September 12 , 1998 20:44PM

By Zabidi Osman and Zaiful Mohd Ariffin

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 12 (Bernama) -- World number one, Peter Nicol of Scotland took another step towards a clash with Canadian Jonathon Power in the men's singles of the 16th Commonwealth Games squash competition at the National Squash Complex here today.

The top seed Nicol raced to a 9-0, 9-0, 9-0 win over Papua-New Guinean part-timer Scot Evans to qualify for the last 16 draw tommorrow.

The Scot will next meet Canadian Graham Ryding who defeated the world junior champion Ong Beng Hee of Malaysia 10-9, 9-2, 9-1. Power, seeded second, had another easy match when he demolished Zambian Patrick Chifunda 9-0, 9-2, 9-0 to set up a meeting with Asian champion Zarak Jahan Khan of Pakistan.

Nicol is on looking forward to meeting Power who had defeated him in the Hong Kong Open final last month, "It would be a perfect time for me to avenge that defeat."

Alex Gough of Wales, who had earlier indicated his determination to stop Power in the semis, cleared his second hurdle with a convincing 9-1, 9-0, 9-1 win over Botswana's Lefika Ragontse.

World champion Rodney Eyles of Australia also make it to the second round when he subdued a determine Botswanan Cunning Machinya 9-3,9-2,9-0. "Its quite different playing in the side courts and the main glass court...the players have to adapt," he said after the match.

Malaysia's good run ended today when only Kenneth Low made it into the next round. His teammates, Mohd Azlan Iskandar, Ong Beng Hee and Michael Soo, failed to overcome their opponents. "I'm quite lucky to win because the pressure was enormous...the thoughts of winning is making me so nervous," says the Malaysian number one player after the match with Glen Whittaker of South Africa.

Low was leading 2-0 before Whittaker won the next two games. "I slowed down in the third and fourth games. It was a mistake and I knew that I had to attack furiously to wrap up the match," Low said. Meanwhile, in the women's singles which started today, Asian champion Nicol David of Malaysia caused the upset of the day when she outplayed 14th seed Melanie Jans of Canada 9-3, 9-2, 5-9, 9-5.

The 15-year-old David, who was describe as future world champion in the making, is the youngest player in the tournament. "It feels great to win against the world number 34 player and I did not expect to claim the victory in four games," David said, after the match.

Another Malaysian player Leong Siu Lynn also found her step into the next round after a hard-fought victory over Madeline Perry of Northern Ireland. Siu Lynn won 9-0, 5-9, 7-9, 9-5, 9-5 in 67 minutes clash. Sandra Wu and Sharon Wee, both of Malaysia, found an early exit, losing to better opponents.

National chief coach Major (Rtd) S. Maniam said although only three out of eight Malaysian players managed to enter the last 16, the whole squad had performed well.

"Low, David and Siu Lynn had shown a high fighting spirit and I hope they will continue with such performaces," Maniam said. -- BERNAMA

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