By ALAN THATCHER (Squash Mad Editor)
Malaysia’s former World No.5 Low Wee Wern is returning to court to play her first PSA World Tour event in more than a year after recovering from knee surgery in time for the 2022 Malaysian Open Squash Championships.
The PSA World Tour Bronze-level tournament, which will take place from November 22-26 at the National Squash Centre in Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur, will be streamed by SQUASHTV for the first time.
Egyptian former world champion Tarek Momen is the top seed in the men’s draw and US No.2 Olivia Fiechter the top seed in the women’s event.
Low, who has not played on the tour since the 2021 PSA World Championships, is set to play an all-Malaysian encounter in the opening round, with the 32-year-old facing wildcard Chan Yiwen for the opportunity to take on No.6 seed Farida Mohamed of Egypt in round two.
She Tweeted: “I have not thrown in the towel just yet – see you soon in KL.”
Elsewhere in the women’s draw, top seed and World No.11 Fiechter is predicted to win her first World Tour title.
The 27-year-old American has enjoyed a strong start to the season, reaching the quarter-final stages of the Platinum-level CIB Egyptian Open, the Gold-level South Western Women’s Open and the Gold-level Grasshopper Cup.
— Wee Wern Low (@WeeWernLow) October 25, 2022
Fiechter is seeded to play England’s Georgina Kennedy in the final on November 26. Kennedy, who enjoyed a breakout 2021-22 season that culminated in a rise to World No.8 and a Commonwealth Games singles gold medal, will be hoping to kickstart the new season after struggling with injuries and illness.
Malaysia’s Aifa Azman, who stunned and delighted the home crowd by winning last year’s Bronze-level event as a wildcard, returns to Bukit Jalil to defend her title. The 20-year-old, now an established player on the tour and World No. 22, goes up against England’s Julianne Courtice for a place in the second round.
There are two more Malaysian players represented in the women’s draw, with World No.27 Rachel Arnold playing England’s Grace Gear and wildcard Yee Xin Ying facing Scotland’s Lisa Aitken in round one.
In the men’s draw, World No.7 Tarek Momen, winner of the 2019-20 World Championship, goes in as top seed and after receiving a bye in round one will face either Mahesh Mangaonkar of India or Patrick Rooney of England in round two.
Should the tournament go to seedings, Momen will face World No.11 Joel Makin of Wales in what would be a thrilling final.
Elsewhere in the men’s draw, maverick shot-maker and No.3 seed Mazen Hesham will back himself, while mercurial tactician and No.4 seed Marwan ElShorbagy could be one to watch after reaching the finals of the Open de France de Squash, the Oracle Netsuite Open and the Grasshopper Cup.
Malaysian No.1 Eain Yow Ng, who won the men’s event in 2019, could represent the best chance for a home winner. The 24-year-old Kuala Lumpur native, who beat Switzerland’s Nicolas Mueller in the final of the 2019 30K event, takes on Ramit Tandon of India in the first round.
Ng is joined by two compatriots in the men’s draw, with wildcards Ivan Yuen and Addeen Idrakie facing the USA’s Todd Harrity and Egypt’s Omar Mosaad in the first round.
All of the action from the Malaysian Open Squash Championships 2022 will be streamed live on SQUASHTV.
Malaysian Open Squash Championships 2022, National Squash Centre, Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, November 22-26.
Men’s First Round Draw:
 Tarek Momen (EGY) – [bye] Mahesh Mangaonkar (IND) v [9/16] Patrick Rooney (ENG)
[9/16] Omar Mosaad (EGY) v [WC] Addeen Idrakie (MAS)
 Raphael Kandra (GER) – [bye]  Nicolas Mueller (SUI) – [bye] Yahya Elnawasany (EGY) v [9/16] Moustafa El Sirty (EGY)
[9/16] Todd Harrity (USA) v [WC] Ivan Yuen (MAS)
 Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) – [bye]  Mazen Hesham (EGY) – [bye] Faraz Khan (USA) v [9/16] Karim El Hammamy (EGY)
[9/16] Mohamed ElSherbini (EGY) v Mazen Gamal (EGY)
 Gregoire Marche (FRA) – [bye]  Miguel Rodriguez (COL) – [bye] Bernat Jaume (ESP) v [9/16] Shahjahan Khan (USA)
[9/16] Eain Yow Ng (MAS) v Ramit Tandon (IND)
 Joel Makin (WAL) – [bye]
Women’s First Round Draw:
 Olivia Fiechter (USA) – [bye] Cristina Gomez (ESP) v [9/16] Melissa Alves (FRA)
[9/16] Aifa Azman (MAS) v Julianne Courtice (ENG)
 Tesni Evans (WAL) – [bye]  Farida Mohamed (EGY) – [bye] [WC] Chan Yiwen (MAS) v [9/16] Low Wee Wern (MAS)
[9/16] Alexandra Fuller (RSA) v Ineta Mackevica (LAT)
 Tinne Gilis (BEL) – [bye]  Nele Gilis (BEL) – [bye] [WC] Yee Xin Ying (MAS) v [9/16] Lisa Aitken (SCO)
[9/16] Rachel Arnold (MAS) v Grace Gear (ENG)
 Nadine Shahin (EGY) – [bye]  Joshna Chinappa (IND) – [bye] Nour Aboulmakarim (EGY) v [9/16] Zeina Mickawy (EGY)
[9/16] Sana Ibrahim (EGY) v Yathreb Adel (EGY)
 Georgina Kennedy (ENG) – [bye]
Pictures courtesy of PSA World Tour