Rachel Arnold in a file photo. She will meet unseeded Vanessa Chu of Hong Kong in the semi-finals of the fifth leg of the SSJM.
PETALING JAYA: Youngster Rachel Arnold put the disappointment of missing out on the Asian Team Championship and Asian Games squad firmly behind her as she stormed into the semi-finals of the fifth leg of the Malaysian Tour Squash Circuit (SSJM) in Penang.
Two weeks ago, 18-year-old Rachel lost out on a spot in the senior team on the countback of points, finishing third in the trials behind Vanessa Raj who made the squad, and Zulhijjah Azan who is the first reserve.
But it mattered little to Rachel on Friday as she enjoyed a good day at the Nicol David International Squash Centre.
She first defeated Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) trainee Zoe Foo, 1-11, 11-4, 11-4, 11-6, before going on to beat seventh seed Carmen Lee of Hong Kong 5-11, 11-5, 8-11, 11-8, 12-10 in the quarter-finals.
The world No. 83 will now meet unseeded Vanessa Chu of Hong Kong in the semi-finals, in a bid to make her third Women’s Squash Association (WSA) tour final.
But while Rachel was on song, compatriot Vanessa had a day to forget as she was bundled out in the first round against 17-year-old Nazihah Hanis.
The 18-year-old Vanessa let slip a two-set lead as Nazihah came back with a gritty performance to win 7-11, 3-11, 11-7, 11-5, 11-7.
The Kedah lass however met her match in the quarter-finals, losing to Vanessa Chu 11-5, 6-11, 11-7, 12-14, 8-11.
Top seed Eun Chan-ahn of South Korea meanwhile made the last four after beating British Junior Under-15 champion S. Sivasangari 11-8, 11-6, 4-11, 11-8.