Sivasangari outplays world No. 7 Salma to book last-16 spot

PETALING JAYA: The Egyptian expedition is just getting better by the day for S. Sivasangari (pic).

The top Malaysian professional stormed into the last-16 stage of the El Gouna International by scalping world No. 7 Salma Hany of Egypt on Saturday.

Sivasangari, the world No. 20, came from a game down to outplay Salma 6-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-8 in 39 minutes at the coastal town of El Gouna to register her second win over a top 10 player in her career.

United State’s world No. 4 Amanda Sobhy, then ranked No. 8, was the first top 10 player that Sivasangari had beaten when she achieved the result in the first round of the World Championships in 2020.

It’s a better performance from Sivasangari who also made the last 16 of the World Championships in Cairo a fortnight ago where she lost to eventual semi-finalist Nour El Tayeb of Egypt.

“This is a big win for me. I definitely had a tougher draw this time but I went in with a positive mindset and the outcome was really good,” said Sivasangari.

“In the first game, I wasn’t getting my game right and was a little frustrated with the way I played. But from the second game onwards, I changed my game plan and thought I did really well to beat another top 10 player.”

Sivasangari will play Australia’s Donna Lobban next. Lobban had pulled off a 11-8, 10-12, 8-11, 11-8, 11-7 winner over American Olivia Clyne in the last 16.

“Lobban had a good win and I’ve never played her before, so it will be nice to play her for the first time,” said the 23-year-old.

“I have to really be positive and play my best squash as she’s been playing good squash too.”

It had been a good day for the Malaysian women as Rachel Arnold and Aifa Azman also advanced to the last 16.

Rachel, who lost in the first round of the World Championships, defeated Danielle Letourneau of Canada 11-5, 11-7, 12-14, 11-9 in a 39-minute second-round battle.

She will take on third seed Hania El Hammamy of Egypt in the last 16 today.

Aifa came from two games down in the second round to beat Zeina Mickawy of Egypt 7-11, 6-11, 13-11, 11-3, 11-7 in 56 minutes. She plays world No. 1 Nouran Gohar of Egypt next.

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