Malaysian star David claims third world title
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World number one Nicol David recovered her world title in Manchester on Sunday, bringing her total to three. Meanwhile, the men's junior champion, Egypt's 21-year-old prodigy Ramy Ashour, won the senior title as well.
Malaysian golden girl Nicol David clinched a third World Open here on Sunday while Egypt's Ramy Ashour claimed the men's title.
David, the world number one, endured a career crisis last year when she lost both the British and World Open titles and had set her heart on getting them back in 2008.
Having regained the British five months ago in Liverpool, she now repeated the achievement at the tour's most important tournament, beating the surprise finalist from England, Vicky Botwright 5-11, 11-1, 11-6, 11-9.
"I feel relief that I actually won it this time round. I learned so much from losing (the world title last year), when everyone was wondering what had happened. But Liz (Irving, her coach) knew what we had to do, and we did it. I've learnt so many new things," said the Asian star.
"I feel all sorts of things. There are all mixed emotions because this world title is clearly a different feeling, coming after losing it. But emotionally I am still quite stunned.
"After losing the first game I had to start the match again, and do something different. And when she came back at me in the fourth game I had to hang in there. I'm so glad I was able to do that."
It was not the best performance by David and it was the first time she had dropped a game all week.
However, it was one which showed her immense determination, some extra variety in her game, and increasingly versatile mental qualities in the difficult moments.
She was assaulted by an enterprising attack from the start by Botwright, who was playing in her last match before retirement and had the home crowd behind her, and looked for a while as though she were capable of a surprise.
But from the second game onwards David not only found greater accuracy with her basic line and length, but scored well in the front court, especially with volley drops.
She also found a way to win when Botwright came back dangerously in the fourth game to lead 8-7, when a decider - in which the home player's support would have become immense - seemed dangerously possible.
David produced a winning drop shot to get to 9-8 and a drive-dropshot combination to get to match point, which she converted when the British referees correctly gave a penalty stroke to the overseas player when Botwright hit the ball back too close to herself.
The men's event brought a new champion with 21-year-old Ashour adding the world title to his Super Series triumph from here last year.
Ashour had beaten his compatriot Amr Shabana, the top-seeded titleholder in the semi-finals and on Sunday overcame another Egyptian, Karim Darwish 5-11, 11-8, 11-4, 11-5.
Ashour became the first player to emulate Jansher Khan, the great Pakistani of the eighties and nineties, in having won both the world junior and world senior titles.
"To be in the same category as Jansher is a huge thing," Ashour said.
"He is one of the legends of all time. I have been watching him on YouTube and I have taken shots from him."