Andrea looking forward to baptism of fire


PETALING JAYA: Andrea Lee (pic) is out to make an impression even though the odds are heavily stacked against her at the Asian Individual Squash Championships.

The 18-year-old Andrea is prepared for a baptism of fire when the tournament in Chennai, India starts from April 26-30.

The world No. 77 is seeded 10th and takes on Iran’s Fereshteh Eghtedari in the first round. She is expected to clear her hurdle and meet home favourite and fourth seed Dipika Pallikal.

“I’ve had a good month to prepare for this tournament. And during the past week our training were a bit more intense,” said Andrea.

“We’ve been doing a lot of match plays. We’ve also been cycling in tracksuits in order to prepare for the hot conditions there.

“But I’m definitely looking forward to my debut even though I’ve got a really tough draw.

“Dipika (world No. 22) used to be a top 20 player and to play against her would serve as a good preparation for the World Junior Championships in New Zealand in July.”

The other Malaysian women – Rachel Arnold, Zoe Foo and 15-year-old Aifa Azman – also have challenging draws.

Eighth seed and world No. 57 Rachel is expected to meet top seed Annie Au of Hong Kong in the quarter-finals.

Zoe is drawn to meet another Hong Kong player, Joey Chan, in the second round while Aifa is up against ninth seed Sachika Ingale of India in her opener.

For the Malaysian men, national No. 1 Mohd Nafiizwan is seeded third and receives a first-round bye with Japan’s Ryunosuke Tsukue a likely second round opponent.

The 2011 champion is however drawn to meet compatriot national No. 2 Ivan Yuen, who is the seventh seed, in the quarter-finals.

The other Malaysians in the fray are reigning world junior champion Ng Eain Yow and Mohd Addeen Idrakie.

The team depart for Chennai today.

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