PETALING JAYA: SEA Games-bound Ng Eain Yow and Mohd Syafiq Kamal (top pic) stole the show by overcoming seeded players in the first round of the NZ International Classic squash championships.
The 19-year-old Eain Yow justified his selection to lead the singles challenge in the KL Games from Aug 19-30 by beating seventh seed Joshua Larkin of Australia 11-9, 11-8, 11-6 at Palmerston North yesterday.
It is world No. 88 Eain Yow’s second straight win over world No. 81 Larkin, having beaten the 27-year-old Aussie in the final of the NT Open in Darwin last month.
Eain Yow, who finished third in the National Championships last month, will face world No. 60 Peter Creed of Wales in the quarter-finals.
Top seed Creed booked his last-eight spot with an 11-4, 11-4, 11-9 win over Malaysian qualifier Mohd Addeen Idrakie.
World No. 99 Syafiq, who is also set for singles duty at the SEA Games, had an easier time as his first-round opponent – Hong Kong’s Wong Chi Him – retired with a knee injury.
The 20-year-old was leading 11-2, 11-9, 6-1 when the fifth-seeded Chi Him threw in the towel.
The Kelantan player will meet fourth seed Mahesh Mangaokar of India in the quarter-finals.
“It’s not a good way to win ... but a win is a win,” said Syafiq.
“It has kept me fresh and I’m ready for the quarter-finals.
“I beat Mahesh in five sets in the London Open last year ... I want to beat him again.”
Another Malaysian, Valentino Bong, failed to progress after losing 2-11, 3-11, 3-11 to third seed Greg Lobban of Scotland.
In the women’s event, 15-year-old Aifa Azman powered into the main draw after winning both her qualifying matches.
The world No. 166 defeated homester Danielle Fourie 11-5, 11-1, 11-7 and Australia’s Moana Gray 11-3, 11-6, 11-8.
Aifa will meet seventh seed Emma Millar of New Zealand in the tournament proper.
There are four other Malaysian girls – Andrea Lee, Zoe Foo, Aika Azman and Nazihah Hanis – in the main draw.
First round: Peter Creed (Wal) bt Mohd Addeen Idrakie (Mas) 11-4, 11-4, 11-9; Ng Eain Yow (Mas) bt Joshua Larkin (Aus) 11-9, 11-8, 11-6; Mohd Syafiq Kamal (Mas) bt Wong Chi HIm (Hkg) 11-2, 11-9, 6-1, rtd; Mahesh Mangaokar (Ind) bt Joe Green (Eng) 11-5, 11-6, 11-6; Greg Lobban (Sco) bt Valentino Bong (Mas) 11-2, 11-3, 11-3; Evan Williams (Nzl) bt Daniel Mekbib (Can) 14-12, 11-13, 11-6, 11-7; Lance Beddoes (Nzl) bt Luke Jones (Nzl) 11-9, 11-3, 4-11, 10-12, 11-6; Angus Gillams (Eng) bt Scott Galloway (Nzl) 11-4, 9-11, 11-7, 12-14, 11-7.
Qualifying finals: Abbie Palmer (Nzl) bt Anika Jackson (Nzl) 11-4, 11-6, 11-6; Eum Hwa-yeong (Kor) bt Lauren Clarke (Nzl) 11-3, 11-7, 11-6; Ellie Jones (Nzl) bt Camden Te Kani-McQueen (Nzl) 4-11, 11-2, 11-8, 11-8; Aifa Azman (Mas) bt Moana Gray (Nzl) 11-3, 11-6, 11-8.