PETALING JAYA: Andrea Lee is much better prepared when she returns to New Zealand for a second time in two months – this time for the World Junior Squash Championships.
The world No. 80 was in New Zealand for two Professional Squash Association (PSA) Tour tournaments last month.
The southpaw reached the semi-finals of the New Zealand International Classic in Palmerston North but was beaten in the first round of the Matamata Open.
The 18-year-old, however, believes both tournaments have helped with her preparations for the world juniors in Tauranga from July 19-29.
And Andrea, set to make her third world juniors appearance, is eyeing a top-four finish for the first time.
“The two tournaments last month certainly helped ... especially in getting us prepared for the cold temperature,” said Andrea.
“I didn’t expect it to be so cold and I was caught a little off-guard as I didn’t have enough warm clothing with me.
“I’m much better prepared this time. I’ve also been doing a lot of matchplays against the boys during training the last few weeks.”
Andrea, who is seeded joint fifth-eighth, has a first-round bye before meeting either Helena Coetzee of South Africa or Ireland’s Lily Lloyd.
She should cruise into the third round to meet England’s Elise Lazarus, with the winner likely to face joint third-fourth seed Rowan Reda of Egypt in the quarter-finals.
Besides the individual event, Andrea, together with S. Sivasangari, Zoe Foo and Aifa Azman will also feature in the team event.
The girls’ team finished third at the team meet in Eindhoven, Holland, two years ago and hopes are high on this year’s quartet to reach the final for the first time since 2007.
“The three of us (Andrea, Sivasangari and Zoe) were in the team that finished third two years ago. We definitely hope to make the final this time to play Egypt,” said Andrea.
“Having Aifa in the team is also a good addition ... it certainly makes the team stronger.
“But it’s important that we do well in the individual event first, so that we get a favourable seeding and avoid playing Egypt in the semi-finals,” added Andrea.
The Malaysian squad, comprising 10 players and two coaches – Andrew Cross and Shahril Shahidan – left for New Zealand yesterday.