KUALA LUMPUR: Aifa Azman is now the youngest-ever Malaysian winner on the Professional Squash Association (PSA) Tour.
The 16-year-old pulled off the historic feat by producing a top-notch performance to beat senior Andrea Lee 11-6, 11-7, 11-9 in the women’s final of the Malaysian Tour Squash Circuit (SSJM) No. 2 at the Royal Selangor Club yesterday.
Winning her maiden PSA title was certainly a coming-of-age performance by the Kedahan.
Aifa has eclipsed national No. 2 S. Sivasangari, who was 17 when she bagged her maiden PSA title in 2016.
It was also the icing on the cake for Aifa, who bagged her third British Junior Open title earlier this month.
Aifa, who is set to break into the world’s top 100 from her current ranking of No. 105, is hoping that it will be the start of more to come.
“I played a lot better today compared to the semi-finals when I faced Jemyca (Aribado of the Philippines),” said Aifa.
“Against Jemyca, I was just so nervous. Today, I wasn’t nervous at all against my senior Andrea. The pressure was not on me.
“I’m really happy to finally win my first PSA title.
“I’ve been targeting a win for a long time.
“I didn’t get many lucky breaks last year and I only made the semi-finals, so I was more determined this time.
“It’s definitely been a great month for me, especially with my third British Juniors title earlier. But I hope this is just the start because I want to win more.”
Aifa has a chance to double her tally when she competes in the SSJM No. 3 at the NSC Squash Centre in Jalan Duta from Jan 30-Feb 2.
She is seeded eighth and takes on a qualifier in the first round.
Meanwhile, there was no joy for national No. 4 Mohd Syafiq Kamal after he fell short in the men’s final.
The world No. 89, who was bidding for his third career title, blew a 2-1 lead to lose 4-11, 11-9, 11-9, 4-11, 5-11 to Pakistan’s Asim Khan.
It is world No. 127 Asim’s second straight title. He also won the SSJM No. 1 in Seremban last week.
Men: Asim Khan (Pak) bt Mohd Syafiq Kamal (Mas) 11-4, 9-11, 9-11, 11-4, 11-5.
Women: Aifa Azman (Mas) bt Andrea Lee (Mas) 11-6, 11-7, 11-9.