Aifa stuns Egyptian Mayar to join Rachel in second round


Aifa Azman. -filepic

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian teenager Aifa Azman produced a stunning performance to join defending champion Rachel Arnold in the second round of the Malaysian Open squash championships.

The 19-year-old, who has been on form this year, took out world No. 47 Mayar Hany of Egypt 11-8, 11-3, 11-5 at the National Squash Centre in Bukit Jalil yesterday.

It was a superb showing from the No. 69 ranked player who dominated proceedings and did not allow Hany a chance to get into the game.

It also brought Aifa’s impressive win-loss record to 12-1 this year.

“I was a little nervous in the first game because Mayar is ranked higher than me. But I knew I needed to get my rhythm together and once I did that, I just maintained the same tempo and intensity.“It definitely feels awesome to play in a big event like this and definitely a very good win.

“My target was always to score upset wins over top players and I definitely got the job done today.

“It’s definitely going to get tougher from now on but I’m definitely very excited for my next match,” said Aifa, who will face another Egyptian, third seed Yathreb Adel, for a place in the quarter-finals today.

Good start: Rachel Arnold (right) makes a return to Hong Kong’s Tong Tsz Wing during the Malaysian Squash Open at the National Squash Centre in Bukit Jalil. — GLENN GUAN/The StarGood start: Rachel Arnold (right) makes a return to Hong Kong’s Tong Tsz Wing during the Malaysian Squash Open at the National Squash Centre in Bukit Jalil. — GLENN GUAN/The Star

Rachel progressed despite dropping a game against Hong Kong’s Tong Tsz Wing. The country’s No. 2 won 11-2, 5-11, 11-9, 11-5.

Rachel, the world No. 43, will take on Australia’s Donna Lobban today in the second round.

However, there was no joy for Chan Yiwen and Ooi Kah Yan.

Yiwen found the going tough against Egypt’s Hana Ramadan as she lost 8-11, 3-11, 9-11 while Kah Yan, a late entrant following several withdrawals, lost 9-11, 6-11, 4-11 to Egyptian Menna Hamed.

Hong Kong’s world No. 59 Lee Ka Yi produced another major upset of the day when she toppled Egypt’s world No. 34 Mariam Metwally 11-7, 7-11, 11-4, 12-10.

The 27-year-old needs to produce another scintillating performance as she faces top seed and world No. 8 Salma Hany of Egypt.

In men’s event, the Malaysian trio of Syafiq Kamal, Addeen Idrakie and Darren Rahul Pragasam put up a good effort but fell short against higher ranked opponents.

National No 3. Syafiq lost 7-11, 11-6, 9-11, 3-11 to Spain’s Bernat Jaume while Addeen went down 9-11, 9-11, 11-6, 4-11 to Hong Kong’s Yip Tsz Fung.

Darren, who is making his debut, started strongly but failed to maintain the momentum, losing to India’s No. 41 Ramit Tandona 11-9, 3-11, 5-11, 2-11.

National No 2. Ivan Yuen provided some cheer winning 7-11, 11-5, 11-8, 11-3 over compatriot Ong Sai Hung and will take on national No. 1 Ng Eain Yow, who enjoyed a first-round bye.

Although there is no ticket charge, members of the public who wish to watch the event are required to take the Covid-19 RTK (rapid test kits) test at the entrance which costs RM6.

FIRST ROUND RESULTS

Men: Ryosei Kobayashi (Jpn) bt Asim Khan (Pak) 13-11, 11-6, 11-8; Shahjahan Khan (US) bt Max Lee (Hkg) 19-17, 11-8, 11-6; Tayyab Aslam (Pak) bt Henry Leung (Hkg) 11-9, 11-5, 11-8; Ivan Yuen (Mas) bt Ong Sai Hung (Mas) 7-11, 11-5, 11-8, 11-3; Yip Tsz Fung (Hkg) bt Addeen Idrakie (Mas) 11-9, 11-9, 6-11, 11-4; Ramit Tandon (Ind) bt Darren Rahul Pragasam (Mas) 9-11, 11-3, 11-5, 11-2; Bernat Jaume (Spa) bt Syafiq Kamal (Mas) 11-7, 6-11, 11-9, 11-3; Mazen Gamal (Egy) bt Todd Harrity (US) 4-11, 12-10, 11-8, 11-7.

Women: Lee Ka Yi (Hkg) bt Mariam Metwally (Egy) 11-7, 7-11, 11-4, 12-10; Rachel Arnold (Mas) bt Tong Tsz Wing (Hkg) 11-2, 5-11, 11-9, 11-5; Ho Tsz Lok (Hkg) bt Tessa ter Sluis (Ned) 9-11, 11-2, 11-5, 11-4; Menna Hamed (Egy) bt Chan Kah Yan (Mas) 11-9, 11-6, 11-4; Aifa Azman (Mas) bt Mayar Hany (Egy) 11-8, 11-3, 11-5; Hana Ramadan (Egy) bt Chan Yiwen (Mas) 11-8, 11-3, 11-9; Anna Serme (Cze) bt Liu Tsz Ling (Hkg) 6-11, 11-8, 7-11, 11-3, 11-8; Nada Abbass (Egy) bt Menna Nasser (Egy) 4-1, rtd.

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