Monday, June 16, 2014

Nicol-powered women win 8th title, men falter in final

Nicol David returns a shot to Hong Kong's Joey Chan in the final of the Asian Team Championship.
Nicol David returns a shot to Hong Kong's Joey Chan in the final of the Asian Team Championship.

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian women stamped their mark in the region with an eighth Asian Team Championship title by beating hosts Hong Kong in the final.

World No. 1 Nicol David proved too sharp for Hong Kong’s Joey Chan by winning 11-3, 11-2, 7-11, 11-6 to hand Malaysia the 2-0 win on Tuesday.

Earlier, national No. 2 Low Wee Wern set the team on their way, thrashing Liu Tsz Ling 11-2, 11-5, 11-7.

The win meant the world to Wee Wern who faltered two years ago as Malaysia lost to Hong Kong in the semi-finals then.

“Four years ago, we had Nicol in the team and failed to win while in 2012, I was leading the team but we lost in the semi-finals. So to get the title back definitely felt great,” said Wee Wern.

“It’s a different feeling playing for the country in team events and I’m really happy to deliver the first point.

“As for my match, I’ve never really played Tsz Ling before but I’m the higher ranked player and the pressure was on me to deliver,” added the world No. 7.

Meanwhile, the men found themselves on the losing end against second seeds Pakistan.

National No. 2 Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan had given the team a dream start by beating Farhan Zaman 10-12, 11-3, 9-11, 11-6, 11-8.

But the experienced Ong Beng Hee, who had delivered crucial wins over Hong Kong’s Max Lee in the quarter-finals and India’s Saurav Ghosal in the semi-finals, lost to Nasir Iqbal 8-11, 11-8, 5-11, 7-11.

In the deciding tie, Ivan Yuen tried hard but was outclassed by Farhan Mehboob 7-11, 5-11, 6-11 as Pakistan grabbed their 14th Asian title with the 2-1 win.

“Beng Hee tried but two fantastic matches in the previous days was already more than I can ask of him. There was a gulf in class between Ivan and Farhan,” said Squash Racquets Association of Malaysia (SRAM) director of coaching Allan Soyza.

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