Odds heavily against Malaysia as Egypt loom in final


Easy meat: Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah (second from left) together with Yang di-Pertuan Besar of Negri Sembilan Tuanku Muhriz ibni Almarhum Tuanku Munawir (third from left) and CIMB Group chief executive officer Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Aziz (left) watching the semi-finals of the World Junior Team Championship between Malaysia’s Chan Yiwen (in blue) and Hong Kong’s Kirstie Wong at the National Squash Centre in Bukit Jalil yesterday. — IZZRAFIQ ALIAS / The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian girls’ will be out to settle a score when they play in the final against Egypt at the World Junior Team Championship today.

The odds are, however, heavily stacked against the Malaysians.

The Egyptians are the hot favourites as they had beaten Malaysia 2-0 in the 2017 final.

In the semi-finals yesterday, Malaysia took out Hong Kong 2-0 at the National Squash Centre.

Chan Yiwen opened up the match with a resounding 11-2, 11-3, 11-0 win over Kirstie Wong.

Aifa Azman had a tougher time disposing of Chan Sin Yuk 11-2, 6-11, 14-12, 13-15, 11-9 to seal the match.

“I knew that Sin Yuk wouldn’t give up easily as she will fight for every ball,” said Aifa.

“I hurt my knees as I fell down a few times which hampered my movements. Anyway, it’s nothing serious.”

Aifa will face a daunting task as she goes up against world No. 15 Hania.

“Although I lost, I played well against Hania earlier this year when I pushed her to five sets.

“Being the first to go out on court I will have to give my all for a good start.”

National assistant head coach Andrew Cross gave credit to his players for ensuring continuity from the previous final appearance and guaranteeing at least another silver medal.

He added that Sin Yuk’s performance against Aifa was a good lesson for his girls.

“Sin Yuk really played well and even though she was 2-9 down she didn’t let any ball die and made it difficult for Aifa,” said Cross.

“So it’s a good lesson for our players before we go up against Egypt. We must make sure we stick with the Egyptian players like Sin Yuk did today and make them play the extra ball, we can cause trouble for them.”

SEMI-FINAL RESULTS

Malaysia bt Hong Kong 2-0 (Chan Yiwen bt Kirstie Wong 11-2, 11-3, 11-0; Aifa Azman bt Chan Sin Yuk 11-2, 6-11, 14-12, 13-15, 11-9).
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