PETALING JAYA: Rachel Arnold could not have asked for a better way to make amends.
The world No. 35 squash player created the shock of the day when she knocked out Egypt’s world No. 22 Farida Mohamed 15-13, 11-6, 11-13, 11-6 to advance to the second round of the Cincinnati Gaynor Open yesterday.
The 25-year-old showed remarkable resilience after her disappointing outing in the Cleveland Classic last month, where she bowed out in the second round.
“I was a little disappointed in Cleveland with my performance. Despite that, my game’s been going well so far. It’s good to get more matches in,” she said.
“Initially, I was a bit nervous against Farida. I knew it was going to be close and I should have stayed a bit more patient at times, but in the end, I got the win, which matters.”
She will next face world No.11 Olivia Fiechter of the United States.
“She beat me when we last met in the Squash On Fire Open last year. She’s solid and tough to beat, so I will look back at my match against her and see what I can do better.”
S. Sivasangari also got off to a great start in her first Professional Squash Association (PSA) tournament of the year.
The world No. 26 was imperious in her 11-2, 11-5, 11-6 win over Egypt’s world No. 52 Menna Nasser at the Cincinnati Country Club.
The 23-year-old said it felt good to be back in the professional circuit after months playing for Cornell in the College Squash Association (CSA) competitions.
“I’ve been playing matches most weekends, so it’s great to resume play in the PSA tour and see how I’m progressing,” said Sivasangari.
“It was tricky against Menna as I’ve never played against her but I thought I handled it quite well and was happy with my performance. I was patient on court and went for shots only when I needed to. So I’m glad to take the win.”
Sivasangari will face world No. 14 and seventh seed Tesni Evans of Wales in the second round today.
“Tesni is a fighter and she’s very experienced. It’s going to be much tougher but I just want to play good squash and hopefully get the win too.”
Meanwhile, world No. 31 Aifa Azman was sent packing after she lost 7-11, 8-11, 7-11 to the US’ world No. 24 Sabrina Sobhy.