Ivan Yuen (front) returns a shot to Egypt’s Ahmad Alsaraj in the NSC Series No. 1 semi-finals. Ivan won 11-2, 14-12, 11-8, 11-4.
BUKIT JALIL: National No. 4 squash player Ivan Yuen relied on his experience to storm into the final of the NSC Series No. 1 championships at the National Squash Centre in Bukit Jalil.
Ivan produced a solid performance en route to beating Jordan’s Ahmad Alsaraj 11-2, 14-12, 8-11, 11-4 in the semi-finals on Wednesday.
The 23-year-old certainly played sluggishly in his first few matches but managed to recover his form after winning his quarter-final match against India’s Ravi Dixit 13-11, 11-6, 11-8.
With Wednesday’s impressive win against the Ahmad, the recently-crowned British Junior Open champion, Ivan must be brimming with confidence heading into Thursday’s final.
“I realised I was sluggish in my previous matches and needed to it step up if I wanted to win the title. The quarter-finals helped me and these wins – against talented players like Ahmad – will only help me gain momentum,” said the Selangor-born Ivan.
“It was certainly not an easy match against Ahmad. He worked the court very well with his long legs. I feel that my experience came in handy and knew how to deal with certain shots better than him. I’m looking to continue my momentum in the final tomorrow and, hopefully, win the title.”
Ahmad, who downed Egypt's Ahmed Hussein in the quarter-finals 11-9, 5-11, 8-11, 11-9, 11-7, certainly looked a long way from the form he produced en route to winning the British Junior Open crown.
“He was better than me. His experience certainly helped him. I will come back stronger ... I’m looking forward to playing him again,” he said.
Ivan will face India’s Harinderpal Sandhu in the final.
The India player slogged to beat Egypt’s Ahmed Atef 11-5, 9-11, 11-7, 5-11, 11-8 in the other semi-final.
“I didn’t expect the match to be this long ... I will get some rest and prepare myself for tomorrow’s match. I’ll be looking for a win,” said Harinderpal.