Malaysia fancy chances against Japan due to special bond among players


On the ball: Ng Eain Yow (right) said the team’s confidence was sky high after thumping Sri Lanka 3-0 to emerge as the Group B winners.

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian men’s team are upbeat over their chances against Japan in today’s semi-finals of the Asian Team Squash Championships at the National Squash Centre in Bukit Jalil.

Malaysia’s Ng Eain Yow said the team’s confidence was sky high after thumping Sri Lanka 3-0 to emerge as the Group B winners yesterday. They had pulled off a hard-fought 2-1 win over Hong Kong on Wednesday.

In the last group match against Sri Lanka, Eain Yow only needed 17 minutes to beat Shamil Wakeel 11-7, 11-7, 11-7 while Ivan Yuen and Mohd Syafiq Kamal were equally dominant as they defeated Ravindu Laksiri 11-7, 11-9, 11-7 in 19 minutes and Shariff Hakeem 11-3, 11-4, 11-5 in just 15 minutes respectively.

Eain Yow said the win against Hong Kong was the turning point.

“The win against Hong Kong had given us the confidence and we just followed the flow against Sri Lanka. I believe our morale is good and we’re looking forward to facing Japan,” he said.

“We have a special bond, and I guess that’s the beauty of a team event. We’re all used to playing in individual events, but this is refreshing and great for us.

“I, for one, enjoy this format because you have the team around you to support you.

“The dynamics of the game are different as everyone wants to win a point for the country. It’s nice to be part of it.”

Fifth seeds Japan will be banking on Ryosei Kobayashi, Tomotaka Endo and Naoki Hayashi but on paper, second seeds Malaysia have a good chance to advance to the final.

Meanwhile, the women’s team ended their Group B campaign at the top after beating the Philippines 3-0.

Aifa Azman defeated Jemyca Aribado 11-1, 11-7, 11-8 while Chan Yiwen dismantled Aysah Dalida 11-2, 11-1, 11-3 in convincing fashion.

Youngster Noor Ainaa Amani Ampandi continued her fine form to beat Lizette Reyes 11-3, 11-6, 11-3.

The second-seeded women’s team will also face Japan in the semi-finals.

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