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Sunday December 9, 2012

Nafiizwan eyes top spot after win over Beng Hee

PETALING JAYA: Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan has set his sights on becoming the national No. 1 after beating compatriot Ong Beng Hee for the first time on the Professional Squash Association (PSA) Tour.

Although he beat current national No. 1 Beng Hee en route to winning the Asian Championship last year, the 26-year-old Nafiizwan has never defeated his more experienced team-mate in the professional circuit.

Nafiizwan had a good chance when he faced Beng Hee in the quarter-finals of the KL Open earlier this year, but he blew a 2-1 lead to lose 3-2.

But, on Friday, Nafiizwan’s hard work finally paid off as he gave a polished performance to beat Beng Hee 6-11, 11-3, 11-4, 11-7 in the first round of the Men’s World Open in Doha, Qatar.

And Nafiizwan, who is at his highest ranking in the world at No. 30 – just eight below Beng Hee – has set his sights on overtaking the Penangite.

“The last time we met in KL, I was 2-1 up but he came back ... I was determined not to let it happen again,” said Nafiizwan.

“This time, I made him work in every rally and for every point. I was also more relaxed and there was less pressure on me.

“But it wasn’t an easy match because Beng Hee and Mohd Azlan Iskandar (former national player) are like brothers to me ... the ones I turned to when I had trouble. I even trained with Beng Hee in the UK.

“But, at the end of the day, one of us had to win and I’m glad it was me.”

The Terengganu-born Nafiizwan faces another challenging match when he takes on the hard-hitting 16th seed Cameron Pilley of Australia for a place in the third round today.

In other first round matches, top seed James Wilstrop of England and fourth seed Karim Darwish booked their spots in the second round.

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