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Squash - 08. October 2010.

England Bid For Double Commonwealth Games Gold In Delhi

Women's semi-finals:
[1] Nicol David (MAS) bt [6] Kasey Brown (AUS) 11-6, 11-3, 11-3 (38m)
[2] Jenny Duncalf (ENG) bt [3] Alison Waters (ENG) 6-11, 12-10, 11-9, 11-4 (59m)

Only Malaysian Nicol David stands in the way of double gold for England in Friday's Commonwealth Games Squash Singles finals in Delhi where the world number one from Penang meets second seed Jenny Duncalf in the women's final, and top seeds Nick Matthew and James Willstrop line up in an all-English men's final at the Siri Fort Complex in the Indian capital.

Jenny Duncalf was the first to secure a place in the medals.  But the world No2 from Harrogate in Yorkshire had a tough battle against fellow countrywoman Alison Waters, the third seed, dropping the first game and facing game-ball against her at 10-9 down in the second.

But the 27-year-old England No1 recovered to draw level before taking the next two games to avenge her defeat in this year's British National Championship, beating Waters 6-11, 12-10, 11-9, 11-4 in 59 minutes.

"Obviously it's great to be in the Commonwealth Games final - tomorrow will be one of the highlights of my career," said the jubilant Duncalf moments after coming off the all-glass showcourt at the new 11-court complex.

"It was a bit of a funny game as Ali got a twinge in her Achilles - it was a bit of a tough trying not to think of her.  It was a bit unsettling," explained Duncalf.

"Getting the second game was really important.  We're extremely competitive - but best mates off court."

How does she see her chances in the final?  "I'm just looking forward to it - whoever I've got.  I don't think it's really sunk in yet.

"I've felt good this tournament - I really like the court and the arena's great."
When asked if she felt she was playing as well as when she downed Nicol David twice in succession last year, Duncalf replied:  "I'm never totally sure how I'm playing.  But I definitely had to play well to beat Ali - she's a great player technically and physically.  She really dominated me in the first game.

"Winning gold would be unbelievable.  It would be the highlight of my career.  We're all desperate to win gold."

A downcast Waters confirmed her Achilles twinge:  "This really hampered my movement.  If I'd won the second game, it would have made a big difference.
"I still felt I was in it - the third game was close," added the Londoner.  "I felt I was playing really well.  I'm now concentrating on bronze."

Can Jenny win it, the 26-year-old was asked?  "I hope so - she's playing well."

Later, top seed Nicol David emerged from the second semi, recording her fourth successive straight games win in Delhi by beating Australia's surprise semi-finalist Kasey Brown, the sixth seed who upset Northern Ireland's No5 seed Madeline Perry 24 hours earlier.

The 25-year-old from New South Wales led three times in the opening game, but at six-all David took control to close out the game after winning the next five points in row.  The cool Malaysian was always ahead thereafter and after 38 minutes notched up her 11-6, 11-3, 11-3 victory.
Now just win away from the only major tile which has hitherto eluded her, David was pleased with her performance:  "I was playing really well to stay with her, moving well and hitting the ball well.  I felt good.  I had a really good run today.

"I'm glad to be in the final - but it's going to be a battle.  Just one more push!"
Much is expected of the record five-time world champion who finished in a disappointing fourth place four years ago in Melbourne:  "That was a big turning point for me.  I learned a lot from that.  I've brought my game up."

The favourite was asked what it would mean to win the title:  "The Commonwealth Games title would definitely be up there with the other big ones," said the Penangite.
Brown was philosophical about her defeat:  "All this experience is going to help me in the future.  Maybe next time I can win gold."

When asked to identify what makes her opponent so difficult to beat, the New York-based Aussie replied:  "Mentally Nicol is very strong - and physically too.  She's also very quick and consistent.  You feel you have to win five points before you get one."

 For more info, visit the WSF's dedicated Commonwealth Games site www.cwgsquash.com

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