Three National Squash Players Advance into Malaysian Open Quarterfinals
By: Michelle Liew
Three national squash players have advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2022 Malaysian Open squash tournament.
Men's singles player Muhammad Addeen Idrakie Bahtiar, who is ranked No. 83, continued to pull off an upset when he defeated the world's No. 16 player Raphael Kandra from Germany in the second round yesterday.
Muhammad Addeen bounced back after losing the first set 4-11, before defeating the four-time champion 11-7, 13-11, 9-11, 11-8 in a 66-minute battle at the National Squash Centre here.
As the only representative of the country in the men's category, a tough task awaits the 2019 SEA Games gold medallist considering he is scheduled to face the tournament's top seed Tarek Momen from Egypt. The world number seven defeated his teammate Yahya Elnawasany 6-11, 11-3, 11-3, 11-6, 11-1.
Muhammad Addeen said his success yesterday was because he believed he was fit enough to play another long match, after knocking out world number three Omar Mosaad of Egypt on Tuesday.
"I'm not a 'giant killer' but I play without extra pressure. I'm not a preferred player. I have solid support and it helps me play better.
"I hope to continue my best performance. This is my highest achievement, the first time to qualifying for the quarterfinals of a US$50,000 tournament and the first time to be in the top 20 players in the world," he stated.
Meanwhile, in the women's singles competition, Aifa Azman will also face a tough test in defending her title, as she will be meeting with the 14th ranked player, Nele Gilis from Belgium, today.
The 20-year-old started the campaign on the right foot by knocking out rising compatriot Ainaa Amani Ampandi in the second round yesterday.
2019 champion Rachel Arnold, who won Grace Gear 10-12, 12-10, 11-7, 11-9, will face fourth seed Nadine Shahin from Egypt, and hopes to be able to take advantage of the absence of several top seeds to advance to the semi-finals.
On the other hand, the country's main men's singles player Ng Eain Yow missed the chance to win his second title after the 2019 edition after losing to the 11th ranked player in the world Joel Makin.
Eain Yow, who was behind 6-11, came back to win 11-6, 11-8 before the player from Wales regained control of the match with an 11-9, 11-5 victory.
"I think I played well today but it was very disappointing when I lost in the second round. I did my best, but it was still not enough. He (Makin) played aggressively today, he didn't give me a chance at all," he said.