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Malaysia Celebrate Unexpected Asian Championship Double

The 2011 PBA-Nusmetro Asian Squash Championships produced a dream home double for host nation Malaysia – but whilst world number one Nicol David was expected to win the women’s title at the new Nicol David International Squash Centre in her hometown Penang, few would have bet that the men’s crown would go to Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan, a 3/4 seed from Terengganu in north east Malaysia.

Nicol David swept through the high quality women’s field to reach the final without dropping a game.

By contrast, her opponent Annie Au, the No2 seed from Hong Kong, had taken 86 minutes to overpower rising Malaysian star Low Wee Wern – also from Penang – 12-10, 10-12, 13-11, 12-10.

Spurred on by a passionate and loyal crowd that included her family – and in the squash facility that bears her name – David was relentless and never allowed world No10 Au into the match.

“Annie is a player that, if you let her get into her rhythm, it becomes a very different game,” said the Malaysian superstar after her 11-3, 11-2, 11-5 triumph in just 23 minutes.

“I wanted to make sure she didn’t!”

Nicol David has been unbeaten in the event since first competing in the 1998 championships in Kuala Lumpur as a 14-year-old. The 2011 title extends her reign to eight successive titles!

It was after upsetting Pakistan’s No2 seed Farhan Mehboob in four games in the semi-finals that Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan, ranked 45 in the world, reached the men’s final for the first time.

His opponent was seasoned compatriot Ong Beng Hee, the event favourite from Kuala Lumpur who has only once failed to reach the final since 2000 and won the title four times in a row until 2006.

But 25-year-old underdog ‘Wan’ defeated former world No7 Ong 11-7, 7-11, 11-7, 11-8 in a tenacious and physical 64-minute final.

“I thought if I kept him behind me, I could outplay him at the front,” said an exuberant Adnan.

Ong Beng Hee fought to the end as he was pushed by the raucous crowd who favoured him. “I’m disappointed with my performance today, but Wan played well as he had all tournament,” said the former champion.

Men’s quarter-finals:
[2] Farhan Mehboob (PAK) bt [9/16] Harinder Pal Sandhu (IND) 11-8, 11-8, 11-4 (46m)
[3/4] Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) bt [5/8] Muhd Asyraf Azan (MAS) 11-9, 11-5, 3-11, 11-8 (71m)
[5/8] Siddharth Suchde (IND) bt [3/4] Abdullah Almezayen (KUW) 12-14, 11-6, 11-8, 8-11, 11-8 (68m)
[1] Ong Beng Hee (MAS) bt Elvinn Keo (MAS) 11-8, 11-4, 9-11, 15-13 (51m)
Semi-finals:
[3/4] Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) bt [2] Farhan Mehboob (PAK) 11-8, 9-11, 11-8, 11-9 (52m)
[1] Ong Beng Hee (MAS) bt [5/8] Siddharth Suchde (IND) 11-6, 11-9, 6-11, 10-12, 11-4 (89m)
Final:
[3/4] Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) bt [1] Ong Beng Hee (MAS) 11-7, 7-11, 11-7, 11-8 (64m)

Women’s quarter-finals:
[1] Nicol David (MAS) bt [5/8] Joey Chan (HKG) 11-6, 11-6, 11-7 (31m)
[3/4] Delia Arnold (MAS) bt [5/8] Dipika Pallikal (IND) 9-11, 11-7, 5-11, 11-5, 11-9 (75m)
[3/4] Low Wee Wern (MAS) bt Siti Munirah Jusoh (MAS) 11-8, 10-12, 11-8, 11-2 (48m)
[2] Annie Au (HKG) bt [5/8] Song Sun-Mi (KOR) 11-3, 11-6, 11-8 (30m)
Semi-finals:
[1] Nicol David (MAS) bt [3/4] Delia Arnold (MAS) 11-7, 11-4, 11-6 (26m)
[2] Annie Au (HKG) bt [3/4] Low Wee Wern (MAS) 12-10, 10-12, 13-11, 12-10 (86m)
Final:
[1] Nicol David (MAS) bt [2] Annie Au (HKG) 11-3, 11-2, 11-5 (23m)

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