DATUK NICOL DAVID began her assault on an unprecedented eighth women’s world championship title in sizzling fashion, dispatching England’s Emma Beddoes 11-9, 11-5, 11-8 in just 36 minutes at the SPICE Arena in Penang.
Nicol took a while to get into the game as Beddoes raced into a quick-fire 3-0 lead in the first game.
The Malaysian eventually got her bearings in order, but Beddoes cut a plucky customer and matched the world No. 1 as they were tied 9-9. The 31-year-old eventually used her experience and court craft to prevail 11-9 in the 19-minute encounter.
Nicol’s game sharpened significantly in the second, as her front court play was just too hot for Beddoes to handle, the Englishwoman eventually succumbing 11-5 in 11 minutes.
The fast tiring Beddoes tried to force the issue in the third game and put up a gallant fight to tie the scores at 7-7, but a couple of unforced errors eventually paved the way for Nicol, the Penangite wrapping it up 11-8 in 12 minutes.
Nicol will next face Egyptian qualifier Heba El Torky, who produced the upset of the day with a 13-11, 4-11, 11-7, 11-8 win over world No. 8 Annie Au of Hong Kong.
The other upset of the tournament came from Guyana’s Nicolette Fernandes, who slayed 2007 world champion and former world No. 1 Rachael Grinham 4-11, 6-11, 12-10, 11-8, 11-7 in a topsy-turvy encounter.
The bottom half of the championship table is tomorrow Wednesday, with second seed Laura Massaro of England to play local wildcard entry Vanessa Raj.
Third seed Egyptian Raneem El Weleily takes on compatriot Salma Hany.