Thursday October 18, 2012
Nafiizwan feels that his hard work will pay off in Macau
By KNG ZHENG GUAN
PETALING JAYA: National squash star Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan is beginning to feel the pressure of being the country’s No. 2.
But he believes his hard work will eventually pay off, starting with the Macau Open today.
The 26-year-old Nafiizwan has experienced a rather solid year so far, winning the Hibiscus Gardens Open in Brisbane in May and making the final of the Victorian Open in Melbourne in July.
The reigning Asian champion also gave creditable performances in the KL Open and Malaysian Open – reaching the quarter-finals in both tournaments.
And the Terengganu-born Nafiizwan, who was elated to become the national No. 2 following Mohd Azlan Iskandar’s retirement, is optimistic that his time will eventually come.
“I’ve been training hard since the Malaysian Open and I am ready for the Macau challenge,” said Nafiizwan.
“My performances have been generally quite good lately and this has helped boost my confidence.
“Besides, my playing style has also matured in recent times and, after a few good runs, I know it will soon be my turn to achieve some notable results.
“But I don’t want to get carried away ... in Macau, I will take it one match at a time.
“Most importantly, I do not want to put myself under too much pressure, just take it easy and let the results of my hard work in training bear fruit.”
The hard-working Nafiizwan will have a tough challenge on his hands as he faces fourth seed Tom Richards of England in the first round today.
Veteran national No. 1 Ong Beng Hee though will have an even tougher hurdle as he has to tackle top seed and world No. 4 Karim Darwish of Egypt.
In yesterday’s qualifying finals, the colourful Mohd Asyraf Azan gave his career a big boost by flying past Australia’s Steve Finitsis.
Asyraf, ranked 69th in the world, won 11-8, 11-8, 6-11, 11-9 and will meet Egypt’s Karim Abdel Gawad in the first round.
Men: Henrik Mustonen (Fin) bt Peter Creed (Wal) 11-8, 11-6, 13-11; Mohd Asyraf Azan (Mas) bt Steve Finitsis (Aus) 11-8, 11-8, 6-11, 11-9; Karim Ali Fathi (Egy) bt Mohamed Abouelghar (Egy) 11-6, 11-5, 9-11, 11-5; Omar Abdel Meguid (Egy) bt Leo Au (Hkg) 11-5, 16-14, 2-11, 11-7.