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Thursday September 12, 2013 MYT 7:16:00 PM
Thursday September 12, 2013 MYT 10:11:32 PM
by kng zheng guan AND r. patrick
Nicolette Fernandes (front) goes down to England's Laura Massaro 5-11, 5-11, 7-11 in the CIMB Malaysian Open.
KUALA LUMPUR: Having four brothers who play squash naturally set Nicolette Fernandes down the path of being a professional squash player.
The 30-year-old Toronto-born player from Guyana nearly had her career cut short in 2007 when she suffered a serious knee injury that laid her off for 23 months.
But she recovered and made a stunning comeback, starting from scratch in 2009 at No. 249 in the world ranking.
Last year, Fernandes, who is usually shy off court but feisty on it, made a breakthrough of sorts when she came through the qualifying rounds to reach the second round of the World Open.
And Fernandes, now ranked 23rd in the world, is set to make more headlines after another solid performance saw her take out Australia’s Donna Urquhart in the first round of the CIMB Malaysian Open.
Although she was later knocked out by England’s second seed Laura Massaro, Fernandes showed great attitude on court to leave a strong impression in her maiden appearance in the Malaysian Open.
“Well, it was the first tournament of the new season and so far it has been good for me,” said Fernandes after her 5-11, 5-11, 7-11 loss to Massaro.
“The last time I faced Laura was at the World Open last year ... so I think I’m doing all right still.
“I really enjoy playing on the professional tour and it has been a beautiful experience.
“The biggest challenge for me is the fact that I can’t train at home.
“I have four older brothers who play squash ... which got me started too but, on the whole, there aren’t too many people playing squash back in Guyana.
“It’s quite costly to train in Guyana and to travel around the world ... so, I usually train in England.
“Overall, it’s been a really pleasant experience in Malaysia and I’m really looking forward to coming back next year.”
For now, Fernandes will turn her attention to the Carol Weymuller Open in New York from Oct 1-6.
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squash, CIMB Malaysian Open, Nicolette Fernandes
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