Malaysian duo primed for battle after cruising through opening round
By KRISTI MAROC – Squash Mad Reporter
Eighth seed Low Wee Wern ended home hopes with a comfortable straight game victory over US veteran Latasha Khan at the Tournament of Champions first round in New York.
The world number six, who revealed last week that she is targeting a spot in the world’s top five, took just 27 minutes to defeat Khan 11-6, 11-7, 11-5.
“It was a bit scrappy in the beginning, and it is quite tough to get on that court and find my length, but I got it towards the end so I’m obviously quite happy to win,” said Wee Wern (pictured right).
“The whole setting is amazing. I’ve never played this tournament before, and the whole atmosphere is just great. I’m really looking forward to coming back on court tomorrow.”
The 23-year-old will now meet world number one Nicol David in an all-Malaysian quarter-final clash, after the seven-time World champion made swift work of her match against Hong Kong’s Annie Au as she cruised to an 11-4, 11-7, 11-6 success.
Despite 14 years on the WSA Tour, it was David’s first ever match at the Tournament of Champions.
“It’s great here. The build up and watching the matches really makes you eager just to get on court,” revealed an excitable David.
“I was really pleased coming in and playing well today and getting used to the court. Hopefully it’ll get even better in the next round.”
David has barely stood still since arriving in New York and after visiting renowned modern artist and former squash promoter Frank Stella on Monday, she also made time to visit StreetSquash – a Harlem-based youth enrichment programme.
“It was fascinating to hear him [Stella] talk about how he comes up with his ideas,” said the Penang ace who has a keen interest in art outside of squash.
But with her attention now focused on winning a sixth successive WSA Tour title, the 30-year-old (pictured left) believes it is unfortunate that she has been drawn to face her fellow Penangite and occasional training partner in the last eight.
“It’s just that with the draw, as she gets high in the rankings as well, we’re somehow bound to meet unfortunately.
“We do train together occasionally. When I’m back home in Penang, I’ll get on court with her. We have some good training that goes on forever, so you’ll be able to watch a good match tomorrow for sure.”
Wee Wern added: “It’s a shame that we have to meet so early in the tournament…but it is great that one of us at least will go through.
“I saw Nicol win the World Junior Championship in 2001 in Penang when I was 10 years old. To now be able to challenge her on court instead of sitting outside watching her play is a true privilege.”