No joy for local hopefuls
By ALEX WAN – Squash Mad Asian Bureau Editor
The Tecnifibre Singapore Squash Open 2018 kicked off this afternoon with five local hopefuls aiming to progress into the next round. Things did not start great for the hosts as Yukino Tan was forced to pull out after spraining her ankle in training the day before. Her opponent Oh Sunghee earned a direct path to face third seeded Filipino Jemyca Aribado.
This meant local hopes lie on the shoulders of four juniors who would all be competing in their maiden PSA event. However, despite a spirited display by all of them, their opponents were simply head and shoulders above them.
Keertana Veerayah, the most senior of the lot, was the best performer of the day. Given that this was the first time she was participating in such a major event, the 17-year old did not show much nerves in her match against India’s Sachika Irshwin Balvani.
“I lost to a stronger player today, but I’m happy with my match and that I was able to keep up (with) the rallies. I learned that I need to be able to maintain the quality of my shots at this higher pace of games,” Keertana
Erin Chan, meanwhile, was beaten by another Indian, Aparajitha Balamurukan. In the one-sided match, Erin was dominated and never allowed into match. However, the youngster was feeling positive despite the loss.
“I lost quite badly, but it was expected given how good she is. I came to the match with a mindset of trying to learn as much as I can and just have fun, since I had nothing to lose. I tried my best and I learned not to assume that every good shot is a winning shot,” Erin said after.
Hanaan Abo Al Thinin, meanwhile, played a very respectable third game after losing out the first two tamely. It was evident the 14-year old Singapore Chinese Girls School student was pleased with the third game after, as she said :
“I think I didn’t do too badly and even quite well towards the end. I was able to put in a few boasts and volleys. I realised how important it is to intercept shots in order to fasten the pace from my match today.”
In the other match involving a local, 12-year old Gracia Chua, the youngest participant of the event, was outclassed by former British Junior Open and South East Asian Cup champion Jessica Keng of Malaysia.
India proved to be the biggest winners of the day as Tanvi Khanna made it three of three for her nation after beating Thai number one Ananthana Prasertratanakul in straight games. The win earned her a match against fourth seed Colette Sultana tomorrow.
In the longest match of the afternoon, Malaysian Chen Yu Ng edged Chinese Taipei’s Lin Chiao-chi.
TECNIFIBRE SINGAPORE SQUASH OPEN 2018 – FIRST ROUND
Chen Yu Ng (MAS) bt Lin Chiao-Chi (TPE) 11-8, 5-11, 11-6, 6-11, 11-7 (31m)
Dong Ju Song (KOR) bt Hanaan Abo Al Thinin (SIN) 11-4, 11-1, 11-7 (15m)
Aparajitha Balamurukan (IND) bt Erin Chan (SIN) 11-2, 11-2, 11-2 (9m)
Oh Sunghee (KOR) bt Yukino Tan (SIN) walkover
Tanvi Khanna (IND) bt Anantana Prasertratanakul (THA) 11-3, 11-5, 11-6 (15m)
Jessica Keng (MAS) bt Gracia Chua (SIN) 11-1, 11-3, 11-0 (13m)
Sachika Irshwin BalwaniI (IND) bt Keertana Veerayah (SIN) 11-3, 11-7, 11-4 (16m)
Pictures courtesy of Singapore Squash