Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Rachel roars past top seed Rowan to reach KL final

Rachel Arnold (left) wins through to the Malaysian Open final after beating top seed Rowan Elaraby

Arnold faces Low as Yow meets Mueller in Malaysian finals
By ZHENG GUAN KNG – Squash Mad Correspondent

KUALA LUMPUR – The Malaysian Open will feature an all-domestic women’s final between Low Wee Wern and Rachel Arnold, with Ng Eain Yow powering into the men’s final where he will meet Swiss star Nicolas Mueller.

World No. 46 Rachel was exceptionally impressive as she played some of her best squash to deliver a sensational upset over top seed Rowan Elaraby of Egypt in the semi-finals at the National Squash Centre, Bukit Jalil on Saturday.

The odds were always against fourth seeded Rachel but she proved doubters wrong with an 11-4, 11-7, 9-11, 11-7 win.

The 23-year-old flew off the blocks right from the start and was hitting some outstanding winners as Rowan couldn’t get a footing in the game.

The Egyptian hung in there as she stepped it up to take the third game 11-9. But there was no stopping Rachel, who came back strong in the fourth to power into her first ever PSA Challenger 20 final.

“I thought I would give her a good fight because I played her before. It was close and I knew how she going to play,” said Rachel.

“Trying to stay focused is something that I have been working on. I lost it a little in the third but I’m glad that I got it back in the fourth.

“I’m really pleased to get into the final. It’s good to have some consistency in my results as well and this is probably my biggest win to date.

“Next up would be Wee Wern. We played each other in the final of the National Championships so I’ll have to go back and see what I need to work on.”

Earlier, second seed Wee Wern made it a second straight final in the home event after powering past Hong Kong’s Vanessa Chu 11-5, 4-11, 11-2, 11-8.

The defending champion started strongly but lost a bit of focus as world No. 49 Vanessa hit back to take the second game.

World No. 34 Wee Wern, however, kept her cool and stepped up her pace to seal the win in 34 minutes.

“Of course the match was a bit tougher than the score suggested. There were some close rallies and Vanessa did well in the second so I’m really happy to get away with a 3-1 win,” said Wee Wern.

“Ideally I would have loved to win 3-0 but some parts I played well and there were still improvements needed. I’m just glad that there were more ups for me on the day.

“It’s also nice to make the final again. It’s going to be one more big match and hopefully I’ll play better tomorrow than I did today.”

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With the Malaysian women providing a lot of cheer and securing one title, the onus was on Eain Yow to deliver in the men’s competition.

And the world No. 37 didn’t disappoint as he delivered a polished performance to beat the high-flying Rui Soares of Portugal 11-5, 11-7, 11-7.

The fourth seeded Eain Yow was always on the front foot and didn’t allow world No. 92 Soares any room of opportunities as he claimed the win in convincing fashion.

The straight game wins means Eain Yow has won all his matches in the competition without dropping a game and he is certainly pleased with his efforts.

“It’s definitely good to be back in the final. Two years ago when I made the final here, it was a bit of surprised and I wasn’t so prepared for it,” said Eain Yow.

“This time I came in seeded fourth and I’m definitely more prepared and there’s more for me to prove as well.

“Of course expectations on me were higher this time but I think I’ve done well this week and I’m hungry to do well in the final too.”

Eain Yow who will feature in his first ever PSA Challenger 30 final, goes on to meet Swiss second seed Nicolas Mueller for the title.

World No. 28 Mueller made the best of his experience as he saw off a strong challenge by Egyptian Youssef Soliman 9-11, 11-5, 12-10, 11-9.

Despite playing two five-setters in his earlier matches, Mueller still appeared to have the extra spring and controlled the ball well as he bounced back from dropping the first game.

With some excellent shot-making and retrieval, Mueller also stopped Youssef from taking the crucial third game before holding on to finish the contest in 51 minutes.

“I didn’t have a good start but I managed to come back and put some work in his legs. The first was a tough one and I was also lucky to win the third,” admitted Mueller.

“But it’s good to get through into the final in my first tournament of the season. As the second seed I aim to get into the final if not win.

“Now I’m feeling good and strong despite playing two five-setters and another four games today.”

Malaysian Open 2019, Bukit Jalil National Squash Centre, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Men’s Semi-Finals:
[4] Eain Yow Ng (MAS) bt Rui Soares (POR) 11-5, 11-7, 11-7 (31m)
[2] Nicolas Müller (SUI) bt [3] Youssef Soliman (EGY) 9-11, 11-5, 12-10, 11-9 (51m)
[4] Eain Yow Ng (MAS) v [2] Nicolas Müller (SUI)

Women’s Semi-Finals:
[3] Rachel Arnold (MAS) bt [1] Rowan Elaraby (EGY) 11-4, 11-7, 9-11, 11-7 (40m)
[2] Low Wee Wern (MAS) bt [4] Vanessa Chu (HKG) 11-5, 4-11, 11-2, 11-8 (34m)
[3] Rachel Arnold (MAS) v [2] Low Wee Wern (MAS)

Pictures courtesy of KNG ZHENG GUAN


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