KUALA LUMPUR: Nicol David returns to one of her favourite places this week at the Hong Kong Open and looking to get her season back on track.
Since the 2017-18 season started in September, Nicol reached the China Open quarter-finals, was runner-up at the NetSuite Open in San Francisco and exited the US Open in the second round.
Ranked sixth in the world, Nicol is hoping the Hong Kong Open, which she won for a 10th consecutive time in 2015, will mark a turnaround in her fortunes.
"I am really happy to have the Hong Kong Open coming up because it is one of my favourite tournaments," said Nicol, 34, who is seeded fifth.
"I just like going back there and I hope to justify my seeding. If everything goes well, maybe I can go further than that, which would be a bonus."
Hong Kong is a favourite hunting ground for Nicol, who won her first world title in the former British colony in 2005 before embarking on a run of 10 titles in a row at the Hong Kong Open.
It was not until Egypt's Nouran Gohar defeated her in the semi-finals last year did Nicol's 58-match winning run in Hong Kong come to an end.
"I get so much out of it and I feel very positive because I have a lot of memories there," said Nicol of playing in Hong Kong.
"One loss does not change anything. I know the place, it feels very familiar and I get a chance to relive the good times and I hope to make the most out of it. It's going to be exciting."
Nicol faces a qualifier in the opening round on Wednesday and a victory could set up an interesting second round clash with Hong Kong's Annie Au.
It was Annie who shocked Nicol at the US Open, beating the eight-time world champion for the first time in 24 meetings.
The winner of this clash should advance to a quarter-final meeting with third seed Camille Serme of France.
Rachel Arnold will bid to join Nicol in the main draw when she faces Hong Kong's Lee Ka Yi on Monday after taking just 17 minutes to beat Carmen Lee of Hong Kong 11-1, 11-1, 11-2 in her opening qualifying match on Sunday.
Men's national No 1 Nafiizwan Adnan, playing his first match since recovering from a knee injury suffered in a traffic accident, also advanced to the next round in qualifying after beating Canada's 76th-ranked Andrew Schnell 11-6, 9-11, 11-3, 12-10.
World No 31 Nafiizwan takes on Finland’s Olli Tuominen for a spot in the men’s main draw.