CAIRO (AFP) – Nicol David will have achieved three records within one year if she regains the World Championship title from Laura Massaro at the Wadi Degla club from Monday.
Not only would it extend her all-time record of world titles to eight, it would make Nicol the first player ever to lose and win a world title in the same calendar year.
It would also follow her achievement last month of remaining 100 consecutive months as world number one, which is unlikely ever to be bettered.
If the Malaysian does prevail as seems increasingly probable, it would repair much
of the damage of her upsetting World Championship defeat in her home state of Penang in March.
Small wonder the 31-year-old says she will “put everything out there” in order to finish the most notable year of her career on another massive high.
The portents for that are good. Nicol has beaten Massaro in all three of their meetings since the last World Championship, most recently in the final of the world team championship in Ontario a week ago.
Against that, there may be new Egyptians capable of affecting the outcome on home territory, with Nicol mindful of this year’s losses to Nour El Sherbini in Penang and Raneem El Weleily in Kuala Lumpur in August.
Her first round draw against a qualifier on Monday could therefore pitch her against one of several talented home youngsters whose games she will have had little chance to analyse.
Nicol is thus particularly concerned to capitalise on her fine form and unusually eye-catching strokeplay during six wins out of six in the world team championships to generate further momentum.
“You gain a bit more experience from that and want to bring that forward as a boost, and kick start a good first round,” she said.
“Being in Cairo will be very different – there will be some great matches”, Nicol added, striking a cautionary note.
“It’s been a long time since I played here. The last time was at Heliopolis 12 years ago, and it will bring back memories.”
The overflowing pool of local talent will bring the fourth-seeded El Sherbini up against Nouran Gohar, a 17-year-old from Cairo widely tipped as a future top three player, and the third-seeded Weleily against Habiba Mohamed Ahmed, the 15-year-old so-called child prodigy from Alexandria.
Nicol could progress towards a revenge opportunity against El Sherbini in the semifinals, via a second round with Jenny Duncalf, the former world finalist from England, and after a quarterfinal with Camille Serme, the still improving world number six from France.