Low Wee Wern (left) on her way to beating Donna Urquhart 11-7, 11-6, 11-8 in the Women’s World Squash Championship first round.
GEORGE TOWN: National No. 2 Low Wee Wern feels that fellow Penangite Nicol David’s presence has helped take a huge load of pressure off her in the Penang-CIMB 29th Women’s World Squash Championship here.
Wee Wern, the sixth seed, was in ruthless form in her first round match at the SPICE Arena on Wednesday as she defeated world No. 26 Donna Urquhart of Australia 11-7, 11-6, 11-8 in 32 minutes.
“It was good to get past the first round without much difficulties. It is not easy to beat a player of Donna’s quality. The scores may look easy, but there were plenty of close rallies,” said Wee Wern.
“I made a perfect start on my home ground but it’s going to get much harder after this. Although many people turned up to watch me play, I am lucky that most of the focus is on Nicol in this tournament. It helps to ease the pressure off me.”
The 23-year-old Wee Wern’s next opponent is Canadian qualifier Samantha Cornett, who is a year younger than her.
“It’s weird to be meeting someone who is younger than me for a change. Samantha has played very well to get herself into this position and I need to be at my best to make it to the quarters,” said the Malaysian.
“Many are talking about an all-Penang final between Nicol and myself, but there is still a long way to go. I am more concerned about my second round match, and after that a possible meeting against (second seed Laura) Massaro in the quarter-finals. That will be my toughest hurdle.”
Wee Wern had fallen at the quarter-final stages of the previous three world meets.
Massaro also won her opening tie against Malaysian wildcard Vanessa Raj in straight games. The English player was on the court for 25 minutes in her 11-7, 11-4, 11-1 first round win.
“I had a good feel of the court in my opening match. Vanessa is a junior player with a bright future, and I hope she goes far in the game,” said Massaro.
“Coming to Penang on the back of my title-winning run in (Windy City Open in) Chicago, where I played in a glass court, served me well as I feel that I’m in good form here.”
The next opponent for 2012 World Open runner-up Massaro in the second round on Thursday is fellow Englishwoman Jenny Duncalf, who reached the semi-finals in the 2012 world meet.
Duncalf, the ninth seed, defeated Megan Craig of New Zealand 11-8, 11-4, 11-3 in her opening tie.
“I haven’t played Jenny in quite a while but we are familiar with each other having grown up and trained together in England,” said Massaro.