Eain Yow breaks sweat to clear first hurdle in Doha

Tough fight: Ng Eain Yow beat Egyptian Karim El Hammamy 8-11,11-2,11-6,11-5 in the first round of the Qatar Classic in Doha.

PETALING JAYA: National No. 1 Ng Eain Yow is making full use of the opportunity to escape the Covid-19 shutdown hitting the squash scene in most parts of the world.

The world No. 30 is lucky to be bashing away in the Qatar Classic in Doha on Sunday but had to stage a fightback from a game down to beat Egyptian Karim El Hammamy 8-11,11-2,11-6,11-5 in the first round.

Eain Yow made the decision to leave Malaysia and return to his training base in Bristol, England, in early October.

Eain Yow then managed to secure an entry to the Qatar meet which is also his first Professional Squash Association (PSA) Tour competition in eight months.

The 22-year-old last competed in the Canary Wharf Classic in London back in March before the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted the PSA Tour for a lengthy period.

Like other professional sports, the players who have entered for the event must go through strict health and safety procedures before being allowed to play in the signature event of the PSA Tour.

Eain Yow, seeded joint 17th-32nd, will face world No. 23 Declan James of England in the second round today.

Gregory Gaultier of France, the 2011 Qatar Classic winner, also got off to a winning start on the opening day after beating Spain’s Iker Pajares Bernabeu 10-12,11-3,11-9,11-8.

The former world No.1 lost to Bernabeu when they met in December at the WSF Men’s World Team Squash Championship. It was Gaultier’s first tournament back following a 14-month hiatus due to a knee injury.

Gaultier has been handed a wildcard for this tournament after his ranking dropped to 56.

Gaultier will play CIB PSA World Tour Finals winner Marwan El Shorbagy of Egypt in the next round in what will be their first PSA meeting since 2017.

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