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Updated: May 5, 2010 02:06 IST

Mohd. Azlan, Nicol David emerge champions

Kunal Diwan
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WORTHY CHAMPIONS: Mohd. Azlan retained the men's title while Nicol David clinched her seventh successive Asian women's crown, in Chennai on Tuesday.
V. Ganesan WORTHY CHAMPIONS: Mohd. Azlan retained the men's title while Nicol David clinched her seventh successive Asian women's crown, in Chennai on Tuesday.

Top-seeded Malaysian Mohd. Azlan defended his title while World. No. 1 Nicol David clinched her seventh successive Asian women's crown at the Indian Squash Academy here on Tuesday.

The 18th-ranked Azlan led 11-8, 11-4, 3-0 when his opponent, Pakistan's Aamir Atlas Khan, conceded the match with persistent pain in the right shin.

Clawing back

Aamir had earlier begun in dramatic fashion with consecutive backhand drops to start the first game.

Azlan clawed back, obstructing Aamir from getting to the ball, at times questionably, but found himself trailing 6-8 before the Pakistani fluffed four easy points on the trot.

A long rally and a fortuitous stroke adjudicated in Azlan's favour handed him the game.

Aamir's level dipped perceptibly in the second session (he later said a tough opener had taken its toll on the shin).

The defending champion bolted to 10-4, sealing the game with a fine-spun caress to the right corner.

The third game went on for three points, all of them going Azlan's way, before Aamir conceded.

“The first game was crucial,” said the 27-year-old winner later.

“I was behind 6-8 when the momentum shifted. I wish Aamir a speedy recovery and hope he gets fit in time for the team event.” he said.

“I have been experiencing this problem for over six months…Next month, I am going to meet a doctor in Germany,” said Aamir of his injury.

Nicol in a hurry

In the 24-minute women's final, Nicol David extended her domination over Hong Kong's Rebecca Chiu to 23-1 with an 11-6, 11-7, 11-7 verdict.

Chiu, though, had her moments. She began each game with intent and stayed abreast of the Malaysian star.

The scoreline read 4-4 in the first game, and 8-7 (in Nicol's favour) in the second, when the World No. 1 pulled away.

In the third game, Chiu led 4-1, and might have harboured hopes of a comeback.

But Nicol timed her assault to perfection, holding her rival at seven and conjuring a disguised forehand drop that found Chiu in no woman's land at matchball.

The 26-year-old Malaysian dedicated the win to her family and also disclosed her strategy for the match.

“My family has been supporting me ever since I took to the game.

“Today, I did not want to give her (Chiu) any room to manoeuvre around and play her shots.”

Word of advice

Nicol also had a word of advice for budding players.

“Just enjoy the game to begin with and then push yourself and see what you can achieve,” she said.

Srivatsan Subramaniam, Secretary-General, SRFI, gave away the prizes.

The Asian team championship starts on Wednesday.

The results (finals):

Main draw: Men: Mohd Azlan (Mas) bt Aamir Atlas Khan (Pak) 11-8, 11-4, 3-0 (conceded).

Women: Nicol David (Mas) bt Rebecca Chiu (HKG) 11-6, 11-7, 11-7;

Plate event: Men: Falah F. Mohammad (Kuw) bt Samuel Kang (Sin) 11-7, 11-9, 11-5.

Women: Miwa Maekawa (Jpn) bt Kozue Onizawa (Jpn) 15-13, 8-11, 8-11, 11-8, 11-8.

Keywords: squash

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