Top seed Nicol David confidently reached the women’s CIMB KL Open Squash Championships final for the eighth year in a row after beating English rival Alison Waters in straight games in the semi-finals of the WISPA World Tour Gold squash event in Berjaya Times Square in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur.
Londoner Waters was making her WISPA Tour comeback in KL after a five-month absence following Achilles surgery. The world number five had reached her second successive KL semi after battling to a five-game win over Australia’s former world number one Rachael Grinham.
But Malaysia’s world number one was too strong for Waters as David despatched the third seed 11-4, 12-10, 11-5 in 36 minutes.
It was the end of the road for Hong Kong’s unseeded Annie Au in the other women’s semi-final. The 22-year-old world No11 had upset France’s No8 seed Camille Serme, ranked two places higher, in the previous round.
But Ireland’s Madeline Perry, the seventh seed from Belfast, was determined to make her maiden KL final, and beat Au 11-4, 5-11, 11-8, 12-10 in 62 minutes.
The men’s PSA World Tour International 50 event will climax in an all-Egyptian final between favourite Karim Darwish and second seed Mohamed El Shorbagy.
In only his third time in the KL championship, world No3 Darwish celebrated his second successive final appearance after beating French qualifier Gregoire Marche 11-6, 11-5, 11-3.
Marche, the world No72 from Aix-en-Provence, had enjoyed one of the best Tour runs of his career in the Malaysian capital where he made his breakthrough in the opening round with a stunning straight games defeat of Australia’s third seed Cameron Pilley.
But hopes of a third KL Open title for local hero Mohd Azlan Iskandar, the fourth seed from Kuala Lumpur, were dashed by young Egyptian Mohamed El Shorbagy. The 20-year-old world No9 from Alexandria recovered from a game down to beat 28-year-old Iskandar, ranked a single place lower, 8-11, 14-12, 11-7, 11-5 in 64 minutes.
Women’s semi-finals: Nicol David (MAS) bt  Alison Waters (ENG) 11-4, 12-10, 11-5 (36m)  Madeline Perry (IRL) bt Annie Au (HKG) 11-4, 5-11, 11-8, 12-10 (62m)
Men’s semi-finals: Karim Darwish (EGY) bt [Q] Gregoire Marche (FRA) 11-6, 11-5, 11-3 (29m)  Mohamed El Shorbagy (EGY) bt  Mohd Azlan Iskandar (MAS) 8-11, 14-12, 11-7, 11-5 (64m)