Wednesday, 11 June 2014 | MYT 8:49 PM
Syafiq-Yow final is on...but just
Mohd Syafiq Kamal (left) in action against Hong Kong's Lau Tsz Kwan in the semi-finals - ASRI ABDUL GHANI / The Star
GEORGE TOWN: Top seed Mohamad Syafiq Kamal lived dangerously before setting up a much-anticipated Malaysian Junior Open Squash Championships boys’ Under-19 final showdown against fellow Malaysian player Ng Eain Yow.
The 18-year-old Syafiq was stretched to the limit by Hong Kong’s Lau Tsz Kwan in the semi-finals before prevailing 12-10, 9-11, 10-12, 11-7, 11-8 at the Nicol David International Squash Centre in Penang on Wednesday.
Second seed Eain Yow dropped a set in his semi-final tie against fellow national junior player Darren Chan before prevailing 9-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-5.
Thursday’s Syafiq-Eain Yow match-up will be a repeat of last year’s Under-17 final, which Syafiq won.
However, second seed Eain Yow is the player on form heading into the final. The 16-year-old beat Syafiq in a five-setter at the Sukma men’s team final in Perlis last month.
“I was not playing well earlier in the tournament, but I’m now happy with the way I’m performing. I did well against Darren in the semis and I need to maintain the same level of consistency if I’m to beat Syafiq in the final,” said Eain Yow.
“I have faced Syafiq many times in competitions, and almost all our contests have been close encounters. It is always difficult to predict who will triumph in our meetings, and I expect the final to be the same.”
Syafiq was surprised by the strong challenge posed by Tsz Kwan in his semi-final encounter.
“I just went through a tiring five-setter against Tsz Kwan, whom I have not played before today. He gave me a good run for my money. Hopefully, I can recover overnight and be ready to take on Eain Yow in the final,” said Syafiq.
“He (Eain Yow) beat me in our previous match in the Sukma competition, and I’m eager to set the record straight again by winning in the final.”
The girls’ Under-19 final will be a showdown between the top two seeds – Ho Tze Lok of Hong Kong and Rachel Arnold of Malaysia.
Tze Lok toiled for more than an hour before subduing national junior player Teh Min Jie 11-6, 11-6, 6-11, 12-10.
Rachel had a much easier time on the court in her straight-set 11-4, 11-6, 11-5 victory over the tournament’s surprise package Nazihah Hanis Razak of Kedah.
The girls’ Under-17 category also went according to the formbook, with top seed S. Sivasangari of Kedah setting up a showdown with second Andrea Lee of the Federal Territories.
Sivasangari downed Terengganu’s Nurina Najib 11-1, 11-6, 7-11, 11-6 in her last four tie while Andrea went the full distance before defeating national junior Zoe Foo 11-4, 11-8, 9-11, 6-11, 11-7 in the other semi-final.