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The Star Online: Sports


Nicol to take on Perry in KL Open final

Posted: 19 Mar 2011 05:52 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian squash queen Nicol Ann David cruised into the final of the Kuala Lumpur Open Squash Championships after beating world number five Alison Waters of England in the semi-finals here on Saturday.

The 27-year-old, world number one from Penang beat Waters 11-4, 12-10, 11-5 in just 36 minutes to stamp her class.

"It wasn't at all an easy game (the straight set win). The second set was crucial," Nicol told reporters after the match.

Asked about the final against Ireland's Madeline Perry, Nicol said it would be another exciting match for her.

"It will be our first Kuala Lumpur Open final. Tomorrow's game will be an exciting one. I hope I can play as well as today," said Nicol.

Their last meeting was in the semi-finals of the Singapore Women's Squash Masters last year, which Nicol won in straight sets.

Madeline, the seventh seed and world number six, defeated Hong Kong's Annie Au 11-4, 5-11, 11-8, 12-10 in 62 minutes in the other semi-final.

In the men's competition, Malaysian number one Mohd Azlan Iskandar failed in his bid to feature in the final in front of the local fans, when he lost to Mohamed El Shorbagy of Egypt 11-8, 12-14, 7-11, 5-11.

"I thought I was up against him in the second game but he came out firing. In the final game, I felt I pushed the pace a bit too hard. I was a little tired. I lost today and I have learnt about the defeat. Now I have to keep on working," said Mohd Azlan.

Shorbagy will meet compatriot Karim Darwish in the final.

Darwish defeated unseeded Gregoire Marche of France 11-6, 11-5, 11-3 in the other semi-final.

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Federer, Djokovic advance to semis at Indian Wells(update)

Posted: 18 Mar 2011 07:43 PM PDT

INDIAN WELLS, California (AP) — Roger Federer defeated Swiss compatriot and doubles partner Stanislas Wawrinka 6-3, 6-4 to advance to the BNP Paribas Open semfinals on Friday, setting up a showdown with Novak Djokovic for the world's No. 2 ranking.

Federer is currently second behind Rafael Nadal in the ATP rankings, and Djokovic is third. Djokovic beat Richard Gasquet 6-2, 6-4 on Friday to improve to 16-0 this year and put himself in position to surpass Federer in the rankings.

Nadal and Juan Martin del Potro will play in Saturday's other semifinal. Between them, Nadal, Federer and Djokovic have won six of the past seven finals at Indian Wells. Federer is a three-time champion, Nadal has won twice and Djokovic once.

Federer met little resistance against Wawrinka. He improved to 8-1 in his career against his compatriot, with whom he teamed later to play a doubles semifinal against Nadal and Marc Lopez.

Djokovic has also been on a roll during the two-week tournament, losing 12 games in eight sets.

"Confidence plays a very important role in the life of a tennis player. So if you can roll on that run and try to use that confidence you can have a lot of success and you can really play well," he said.

"I do feel really comfortable on the court and am trying to use that confidence because I know that it can easily change. It's a very mental game."

On the women's side, 15th-seed Marion Bartoli became the first Frenchwoman to reach the singles final at Indian Wells, defeating No. 23 seed Yanina Wickmayer 6-1, 6-3.

She'll play either top-ranked Caroline Wozniacki or 16th-seeded Maria Sharapova, who faced each other in an evening semifinal.

Djokovic trailed 2-0 in the first before winning five straight games to take the set. Gasquet challenged the call on the final point, but the replay showed his backhand landed just wide.

Djokovic fell behind 3-0 in the second set, then won six of the next seven games to close out the match against the 18th seed from France.

The Frenchman defeated top-10 players Jurgen Melzer and Andy Roddick to reach the quarterfinals.

Against Wickmayer, Bartoli was still feeling the effects of a stomach bug that bothered her earlier in the week.

"My level dropped after the first set because still not able to fully eat normally before the match, so I didn't have many fuel into my body to hang on," she said. "But I stayed mentally very focused and I stayed positive toward the end." - AP

Earlier report

Djokovic advances to semifinals at Indian Wells

INDIAN WELLS, California (AP) — Third-ranked Novak Djokovic defeated Richard Gasquet 6-2, 6-4 to improve to 15-0 this year and reach the semifinals at the BNP Paribas Open on Friday.

Djokovic has lost 12 games in eight sets this week. Since the year began, the Serb has won the Australian Open and a tournament in Dubai.

"Confidence plays a very important role in the life of a tennis player. So if you can roll on that run and try to use that confidence you can have a lot of success and you can really play well," he said.

"I do feel really comfortable on the court and am trying to use that confidence because I know that it can easily change. It's a very mental game."

Djokovic next plays either second-ranked Roger Federer or 12th-seeded Stanislas Wawrinka, who met in a later quarterfinal.

On the women's side, 15th-seed Marion Bartoli became the first Frenchwoman to reach the singles final at Indian Wells, defeating No. 23 seed Yanina Wickmayer 6-1, 6-3.

She'll play either top-ranked Caroline Wozniacki or 16th-seeded Maria Sharapova, who faced each other in an evening semifinal.

Djokovic trailed 2-0 in the first before winning five straight games to take the set. Gasquet challenged the call on the final point, but the replay showed his backhand landed just wide.

Djokovic fell behind 3-0 in the second set, then won six of the next seven games to close out the match against the 18th seed from France.

The Frenchman defeated top-10 players Jurgen Melzer and Andy Roddick to reach the quarterfinals.

Against Wickmayer, Bartoli was still feeling the effects of a stomach bug that bothered her earlier in the week.

"My level dropped after the first set because still not able to fully eat normally before the match, so I didn't have many fuel into my body to hang on," she said. "But I stayed mentally very focused and I stayed positive toward the end."

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