KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia outplayed Iraq and Japan with identical 3-0 scores to top Group C and a place in the men’s quarter-finals of the Asian Team Squash Championships in Hong Kong.
Third seeds Malaysia, who whipped Sri Lanka 3-0 in the opening match on Wednesday, will face Group D runners-up Hong Kong for a place in the semi-finals.
In their match against Iraq, Mohd Azlan Iskandar, the 2010 Asian Games gold medallist, gave Malaysia the lead with an easy 11-5, 11-6, 11-8 win over Rasool Hashim.
Former Asian champion Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan delivered the winning point with an 11-4, 11-3, 11-7 win over Hasan Hashim. Ivan Yuen completed the rout with a hard-fought 11-9, 9-11, 11-8, 11-3 win over Mohammed Ferman Hasan.
Later in the evening match against Japan, Azlan again gave Malaysia the lead by whipping Ryunosuke Tsukue 11-1, 11-0, 11-2.
Veteran Ong Beng Hee had no problem beating Yuta Fukui 11-7, 11-2, 11-3 to give Malaysia the winning point. Nafiizwan made it 3-0 with an 11-5, 11-6, 13-11 win over Ryosei Kobayashi.
National coach Allan Soyza believes Malaysia have quite a good chance of beating fourth seeds Hong Kong.
“I hope we can rise to the occasion tomorrow (today). But we must watch out for Hong Kong’s top two players Leo Au and Max Lee as they are capable of creating an upset,” said Allan.
In the women’s event, top seeds Malaysia strolled to a 3-0 vicotry over Japan for their second win in Group A.
Delia Arnold started the ball rolling by beating Satomi Watanabe 11-8, 11-6, 11-5. World No. 1 Nicol David defeated Misaki Kobayashi 11-6, 11-7, 11-7 to snatch the winning point.
National No. 2 Low Wee Wern brushed aside Risa Sugimoto 11-5, 11-6, 11-2 to make it 3-0.
Malaysia, who thrashed South Korea 3-0 in the opening match on Wednesday, are expected to chalk up easy wins over Sri Lanka and Singapore today to seal a place in the semi-finals.