Vanessa Raj checked into the semi-finals of the fourth leg of the Malaysian Tour squash circuit (SSJM) at the Kangar Squash Complex after beating Rachael Arnold on Friday. - Filepic
PETALING JAYA: Penang’s Vanessa Raj gave herself a much-needed boost ahead of the selection trials after checking into the semi-finals of the fourth leg of the Malaysian Tour squash circuit (SSJM) at the Kangar Squash Complex.
The 18-year-old Vanessa and three others – Rachel Arnold, Teh Min Jie and Zulhijjah Azan – will attend the trials to earn a spot in the Asian Team Championship, Commonwealth Games and Asian Games this year.
World No. 1 Nicol David, world No. 7 Low Wee Wern and national No. 3 Delia Arnold are already assured of places in the team.
Vanessa, who is ranked No. 77 in the world, will be in high spirits for the April 29-May 1 trials after beating world No. 78 Rachel in a gruelling quarter-final on Friday.
Vanessa, who also won the Asian Youth Games (AYG) gold medal last year, won 11-6, 11-8, 5-11, 9-11, 11-5.
The Penangite, who defeated British Junior Under-13 champion Aifa Azman in the first round, will meet second seed Tong Tsz Wing of Hong Kong in the last four.
It is also her first-ever appearance in a Women’s Squash Association (WSA) Tour semi-final.
“It was a really tiring match because I was 2-0 up but Rachel fought back to force a fifth set,” said Vanessa.
“I’m glad I’ve made the semi-finals for the first time ... I’m going to give it my best against Tsz Wing, whom I lost to in five sets during the second leg of the SSJM this year.”
Other results saw KL’s Andrea Lee, who did well to beat eighth seed Jessica Turnbull of Australia in the first round, losing to third seed Lotte Eriksen of Norway in the quarter-finals.
South Korea’s Eun Chan-ahn, who won the second (Putrajaya) and third (Seremban) legs, also crashed out, losing to Hong Kong’s Liu Tsz Ling 7-11, 6-11, 6-11.