It’s all up to Yiwen to stop Aira from winning a double


FEDERAL Territories’ Chan Yiwen (pic) is the only player capable of stopping Kedah from winning a squash double when she takes on Aira Azman in the women’s individual final at the National Sports Council courts today.

Yiwen will be hoping that lightning does not strike twice as it was Aira’s sister, Aifa, who denied her the gold in the final at the last Games in Perak four years ago.

In yesterday’s semi-finals, Yiwen received a walkover from teammate Ainaa Amani Ampandi who retired with a shin injury while trailing 8-1 in the first game.

Aira, meanwhile, was taken to the distance by Sabah’s Lai Wen Li before securing a 8-11, 11-13, 11-8, 11-9, 11-2 win in 49 minutes.

The men’s final will be an all-Kedah affair as Ong Sai Hung and Hafiz Zhafri Abdul Harif overcame their Negri Sembilan opponents convincingly.

Hafiz defeated top seed Darren Rahul Pragasam 15-13, 11-8, 11-6 while second seed Sai Hung overcame Sanjay Jeeva 11-9, 11-9, 11-8 in the last four.

Yiwen, who lost in five games to Aira in the second round of the Tunku Muhriz Trophy in July, is expecting another tough encounter.

“In 2018, I lost to Aifa and now I’m playing Aira. It will be another close match,” said Yiwen.

“I have beaten her previously, however, there will be a bit of pressure on me as a senior.

“It depends on who can rise to the occasion. I hope the experience gained at the Commonwealth Games (in Birmingham last month) will help my cause.”

Yiwen lost in the preliminaries in Birmingham but she and Ainaa went all the way to the semi-finals of the doubles where they lost to compatriots Aifa-Rachel Arnold in the bronze medal playoff.

Ainaa is currently undergoing treatment for her injury and it remains to be seen if she can partner Yiwen tomorrow.

In mixed doubles, Sarawak were confirmed of the gold after Harith Danial-Nathalie Sin and Nathan Kueh-Ma Si Yi secured their final spots yesterday.

Harith-Nathalie beat Selangor’s S. Sunil Kumar-Shasmithaa 11-5, 11-3 while Nathan-Si Yi overcame Negri Sembilan’s C. Ameeshenraj-Nur Maisara Azlan Shah 11-8, 11-5.

Individual

Men: Hafiz Zhafri Abdul Harif (Ked) bt Darren Rahul Pragasam (NS) 15-13, 11-8, 11-6; Ong Sai Hung (Ked) bt Sanjay Jeeva (NS) 11-9, 11-9, 11-8 in the last four.

Women: Aira Azman (Ked) bt Lai Wen Li (Sab) 8-11, 11-13, 11-8, 11-9, 11-2; Chan Yiwen (FT) bt Ainaa Amani Ampandi (FT) 8-1 rtd.

Mixed doubles: Harith Danial-Nathalie Sin (Sar) bt S. Sunil Kumar-Shasmithaa (Sel) 11-5, 11-3; Nathan Kueh Ma Si Yi (Sar) bt C. Ameeshenraj-Nur Maisara Azlan Shah (Nse) 11-8, 11-5.

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