KUALA LUMPUR: National squash player S. Sivasangari was not in her best form but she did enough to beat fifth seed Satomi Watanabe of Japan in the final to win her first Australian Open title.
The second seed Kedahan staved off a strong challenge before coming back from a set down to win 5-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-9 in Bega yesterday.
It was Sivasangari’s fifth straight victory over the Japanese player and her 11th Professional Squash Association (PSA) title. It was also her first back-to-back PSA victory after winning the Racquet Club Pro Series in St. Louis, United States in April.
In the men’s competition, second seed Mohd Syafiq Kamal failed to make it a double joy for Malaysia when he bowed out with a meek 8-11, 5-11, 4-11 defeat to top seed Victor Crouin of France.
Despite the win, the world No. 49 Sivasangari was not jumping for joy as she felt it was not her best final.
“I made many errors and lost the first set without a fight. I’ve to admit that it has not been easy for me to juggle between studies and training,” said Sivasangari, who is studying at Cornell University in New York.
“I was playing with lots of pressure on my shoulders as I’ve never lost to Satomi. The first-set loss was a wake up call for me and I stepped up.
“I had to dig deep into my reserves against the resolute Satomi. She made it difficult for me in the fourth set but fortunately, I prevailed.
“I’m glad to win the title as it will help me to improve my rankings,” said Sivasangari, who is currently on a three-month study break.
Her next assignment is the National Championships at the National Squash Centre in Bukit Jalil from July 16-21.
Barring any upsets, the second seed Sivasangari is expected to face national No. 1 Low Wee Wern in the final.