KUALA LUMPUR: Former national player Elvinn Keo made the most of his chances to score a stunning win over Hong Kong’s Leo Au in the first qualifying round of the CIMB KL Open at the National Squash Centre in Bukit Jalil yesterday.
The 25-year-old Elvinn was dropped from the Squash Racquets Association of Malaysia’s (SRAM) elite programme last year due to a lack of progress.
The Penangite, who is currently ranked 127th in the world, had to train on his own after being axed.
But that did not stop Elvinn from dishing out one of his finest performances to beat world No. 40 Au 13-11, 3-11, 6-11, 11-9, 11-6.
Elvinn, the 2007 SEA Games champion, had received a wildcard to compete in the qualifiers.
It was only his second win against a top 50 player, after beating Czech Republic’s Jan Koukal (now No. 55) last year.
“It was definitely a tough match against Leo. I guess I got lucky but I’m happy to have won,” said Elvinn.
“I’ve known Leo for a while and he’s actually a much better player. In fact, he was in the second round of the Kuwait Cup this year, which is a Super Series event ... that shows just how good he actually is.
“I’ve already exceeded my own expectations ... hopefully, this win proves that I can still play at a high level.”
Elvinn’s reward is a clash against compatriot Ivan Yuen in the second qualifying round.
Ivan defeated South Korea’s Seung Yong-yoo yoo 11-2, 11-8, 11-8.
The last time the duo met, Elvinn threw away a two-set lead to lose in five sets in the semi-finals of the NSC Series No. 1 two weeks ago.
Reigning Asian champion Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan was the third Malaysian through to the next round, but not before warding off a strong challenge by Sanjay Singh Chal.
The 27-year-old Nafiizwan won 11-5, 8-11, 11-9, 11-5 and will face India’s Harinder Pal Sandhu next.