Birthday girl Nicol David had to fight for her place in the quarter-finals of the Women’s Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Open after being taken to four games by local star and long-time Asian rival Rebecca Chiu in today’s (Thursday) second round of the $74,000 WISPA World Tour squash event – the seventh WISPA Goldchampionship of the year – in Hong Kong.
The world number one from Malaysia, bidding to win her sixth successive title in Hong Kong, was celebrating her 27th birthday – and her 26th clash with Chiu since meeting the former Hong Kong number one for the first time in the 1998 Asian Games final.
David was tested for 42 minutes before finally clinching the 11-6, 11-8, 9-11, 11-9 victory which takes the title-holder into the last eight.
“I was definitely expecting a hard match,” David told www.squashsite.co.uk afterwards. “The last time I played on my birthday was in the Asian U13s!
“Rebecca had nothing to lose, so she just went for it, especially in the third and fourth. I made a few errors and my focus went up and down a little. The fourth could have been anyone’s but fortunately she made a mistake at 9-all.”
David now plays Laura Massaro, the No7 seed from England who ended Lisa Camilleri‘s dream run by despatching the Australian qualifier 11-3, 11-6, 11-0 in just 19 minutes.
On the first day in the event’s history that two players from Hong Kong have contested the last 16, there was further local disappointment when the current number one Annie Au also crashed out.
But the 13th seed twice levelled the match against higher-ranked Omneya Abdel Kawy before the fifth seed from Egypt moved up a level in the decider to record an 11-9, 1-11, 11-6, 4-11, 11-5 victory after 41 minutes.
 Nicol David (MAS) bt  Rebecca Chiu (HKG) 11-6, 11-8, 9-11, 11-9 (42m)
 Laura Massaro (ENG) bt [Q] Lisa Camilleri (AUS) 11-3, 11-6, 11-0 (19m)
 Rachael Grinham (AUS) bt  Camille Serme (FRA) 11-9, 11-9, 11-5 (30m)
 Madeline Perry (IRL) bt  Engy Kheirallah (EGY) 11-7, 12-10, 11-1 (35m)
 Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) bt  Annie Au (HKG) 11-9, 1-11, 11-6, 4-11, 11-5 (41m)
 Alison Waters (ENG) bt  Samantha Teran (MEX) w/o
 Kasey Brown (AUS) bt  Donna Urquhart (AUS) 7-11, 11-7, 11-2, 11-6 (49m)
 Jenny Duncalf (ENG) bt  Vanessa Atkinson (NED) 11-7, 11-9, 11-6 (38m)