abdel Kawy, the ninth-seeded Egyptian.

Women's 2nd round (top half of draw):
Nicol David (MAS) bt Rebecca Chiu (HKG)
11-3, 11-8, 11-7 (24m)

Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) bt Laura Lengthorn-Massaro (ENG)
21-23, 19-17, 12-14, 11-6, 11-7 (85m)

Jaclyn Hawkes (NZL) bt Natalie Grainger (USA)
11-5, 5-11, 11-8, 6-11, 11-8 (41m)

Madeline Perry (IRL) bt Shelley Kitchen (NZL)
11-5, 11-6, 11-2 (34m)