LONDON: Nicol David made a flying start to her bid to win back the British Open title, needing only 20 minutes before hurtling into the second round with a win over a surprise opponent here on Tuesday.
The record-breaking world champion from Malaysia played as relentlessly as ever against the first Pakistan-born player ever to reach the main draw, Maria Toor Pakay, who endured a tough introduction to David's jet-propelled court coverage and early attacks.
David's 11-2, 11-3, 11-6 success suggested that she is again in the right frame of mind for a major success, having dazzled everyone with her light-footed movement and near-perfect performances during the World Open in Rotterdam in November.
David seemed motivated by the fact that the British Open was returning after missing two years.
"It's a huge bonus knowing the British Open is back, seeing it's such a big event," she said.
"Once again it's all that the players are gunning for. For the last three
years it's tough to know that such a prestigious event is not happening.
Finally it's back and I am really happy it is on again."
David next plays Samantha Teran, the first Mexican to reach a World Open semi-final, in a half of the draw, which has seen the removal of one of the leading contenders.
This is Kasey Brown, who beat David in the US Open and led Australia to the world team title late last year, but now was unable to clinch two match points and lost 11-7, 11-2, 4-11, 6-11, 13-11 to Jaclyn Hawkes, the unseeded former world number 12 from New Zealand.
The second of them involved a controversial "no let" decision when Brown appealed to the referee, apparently hoping for a point.
There were four other stunning five-game women's matches, with Dipika Pallikal's recovery from two games down and 6-8 down in the third against Omney Abdel Kawy being the pick of them.
Pallikal, the highest ranked Indian ever, recovered to win 8-11, 9-11, 11-9, 11-5, 11-5 against the 2010 World Open finalist from Egypt amidst an explosive atmosphere in which Pallikal was both warned and had a conduct penalty stroke awarded against her.
The other long-drawn out winners were Nour El Sherbini, the 16-year-old Egyptian, Alison Waters, the former world number three from England who is returning after a year out and bone spur operation, and her compatriot Laura Massaro, the third seed.
Meanwhile former Olympic hurdler Colin Jackson backed squash's bid for a place in the Olympic Games after watching world champion Nick Matthew make a good start to the defence of the men's title.
Jackson, a silver medalist in the 1988 Seoul Games, was a guest of Matthew as the 31-year-old Englishman beat Max Lee of Hong Kong 11-8, 11-4, 11-6.
"As an athlete myself, I have an enormous respect for them and can't understand why squash is not in the Olympics," said Jackson.
Matthew could earn a repeat of November's World Open final against Greg Gaultier, the second-seeded Frenchman, who began with a sparkling 11-6, 11-4, 11-3 win over Nicolas Mueller, a top 30 Swiss player. (AFP)