Last year, Rachel stunned the defending champion and national No. 2 S. Sivasangari in the semi-finals but went down fighting to national No.1 Low Wee Wern in the title match.
The 24-year-old said there was a greater expectation to repeat last year’s run but she has taken it as a challenge to reach the final again when the action starts today at the National Squash Centre in Bukit Jalil.
“I played well last year and I aim to do the same this time as well ... I don’t want the feat to be a flash in the pan,” said Rachel, who trains under coach Ajaz Azmat.
“I’m more confident this time and I have been working on the mental and physical part of the game with my coach.
“I’ve struggled with the physical part before but I’m better prepared this time.”
“Everyone is eager to play in this first competition since everything was stopped since March due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Everyone is hungry for a victory and I think, this makes the field quite open this time.”
Rachel is aiming to use the first-round match against national junior J. Yasshmita to build her momentum.
On paper, she should not have any problem swatting aside her inexperienced opponent.
“The nerves are there, it’s normal to have that on the eve of the competition, and more so, because I’ve not played for so long,” she said.
“I will try to use my experience to get pass the first round.
“I want to use what I’ve learnt in training in this match too. I know my opponent will come strong to give me a good fight.
“I won’t take her lightly for sure but I do hope to get off to a good start.”
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