PETALING JAYA: Young squash player Aifa Azman (pic) put up a great fight to shock world No. 20 Lucy Turmel to qualify for the Manchester Open quarter-finals.
The world No. 29 beat the English player 6-11, 6-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-8 in 50 minutes in the second round at the National Squash Centre in Manchester, England, on Thursday.
Turmel started the better of the two in the opening two games, hitting clean drives to the back of the court, but in the last three sets, Aifa had the upper hand.
“I started really slowly in that match. But I’m overall happy that I managed to get back to the game plan and get over the line,” said Aifa, who will next face New Zealand’s world No. 2 Joelle King.
The Kiwi player beat Egypt’s Sana Ibrahim 11-4, 11-9, 2-11, 11-9 and King knows what to expect from Aifa.
“We watch all these youngsters coming up the ladder. Aifa Azman won a bronze event not so long ago and beat several top 10 players. I played her earlier this year in Washington and I got the win there but tomorrow is another day. They’re all hungry, nipping at our heels, and I am sure she will be a tough opponent,” said King.
Another Malaysian Ng Eain Yow also booked a spot in the quarter-final by beating Egyptian world No.31 Moustafa El Sirty 11-7, 11-6, 11-7 in 35 minutes.
Eain Yow, ranked 20th in the world, will next face Egypt’s world No. 3 Mohd El-Shorbagy in the quarter-finals.
“I thought I did well to keep my focus and concentration today. There were always going to be contact and decisions but I felt like I was moving well and didn’t get involved in any situations.
“I had to keep the ball pretty tight to the wall and keep him out of the middle.
“He’s so dangerous around the middle of the court, so I just tried to play accurate squash and that was what I did today.
“I’ve played Mohamed quite a lot and trained many times with him, so I know what to expect, but I’ll just recover the best I can and be ready for whoever it is.”
Mohamed ElShorbagy (Egy) bt Victor Crouin (Fra), 6-11, 11-3, 14-12, 11-6, Ng Eain Yow (Mas) bt Moustafa El Sirty (Egy) 11-7, 11-6, 11-7, Mathieu Castagnet (Fra) bt Saurav Ghosal (Ind) 11-9, 11-5, 11-8, Karim Abdel Gawad (Egy) bt Shahjahan Khan (Usa) 11-4, 11-7, 12-10, Youssef Soliman (Egy) bt Leonel Cardenas (Mex) 11-9, 11-5, 11-1, Joel Makin (Wal) bt George Parker (Eng) 11-6, 11-2, 11-8, Raphael Kandra (Ger) bt Lucas Serme (Fra) 11-8, 11-9, 11-9, Patrick Rooney (Eng) bt Marwan ElShorbagy (Egy) 13-11, 4-11, 8-11, 11-7, 11-9.
Joelle King (Nzl) bt Sana Ibrahim (Egy) 11-4, 11-9, 2-11, 11-9, Aifa Azman (Mas) bt Lucy Turmel (Eng) 6-11, 6-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-8 (50m), Emily Whitlock (Wal) bt Emilia Soini (Fin) 11-7, 11-6, 8-11, 11-9, Nele Gilis (Bel) bt Hana Ramadan (Egy) 14-12, 11-7, 11-7, Georgina Kennedy (Eng) bt Tze Lok Ho (Hkg) 11-9, 11-3, 11-9, Tesni Evans (Wal) bt Marie Stephan (Fra) 11-4, 11-0, 11-5, Jasmine Hutton (Eng) bt Nadine Shahin (Egy) 3-1: 8-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-6, Sarah-Jane Perry (Eng) bt Yathreb Adel (Egy) 6-11, 11-8, 12-10, 11-8.