PETALING JAYA: Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan is on course for a ninth career title after storming into the final of the HKFC International squash championships.
The 30-year-old Nafiizwan has struggled to achieve results on the Professional Squash Association (PSA) Tour this year having lost in the first round in four tournaments.
The world No.33 was, however, at his best on Friday, as he sent second seed and home favourite Leo Au of Hong Kong packing with an 11-8, 11-8, 12-10 win.
The Terengganu-born player who won his last title at the New Zealand International Classic in June last year, started comfortably by taking the first two sets at 11-8.
World No. 26 Leo, with the crowd behind him, staged a fightback in the third but it was Nafiizwan who prevailed when it mattered to close out the win in 44 minutes.
“To be honest it was a tough match as Leo is a smart player and he knows how to place his shots during rallies,” said Nafiizwan.
“I felt that it’s always a tactical game against Leo and some of my tactics didn’t work today. But I’m happy to close it out 3-0 ... it’s also good to be able to save some energy for the final,” added Nafiizwan.
The national No. 1 will take on New Zealand’s world No.37 Paul Coll in the final.
The Kiwi No.1 dashed hopes of an all-Malaysian final after he saved match ball in the third set before pulling an impressive 5-11, 9-11, 12-10, 11-5, 11-3 comeback win over Ivan Yuen.
“It would have been nice if Ivan won ... he played so well to beat higher ranked players Max (Lee) and Rex (Hedrick) in the earlier rounds,” said Nafiizwan.
“But Paul has been one of the most consistent and improved players in the last few months. I am prepared to do my best in the final.”
In the women’s event, India’s Joshna Chinappa ended the hopes of home favourite and second seed Annie Au with an 8-11, 11-9, 12-10, 7-11, 11-9 win.
The world No.13 takes on top seed and world No.9 Joelle King of New Zealand for the title.