KUALA LUMPUR: Top seed Ong Beng Hee exacted sweet revenge on nemesis and reigning Asian champion Aamir Atlas Khan of Pakistan to reach the final of the Royal Lake Club Open squash championship here on Friday.
World No. 23 Beng Hee, who lost to Aamir in the semi-finals of the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games, took 37 minutes to win 11-6, 11-8, 11-6.
The Penang-born Beng Hee, whose wife is expecting their first child next April, will face compatriot and second seed Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan in Saturday’s final (6.30pm).
The Kuala Terengganu-born Nafiizwan, who won the Irish Open title in April, had to dig deep into his reserves to get the better of compatriot and third seed Ivan Yuen 10-12, 11-7, 11-7, 11-8 in a match that lasted 73 minutes.
The 33-year-old Beng Hee said that he wasn’t surprised to beat Aamir in straight sets “as he has not been training much this year”.
“Furthermore, the hot and humid conditions on the court made it tough for Aamir to give his best.
“As a veteran player, I’m happy to reach my first final this year,” said Beng Hee, who last won a professional title in January last year – the Motor City Open in Detroit.
Four-time Asian champion Beng Hee said it would be nice to take on Nafiizwan in an all-Malaysian final.
“I’m expecting a good and tough match against Nafiizwan, who is playing well. I stand a 50-50 chance of winning my first title of the year,” said Beng Hee.
World No. 32 Nafiizwan described the match against Ivan as the second toughest he had played in the tournament.
“My first tough match was against Peter Creed (of Wales) in the first round match, which I won 3-1 on Wednesday.
“Ivan pushed me to the limit in the four sets. I won because of my experience … and I also made some changes to my game, like moving the ball more in the third and fourth sets,” said Nafiizwan, who won the 2011 Asian title in Penang.
Asked about his chances against Beng Hee, Nafiizwan said that he’s expecting another tough fight against the former two-time Asian Games gold medallist.
“I beat Beng Hee in straight sets in the first round of the Malaysian Open last month but lost to him 3-2 in the final of the National Closed in August,” he said.
“So, it’s going to be another interesting match against Beng Hee. I’ll go all out to beat him to break into the top 30 in the world rankings.”