Friday August 31, 2012
Vanessa to play willing student in last-eight match with Siti
By KNG ZHENG GUAN
KUALA LUMPUR: Junior player Vanessa Raj is looking forward to another learning experience when she faces national No. 4 Siti Munirah Jusoh in the quarter-finals of the TC National Championships at the National Squash Centre in Bukit Jalil today.
The 16-year-old Penangite is the top girls’ junior, having won the Under-19 title of the National Junior Circuit Grand Finals in May, beating closest rival Rachel Arnold.
She has also performed admirably against older opponents on the international stage – reaching the semi-finals of the Penang Junior Open in June and the final of the Hong Kong Junior Open earlier this month.
On Wednesday, the Form Four student from St George’s Girls School showed her potential by cruising past BJSS’ Teh Min Jie 11-1, 11-9, 11-8 in the qualifying round of the premier division to set up a last eight clash with Siti.
“I’m really happy with my performance but there are still a lot of areas to improve on, primarily my fitness.
“I also need to work on my technical side so as to control my matches,” said Vanessa.
“It will be fun going up against Siti because she’s been around for a long time and has lots of experience. I am looking forward to playing her.
“I played against her once in the senior circuit this year, in the NSC Series No. 2 in January. Although I lost, it was a close third set and a great learning experience.
“It won’t be easy this time but I’m more confident now and I want to give her a good fight and try to steal a set, or maybe two, off her.”
National No. 2 and top seed Low Wee Wern should get past Rachel in the last eight and set up a semi-final clash against either Siti or Vanessa.
Wee Wern, who is the favourite to win the title in the absence of world No. 1 Nicol David, is expected to face Delia Arnold in the final.
In the men’s event, top seed Ong Beng Hee has the chance to win his first national title following the absence of national No. 1 Mohd Azlan Iskandar.
Beng Hee faces Penang’s Aaron Soyza for a place in the last four.
The 32-year-old Beng Hee has lost in three finals – to Kenneth Low in 1997 and to Azlan in 2010 and last year.
The other matches will see Kamran Khan taking on Mohd Asyraf Azan and Ivan Yuen up against junior Sanjay Singh Chal.