Nicol David at the double in pursuit of squash record

Sharm El Sheikh: Nicol David reserved her finest performance so far for her Malaysian compatriot as she swept Low Wee Wern aside in only 27 minutes to reach the World Open semi-final.

David`s performance in an 11-2, 11-5, 11-2 win suggested she has become an even shorter odds favourite to win the title a fifth time and equal the record of the great Australian Sarah FitzGerald.

She was able to take the ball extremely early, move her opponent around, and make time for herself to play a wide range of strokes she sometimes prefers not to use.

Low played by no means badly, but there was little she could do to halt the finest player of the past few years playing at her absolute best.

"It`s always hard when you are playing against your team mate," David said.

"But it`s the quarter-final of the World Open and you have to try and play your best squash.”

"I feel as fit as I have ever been, and maybe I am faster to the ball which enables me to do more things."

The best example of this came in the middle of the second game when David opened up the court with a delicate drop and pounced eagerly to make a solid kill and reach 4-1; then she played a beautifully balanced counter-drop winner to reach 5-1; then followed it with a hard boast off the backhand side wall which hurtled for a winner.

The champion concluded that game with another backhand boast, faded gently this time, causing the ball to slow and die in the front right corner like an arrowed bird.

David now plays Alison Waters, the third-seeded English player who twice gave her hard matches in the Far East recently.

"I have to be disciplined against her. I`m sure tomorrow will be another hard one," said David.

Waters, however, was not at her absolute best, even though she brought to an end the world championship career of the former World Open champion Vanessa Atkinson with a five-game win.

The score was 9-11, 11-4, 11-7, 10-12, 11-8, and once again the 2004 champion showed how fiercely reluctant she has been to quit the stage.

Against Natalie Grainger the day before Atkinson came from two games down and saved two match points to beat the former world number one.

Against Waters she saved fully nine match points, and managed a stunning run of seven successive points from 5-10 down in the fourth game, followed by a run of four points in a row from 4-10 in the fifth game before she said goodbye.

Earlier Camille Serme upset the seedings for the second day in a row to become the first French woman to reach the semi-finals of the World Open.

Serme, who had overcome the eight-seeded Laura Massaro in four games on Sunday, now beat another English player, Jenny Duncalf, in five.

"I can`t really believed I`ve beaten the world number two and I`m in the last four," said Serme after her 8-11, 11-7, 7-11, 11-2, 11-5 success. "It`s crazy."

The world number nine from Creteuil now plays the home heroine, Omneya Abdel Kawy. The fourth-seeded Egyptian saved three crucial game balls in the second game of her 11-8, 14-12, 6-11, 11-5 win against Kasey Brown, the improving tenth-seeded Australian.

Bureau Report