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Friday September 20, 2013 MYT 7:25:00 PM
Friday September 20, 2013 MYT 8:13:12 PM
by lim teik huat
uhd Assri Merzuki (left) and Syed Agil Syed Naguib have both been given wild cards to participate in the ATP 250 tournament.
KUALA LUMPUR: United States-based tennis player Muhd Assri Merzuki is hoping to make his second Malaysian Open appearance a memorable one when the fifth edition of the ATP 250 tournament kicks off with the qualifying rounds at the Putra Stadium on Saturday.
The 19-year-old has been awarded a wild card into the singles qualifiers as well as the main draw for the doubles, where he has earned the honour of being paired up with Spanish rising star Pablo Carreno Busta, currently ranked 67th in the world.
Assri enjoyed a good debut in last year’s tourney when he became the first Malaysian to win a set against a foreign opponent as he went down fighting 2-6, 7-6, 2-6 to Treat Conrad Huey of the Philippines in the qualifying round.
It got better this year as he made a historic breakthrough in February, having earned his maiden ATP ranking point by defeating Katsushi Fukuda of Japan in the first round of an F1 Futures tournament in India.
“I am excited to be given the opportunity to play in the Malaysian Open once more.
“I will just go out there and give my very best, not having too high expectations and seeing what I can achieve this year.
“I tend to play better without pressure,” he said.
Assri, who trains in Florida, believes his performance has improved over the years as he has been given opportunities to train with some of the pros.
“Recently I had the chance to be (world No. 11) Samantha Stosur’s sparring partner when she was preparing for the US Open.
“It was not only a wonderful experience, but it also helped me a lot in my game.”
With an opportunity to partner the talented Pablo, Assri is not counting out his chances of becoming the first local player to check into the second round of an ATP event.
“I don’t know him (Pablo) personally but he’s such a good player. His record this year speaks for itself. By having him as my partner, I really believe that winning a round is possible.”
The 22-year-old Pablo is a star in the making after enjoying a fine run this year. He started the year as world No. 654.
Syed Agil Syed Naguib, who did well to emerge runner-up at the Scomi KL Open recently, is another local player to be given a wild card in the doubles main draw.
He will partner India’s world No. 477 Yuki Bhambhri.
The other two local wild-cards in the qualifying singles are former national No. 1 Si Yew Ming, who is making his fifth consecutive appearance, and debutant Muhd Ashaari Zainal Abidin.
Tags / Keywords:
tennis, ATP 250, Syed Agil Syed Naguib, Muhd Assri Merzuki, Pablo Carreno Busta
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