Tanvi Khanna and Sunayna Kuruvilla upset the seeding to go into last four
By ALEX WAN – Squash Mad Asian Bureau Editor
It was a good day for India on quarter-finals day as both their representatives took out higher ranked opponents. Tanvi Khanna got the ball rolling for the team, taking out Malaysia’s Jessica Keng, before Sunayna Kuruvilla took out Jemyca Aribado, the third and highest seed to be ousted.
India’s Tanvi Khanna maintained her unbeaten streak in Singapore as she advanced into the semi-final after winning in straight games. Playing in her first full PSA event, Tanvi showed immaculate maturity as she crafted her rallies well to win comfortably in the second and third games, after a close first game that went to the wire.
While Jessica might have the greater shot-making ability, the 22-year Delhi native did well to put the ball past the Malaysian teenager, thus limiting her attacking options and forcing the mistakes.
“It feels really good to win today against such a good junior. It was a good match and she’s got some really good shots. You give her anything on the T and the point is over. So I had to really make a big effort to keep the ball out of her reach and stop her from volleying, which I managed. My short game was also coming in, and that is one of the big reasons why I won today.
She was even attacking straight off my service, so I really had to think today. I think she got a little tired after the first, and I was able to play more fluidly after that without having to think of the score. I’ll have to be more patient tomorrow, as I’ll be playing someone more experienced”, said Tanvi, who gets a shot against second seed Lee Ka Yi tomorrow.
Home favourite Sneha Sivakumar failed to advance after falling out to Hong Kong’s sole participant and second seed Lee Ka Yi. The 25-year old world number 63 was accurate and clinical, never allowing Sneha to attack as much as she’d like. Even with the home crowd behind her, the 17-year old could not do much today.
“I was trying to concentrate on the match a lot more today and try not to be affected by the home crowd. I was also trying to make less mistakes and I’m glad I managed to do that. My game plan fell in place and I had a lot more opportunities to attack.
Tomorrow, I’m playing a younger and less experienced player, so obviously the pressure is on me. They’ve got nothing to lose. I can only keep myself calm and try my best to be more patient”, Ka Yi said later after her win.
Despite her loss, Sneha was still upbeat of her first PSA experience on home soil.
“It was a great experience and I am glad I made it to the quarter-final. I thought I had a great chance today but things weren’t on my side. Basically today just wasn’t my day”, Sneha said later.
In the upset of the day, Indian teenager Sunayna Kuruvilla came from a game behind to oust Philippines’ Jemyca Aribado. The 19-year old showed some great racket skills to put in some impressive winners throughout the match.
After losing out the close first game, Sunayna, who had her cousin, former world number ten Dipika Pallikal Karthik in her corner today, stormed back to take the second to level. She squeezed in the third game on the tie-break, which proved to be decisive. In the fourth, Jemyca was spent, unable last the pace and lost tamely.
“We played a very close match the last time, so I knew what to expect. This time, it was even closer. I’m happy to get through and also happy that Tanvi is through as well. Hopefully, we’ll both do well again tomorrow”, Sunayna said later.
In the final match of the evening, Low Wee Wern, a popular household name here, took to court to a packed gallery. It has been a few years since Wee Wern has played an event here, so the crowd was probably eager to catch the former world number five in action.
Wee Wern did not disappoint as she stamped her mark on her younger opponent, winning in straight games in against fellow Penangite Angie Ooi.
Angie, a regular in Singapore for the SGSquash Circuit through the year, found no answer to the accuracy and finesse of her more illustrious compatriot. Like most matches involving a senior against a junior, Angie did seem to appear to have too much respect for Wee Wern on court and lacked that self-confidence.
“It’s actually the first time I am playing Angie in a professional tournament. We do train together a bit back in Penang, so yeah, it’s either a very good or very bad that we’re playing each other. I’m feeling a little bit more comfortable in court today, so that’s good”, Wee Wern said after her win.
TECNIFIBRE SINGAPORE SQUASH OPEN 2018 – QUARTER FINALS
Low Wee Wern (MAS) bt Angie Ooi (MAS) 11-3, 11-6, 11-2 (23m)
Sunayna Kuruvilla (IND) bt Jemyca Aribado (PHI) 9-11, 11-7, 14-12, 11-5 (37m)
Tanvi Khanna (IND) bt Jessica Keng (MAS) 14-12, 11-5, 11-8 (28m)
Lee Ka Yi (HKG) bt Sneha Sivakumar (SIN) 11-6, 11-5, 11-4 (24m)
Pictures courtesy of Singapore Squash