Teh Min Jie booked her place in the girls’ Under-19 quarter-finals of the Malaysian Junior Open after defeating Iran’s Sogol Samoodi at the Nicol David International Squash Centre on Monday.
GEORGE TOWN: Teh Min Jie believes she is capable of making a breakthrough at the Malaysian Junior Open Squash Championships in Penang this week.
On Monday, the 18-year-old from Selangor booked her place in the girls’ Under-19 quarter-finals after a clinical 11-5, 11-8, 11-7 second-round win over Iran’s Sogol Samoodi at the Nicol David International Squash Centre.
In the absence of Malaysia’s top junior Vanessa Raj, who will be representing Malaysia in this week’s Asian Team Championships in Hong Kong, Min Jie fancies her chances of going all the way to the final.
“Vanessa’s absence in Penang has certainly opened up the Under-19 competition. But there are still tough rivals around, and I need to be at my best to get a breakthrough run to the final, and possibly, lift the title,” said Min Jie, the Sukma individual bronze medallist.
Min Jie, a quarter-finalist in the Under-19 event last year, will meet dark-horse Aika Azman in the quarter-finals on Tuesday.
The 18-year-old Aika, fresh from helping Kedah win the Sukma team gold in Perlis, booked her place in the last eight after beating Australia’s Lakeesha Rarere 11-4, 11-4, 11-9.
Aika literally spilled blood in her match after being accidentally hit in the mouth by Rarere’s racquet in the third set.
“It was painful and I was bleeding, but I managed to continue and close out the win,” said Aika, who is making her debut in the Under-19 category this year.
“I have not played Min Jie in a competition. I am looking forward to taking her on and try to reach my target of a top-four finish this year,” said the lanky Aika.
The winner of the Min Jie-Aika quarter-final will likely set up a semi-final meeting against top seed Ho Tze Lok of Hong Kong.
In the bottom half of the draw, second seed Rachel Arnold remained on course to reach her first Under-19 final after overcoming Selangor’s Jasmine Tan 11-5, 11-4, 13-11.
Rachel will play Penang’s Celine Yeap for a place in the semis.
In the boys’ Under-19 event, top seed Mohamad Syafiq Kamal struggled to get past Shyan Kwan of the Federal Territories in the third round. Syafiq, who won the national Under-17 title last year, triumphed 6-11,
11-5, 15-13, 15-13 to set up a last-eight meeting with Hong Kong’s Yuen Tsun Hei.