PETALING JAYA: National squash player Addeen Idrakie rose to the challenge by charging into the men’s singles semi-finals of the Australian Open.
The 25-year-old defeated Japan’s Naoki Hayashi 11-6, 12-10, 11-7 in Bega yesterday to set up a tricky match against top seed Victor Crouin of France for a place in the final.
His strong showing comes just days after Squash Racquets Association of Malaysia (SRAM) director Mejar (Rtd) S. Maniam issued a warning to the national men players to buck up.
He wanted the world No. 102 Addeen and others in the team to break into the world’s top 30 rankings.
Addeen was happy to step up and promised to go all the way against Crouin, who scored a convincing 11-1, 11-3, 11-3 win over Canadian Thomas King in another quarter-final match.
“Victor is a good player, I have to be focused as the pace of the match will be high,” said Addeen.
“I’ve been trying hard to improve my game style by hitting the ball early and going for the volley more. I think it’s working.”
“There is no pressure against the top seed. I believe, I can take him down.”
Addeen has won three lower-tier titles in the Singapore Squash Circuit (February), Elanora Open (March), and the SRAM PSA 2 (April) but he knows it’s not good enough.
“I want to win this title to improve my ranking. I will try to make top 50 first.
Joining Addeen in the semi-finals is Mohd Syafiq Kamal, who showed true grit when he saved a match point to defeat England’s Connor Sheen 9-11, 7-11, 13-11, 11-5, 11-3 in a hard-fought match.
In the women’s competition, S. Sivasangari continued her fine run by defeating Egypt’s Nadeen Kotb 11-5, 11-7, 11-7 to book a date with Australia’s Christine Nunn in the semi-finals.
Top seed Rachel Arnold capped of a perfect day for the Malaysian contingent with an 11-4, 6-11, 9-11, 11-6, 11-3 win over Jessica Turnbull of Australia. She takes on Satomi Watanabe of Japan next.
Men: Addeen Idrakie bt Naoki Hayashi (Jpn) 11-6, 12-10, 11-7; Syafiq Kamal bt Connor Sheen (Eng) 9-11, 7-11, 13-11, 11-5, 11-3; Victor Crouin (Fra) bt Roshan Bharos (Ned) 7-11, 11-6, 11-4, 11-8; Tomotaka Endo (Jpn) bt Shady El Sherbiny (Egy) 9-11, 13-11, 13-11, 12-10.
Women: S. Sivasangari bt Nadeen Kotb (Egy) 11-5, 11-7, 11-7; Rachel Arnold bt Jessica Turnbull (Aus) 11-4; 6-11, 9-11, 11-6, 11-3; Christine Nunn (Aus) bt Lee Ka Yi (Hkg) 13-15, 10-12, 11-5, 15-13, 11-9; Satomi Watanabe (Jpn) bt Vanessa Chu (Hkg) 11-6, 13-11, 12-10.