Sunday, April 21, 2024

Top seeds Low Wee Wern and Lee Ka Yi to contest in Singapore final

Young Indians run halted by top seeds
By ALEX WAN – Squash Mad Asian Bureau Editor

Top seeds Low Wee Wern and Lee Ka Yi will play for the title here in Singapore tomorrow after both saw off their surprise Indian opponents. Wee Wern staved off the challenge of teenager Sunayna Kuruvilla, while Ka Yi muscled her way past Tanvi Khanna.

Lee Ka Yi, the 25-year old from Hong Kong had a dream start I the first game, racing into an 8-0 lead before Tanvi manages a point. She drops another point at game ball, before wrapping up 11-2 after just 5 minutes in court. Ka Yi was simply cutting off many of the shots, and that put Tanvi on her back foot for most of the game.

Tanvi manages a better showing in the second game, not repeating the first game disaster of falling into a huge deficit. But Ka Yi was still far too strong overall. Her surprising cross courts often caught Tanvi off guard one too many times.

The third game was the most evenly contested, with Ka Yi never ahead for more than two points until 6-6. A surge of four points took Ka Yi to match ball at 10-6. Tanvi then began to turn the tables, saving two match balls to get to 10-8. But she then did the cardinal sin of serving out to hand Ka Yi her ticket to the final.


Lee Ka Yi (l) was in total command in her match against Tanvi Khanna.


Both players play a similar game, with a preference of lifting the ball and playing the front a lot. But Ka Yi, being the far more experienced player, showed greater maturity and executed her game plan way better than Tanvi.

“Maybe she was a little slow to get into her rhythm in the first two games. Perhaps she was also a little nervous. But of course, I didn’t let it bother me and just played to my game plan. In the third, I lost a little concentration and made it a little harder for myself. I got a little impatient and was anxious to finish the match,” said Ka Yi.

Ka Yi, whose best result this year was a semi-final showing at the NT Open in Australia back in May, is hoping she can end the year with a bang.

“Tomorrow, I will just have to play my game. Whoever I play, it should be a good match. I hope to be able to give my best and hopefully, walk out with the title.”


Tanvi Khanna (l) lost her first match in Singapore today to Lee Ka Yi


Tanvi, whose unbeaten run in Singapore was ended today, said later:

“My shots were not coming in and everything was coming loose. She’s really good with her volleys and she was just putting everything away. The rallies were longer than yesterday, so it was a bit of adjustment for me as well. Towards the end, I was getting the hang of it but then silly mistakes came at the crucial points.

Overall, I’m very happy with my performance, especially yesterday and the day before. Today, not so much, but lots to learn from. Today is a big learning (experience).”

In the second semi-final, Low Wee Wern was tested by the talented Sunayna Kuruvilla. After winning the first two games comfortably thanks to the many tins that came off Sunayna’s racket, the third was another story altogether. The Indian teenager was playing with a lot more patience and hitting with more purpose, forcing Wee Wern to move around a lot more. She was handsomely rewarded with the third game 12-10.


Sunayna Kuruvilla hitting one of her backhands which won her many points in the front


However, in the fourth, Sunayna seem to have lost a little focus and went back to trying to kill off the rallies too early. Wee Wern was gifted a huge lead, which she never gave away and after 43 minutes, she was through to the final.

“She started off the third game very well. It was close all the way. She had three game balls and I tried to pull back, but unfortunately lost it 12-10. But in the fourth, I started off really well and got a big lead, and managed to close it off from there.”

“I’ve played Ka Yi once at the World Team’s and obviously, she’s a very hardworking player from Hong Kong. She’s got very strong basics and will be trying very hard. I think it will be a close match tomorrow and I’m looking forward to it,” the former world number 5 said.


Low Wee Wern (MAS) bt Sunayna Kuruvilla (IND) 11-6, 11-4, 10-12, 11-5 (43m)
Lee Ka Yi (HKG) bt Tanvi Khanna (IND) 11-1, 11-2, 11-8 (24m)

Pictures courtesy of Singapore Squash  


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