Coach: She needs to polish up on skills and strength

PETALING JAYA: National women’s singles coach James Chua wants S. Kisona to work on her strength after her last-eight finish at the Vietnam Open recently.

Kisona had reached her first quarter-final since March before bowing out to homester Thi Phuong Tran 19-21, 7-21.

James, who started coaching the 24-year-old in July, acknowledged that she still had to work on several aspects of her game to keep progressing.

“She is still a work-in-progress. Her performance in the Vietnam Open was OK but her body was not strong enough in the quarter-finals after she had to play two tough matches in the first two rounds. So, she still needs to work on her strength. I also feel that she needs to improve her skills at the front of the court,” said James.

Kisona was pushed to three games in the first and second round against India’s Anupama Uphadyaya and Myanmar’s Thet Thuzar respectively.

The 2019 Philippines SEA Games gold medallist had seen injuries disrupt her progress since then and was in need of a boost.

She had won the Spanish International last year but experienced a downturn in form since. Kisona had reached the quarter-finals in the Swiss Open in March but failed to get past the first round in all her tournaments since then before the Vietnam Open.

Despite running out of steam in the last eight in Vietnam, Kisona is feeling more positive after she moved up three rungs to No. 46 from No. 49 in the latest world rankings.

James wants his charge to slowly regain her confidence as she turns her attention to the Indonesian International Challenge (Oct 11-16) and the Indonesia Masters (Oct 18-23) in Malang next.

“I hope she can perform better in Indonesia than in Vietnam but I don’t want to put too much pressure on her. Instead, I want her to just focus on playing and winning round by round,” said James.

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