Friday January 4, 2013
Syafiq shows nerves of steel to reach third round in Sheffield
PETALING JAYA: Top Under-17 junior Mohd Syafiq Kamal held his nerves to book a spot in the third round of the British Junior Open squash championships in Sheffield.
The talented 16-year-old from Kelantan powered past American Jordan Brail 11-7, 11-7, 5-11, 11-7 yesterday. A day earlier, the soft-spoken Syafiq overcame England’s Cillian Duanne 10-12, 11-3, 11-1, 11-8 in the first round.
It was an excellent result for Syafiq, who has now achieved his own minimum target of making the last 16.
Syafiq, however, feels that he needs to do better in the next round as he will be up against joint fifth-eighth seed Abdel Zaher of Egypt.
“It was a tough match against Jordan and I’m happy to win 3-1. But it wasn’t my best performance ... I’m not happy at all with the way I played,” said Syafiq.
“Perhaps it’s because my opponent is the type of player who makes you lose concentration, which I did, and that’s how I dropped a set.
“My next opponent will be much tougher.
“I definitely need to do my best to win a spot in the quarter-finals.”
Syafiq is the sole survivor in the Under-17 category after Darren Chan and Al Nikc Ally crashed out in the second round.
Darren, who scored a good 9-11, 11-5, 11-8, 11-6 win over Belgium’s Tiago Goriely in the first round, failed to keep up with joint fifth-eighth seed George Parker of England and lost 3-1.
Al Nikc, who squeezed past local hopeful Ben Windle in the first round, went down in five sets to yet another English lad – James Peach.
Meanwhile Jesse Foo, who upset India’s joint 17th-32nd seed Aryaman Andik in the first round of the Under-15 event, failed to join top seed and compatriot Ng Eain Yow in the third round after losing an epic five setter to Egypt’s Ziad Sakr, last year’s Under-13 champion.
In Under-19, Sanjay Singh Chal cleared his first hurdle by beating England’s Scott Young 11-4, 12-10, 11-3 before going down 10-12, 5-11, 11-6, 11-6, 9-11 to Kuwait’s Youseff Saleh in the second round.
In the girls’ event, Penang Junior Open champion Teh Min Jie made the third round of the Under-17 category by first beating Wales’ Lowri Roberts before stunning local favourite Kip Quiney 11-4, 11-2, 11-5 in the next round.
Rachel Arnold, who received a first round bye, also made the last 16 after crushing Canada’s Sophie Mehta 11-7, 11-4, 11-3.