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Nafiizwan eyes revenge over Ivan in Malaysian Open


Let’s go: The national squash players taking a group photo after the press conference on the Malaysian Open yesterday. — AZHAR MAHFOF / The Star

Let’s go: The national squash players taking a group photo after the press conference on the Malaysian Open yesterday. — AZHAR MAHFOF / The Star

PETALING JAYA: National No. 1 Muhd Nafiizwan Adnan will be going all out to seek revenge when he meets Ivan Yuen in the first round of the Malaysian Open to be held at the National Squash Centre, Bukit Jalil from July 17-22.

World No. 42 Nafiizwan lost to Ivan in the final of the National Championships at the same venue last Sunday. Ironically, they drew each other in the opening round of the Malaysian Open which is being held in conjunction with the MRCB Foundation’s Fund Raising Project for underprivileged and special children.

This year’s Malaysian Open will also see a significant increase in prize money. The men’s event has been given a PSA35 rating with an increase in total prize money from US$25,000 (RM100,397) to US$35,000 (RM140,564). The women’s category was also upgraded to a PSA15 event with an increase in prize money from US$15,000 (RM60,173) to US$10,000 (RM40,117).

“I lost last week to Ivan, it was a standard loss. By analysing my mistakes I don’t see a big problem. For example, my match fitness was not great because I didn’t train well for seven weeks,” said the Terengganu-born player yesterday.

“I know how to counter the disappointment. I need to adopt a reverse psychology approach by being positive. I need to make a comeback as I have high hopes here.

“It’s good that the tournament is now a PSA35 event. If it’s too big, the top 10 from the world will be here and the local players won’t get the chance to play. But now we will have a lot of locals and I think it is good.”

In the women’s event, defending champion and world No. 40 S. Siva­sangari is the third seed and will be out to continue her winning momentum after her victory in the National Championships last Sunday.

But she won’t have it easy as Hong Kong are sending a strong field comprising world No. 33 Liu Tsz Ling, Ho Tze Lok, Tong Tsz Wing and Lee Ka Yi.

The biggest name is however former world No. 4 Omneya Abdel Kawy. The Egyptian has been out injured since January 2017 and only recently made a comeback.

“My confidence level is high after winning the National Champion­ships two days ago. The Malaysian Open won’t be easy as some top players are coming. I just want to do my best and hopefully retain my title,” said the 19-year-old Sivasangari from Kedah.

“Omneya was a former top-five player in the world. She has been out for a year but she’s back and will definitely be another tough competitor here.”

squash , Malaysian Open

   

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