Hot on Ivan’s heels

Tough encounter: Ivan Yuen (front) makes a return shot during the semi-final match against Addeen Idrakie. — S.S.KANESAN/The Star

BUKIT JALIL: Defending champion Ivan Yuen has conceded that the national back-up players are hot on his heels.

In the national championships semi-finals yesterday, the 30-year-old Ivan took 50 minutes to beat Addeen Idrakie 12-10, 11-3, 11-9.

The reigning champion will take on national No. 3 Syafiq Kamal who defeated Darren Rahul Pragasm 11-9, 6-11, 11-3, 10-12, 11-8 in the final at the National Squash Centre in Bukit Jalil today.

“It might be a 3-0 win but Addeen, who is in the back-up squad, really pushed me. He has been training hard and it’s good to see younger players pushing the seniors. It’s a good sign for national team,” said the national No. 3.

“I played a good game. My shots were consistent so I’m happy heading to the final.

“I’ve yet to find my rhythm and accuracy so I’ll be banking on my experience against Syafiq, hopefully that will make the difference.”

The 24-year-old Syafiq exorcised the ghost of last year’s second round exit after spending more than an hour on court yesterday.

“I played better than yesterday and I managed to keep my discipline. I did expect this match to be tough because everyone has a 50-50 chance this time,” said Syafiq.

“I’m quite relieved to reach the final after last year’s disappointment.

“There will be less pressure on me but I can’t be too relaxed. I need to cut out on the unforced errors.”

In the women’s action, top seed Low Wee Wern will take on second seed S. Sivasangari for the title.

Wee Wern beat Rachel Arnold 11-7, 6-11, 13-11, 11-4 while Sivasangari overcame Aifa Azman 11-4, 11-13, 12-10, 8-11, 11-1.

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