Three is the charm for Ivan and Wee Wern By KNG ZHENG GUAN and ALEX WAN – Squash Mad Asian Correspondents
Three is the magic number for Ivan Yuen and Low Wee Wern at the Ohana National Squash Championships. The pair, who will both turn 29 this year, showed that they are still very much on top of their game after clinching their third national titles at the National Squash Centre, Bukit Jalil on Sunday.
World number 46 Ivan in particular was really impressive as he dug deep to douse national number 1 Ng Eain Yow’s bid for a maiden national crown with an 11-7, 8-11, 12-10, 11-9 win. Ivan, the defending champion, was in his third straight nationals final and he looked right at home as he stormed to the first game 11-7.
The 21-year-old Eain Yow however showed nerves of steel as he battled from 7-2 down in the second game to nick it 11-8.
It was all Eain Yow attacking after that as the world number 38 looked to take charge of the game.Unfortunately for him, Ivan was in his element defensively and he hung on before squeezing past the finish line.
It is Ivan’s third straight national title and it’s a welcomed result for him after struggling to deliver in the first half of the year.
“It’s my first time playing Eain Yow in a final. He’s the future for Malaysia and he’s also higher ranked than me so I knew he’s a tough and dangerous opponent,” said Ivan.
“I’m just glad that I had a great start as it gave me encouragement and motivation to push myself for this third title.
“I think I did well to squeeze in the third and despite being down in the fourth, I’m pleased that I managed to turn it around to win the match.
“My results on the Professional Squash Association (PSA) Tour hasn’t been great this year so hopefully this win will give me the belief once more to train harder for the coming season and to improve on my rankings.”
In the earlier round, Ivan had defeated Darren Rahul Pragasm in four games, while Eain Yow stopped Addeen Idrakie in straight games.
Earlier women’s top seed Low Wee Wern also found a way to win despite not playing at her best. The Penangite, who celebrates her 29th birthday on Thursday, really had to bank on her experience to see off the challenge of Rachel Arnold 11-6, 7-11, 11-9, 11-3.
“I think Rachel played really well today. She had a massive win over S. Sivasangari in the semi-finals so she was full of confidence,” said Wee Wern.
“On the other hand I wasn’t at my best all week but I somehow managed to find a way to win and I’m pleased with the way I came back.
“I think the third game was really crucial for me. If Rachel had won that it would have given her more confidence to make her shots,” added Wee Wern.
While there was no fairy tale finish for Rachel, it was still a stellar performance from world number 46, who ousted defending champion and close friend Sivasangari Subramaniam in the semi-finals.
“I’m quite pleased with how I played all week. Looking back, it’s the best I’ve ever felt both mentally and physically. I still have lots to work on, but this is definitely a good start for me to go into the new season (on the professional tour). Right now, I am feeling motivated and I plan to bring this onto the new season and have a better start”, said Rachel.
2019 Malaysian Nationals (Finals)
(1) Low Wee Wern bt (3/4) Rachel Arnold 11-6, 7-11, 11-9, 11-3
(2) Ivan Yuen bt (1) Ng Eain Yow 11-7, 8-11, 12-10, 11-9
Pictures courtesy of DLL Sports