MALAYSIA’s campaign in the squash individual competition may have ended in the last eight but Ng Eain Yow and Rachel Arnold are determined to bounce back in the doubles which starts today.
Eain Yow had a gripping battle against second seed Joel Makin in what proved to be the longest match of the tournament as the Welshman secured a 11-4, 9-11, 11-3, 11-9 win in 98 minutes at the University of Birmingham Squash and Hockey Centre on Monday.
Makin has been one of the most improved players on the professional circuit this year and Eain Yow’s performance was heartwarming despite the defeat.
Team manager Major (rtd) S. Maniam was pleased with the way Eain Yow responded against the world No. 7 Makin.
“It was evenly matched – except that Makin was a bit better when it came to holding on to rallies and keeping his error rate low,” said Maniam.
“Yow took the second game by playing more attacking shots and led in the fourth game but could not capitalise on it.
“He lost a brutal match and is obviously disappointed but Yow and others will be charged up for the doubles.”
Rachel, who upset 2018 bronze medallist Tesni Evans of Wales in the last 16, was also looking for another prized scalp but England’s world No. 7 Georgina Kennedy gave no chance for the Malaysian to make any inroads.
Kennedy wrapped up the match convincingly at 11-4, 11-2, 11-1 in just 17 minutes.
“Rachel was no match for Gina. However, it was a good learning experience and a chance to understand the standard and pace of a top 10 player,” added Maniam after her game.
The doubles gets under way today and Maniam said it was hard to predict the results based on the draw as the form of certain seeded pairs were virtually unknown.
“Doubles is a very difficult game to judge because we don’t have enough tournaments and it’s hard to gauge the form of the pairs who are competing here.
“Two players who are good individually may not gel as a pair, so it’s hard to say,” concluded Maniam.
The women’s doubles, which begins tomorrow, is where Malaysia may have an outside chance of ending the Birmingham campaign on a high by finishing on the podium.
Joint fifth seeds Rachel and Aifa Azman face a tricky quarter-final clash against joint third seeds Rachael Grinham-Donna Lobban of Australia and a win could see them playing second seeds Alison Waters-Sarah-Jane Perry of England in the semis.
Grinham, who has won eight medals at the Commonwealth Games, comes with plenty of reputation but it remains to be seen if the 45-year-old is feared by the much younger players.
Debutants Chan Yiwen-Noor Ainaa Amani Ampandi have a tough first-round match against Canadian pair Hollie Naughton-Nicole Bunyan.
Eain Yow-Ivan Yuen’s passage looks smooth until the semi-finals where they could play top seeds James Wilstrop-Declan James of England or Australians Cameron Pilley-Rhys Dowling.
Second pair Syafiq Kamal-Ong Sai Hung have a tough second-round match against Adrian Waller-Daryl Selby of England.
Mixed doubles Addeen Idrakie-Ainaa should overcome Shomari Wiltshire-Mary Fung-A-Fat of Guyana in their opener today before a tough clash against Welsh pair Joel Makin-Tesni Evans.