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Monday March 26, 2012

Squash: Wee Wern in a hurry to catch up with the world’s top 10

PETALING JAYA: National No. 2 squash player Low Wee Wern has set her sights on catching up with the top 10 players in the world, starting with the CIMB Nicol David KL Open which begins today.

The 21-year-old Wee Wern is currently ranked 13th in the world and enjoyed a strong finish last year – defeating several big names like Jenny Duncalf (world No. 2), Laura Massaro (No. 4) and Camille Serme (No. 9).

But Wee Wern has yet to achieve the same kind of consistency which has seen Malaysian squash queen Nicol David dominate the women’s game for the past six years.

However, it must be pointed out that Wee Wern was sick when she crashed out in the first rounds of the Greenwich Open and Cleveland Classic back in January.

Since then, the petite Wee Wern has been back in Penang training for the KL Open and she has declared that she is fully prepared for the challenge.

“It was definitely a slow start to the year as I fell sick and did not achieve good results,” said Wee Wern.

“But I’ve undergone some quality training back in Penang for more than a month and I’m looking forward to playing in KL.”

It won’t be easy for Wee Wern, who will be competing in the main draw as the local wildcard. She faces 2005 world junior champion and fifth seed Raneem El Weleily of Egypt in the first round on Wednesday.

Wee Wern has never beaten the 23-year-old Raneem in their last two encounters. Even if she clears that hurdle, a bigger test in the form of fourth seed Madeline Perry awaits her in the quarter-finals.

“Raneem has been playing extremely well .. the last time we met (Hong Kong Open) she beat me 3-1,” said Wee Wern.

“She has been progressing well as she’s currently fifth in the world despite her age and it’s obvious that she has been quicker to climb the ranks than me.

“But I’ve been training well and I feel that I stand a pretty good chance of creating an upset although it will be tough.

“Right now I’m not so much focused on winning tournaments as I am on climbing the ranks and I believe beating Raneem will be a big boost indeed.”

While defending champion and top seed Nicol faces a qualifier in the first round, nine other Malaysians – Delia Arnold, Siti Munirah Jusoh, P. Pushppa Devi, Zuhijjah Azan, Rachel Arnold, Teh Min Jie, Jadeleen Lee, Vanessa Raj and Celine Yeap – will start from the qualifiers.

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