Wednesday March 13, 2013
Rachel downs Siti to score biggest win of her career
By KNG ZHENG GUAN
KUALA LUMPUR: Budding junior squash player Rachel Arnold (pic) scored the biggest win of her career after beating national No. 4 Siti Munirah Jusoh in the first round of the NSC Series No. 1 at the National Squash Centre in Bukit Jalil yesterday.
The 16-year-old Rachel, younger sister of national No. 3 Delia, was completely in control against the more experienced Siti, seeded second, to score a sensational 12-10, 11-5, 12-10 win.
It was a well deserved win for the world No. 115 Rachel as she showed great composure and focus to rattle Siti, ranked No. 44 in the world.
The win also proved to be sweet revenge for the Bukit Jalil Sports School student who lost to Siti in the quarter-finals of the Penang Open last October.
“To be honest, I never expected to win. But I’m really happy because it was a very tough match,” said a delighted Rachel.
“I was really focused today and the strategy to keep sending the ball to the back and playing the longer rallies paid off.
“Right now I’m feeling good and confident and I’m hoping that this form will carry on a little longer.”
Rachel’s reward for an excellent showing will be a clash against seventh seed Zulhijjah Azan in the quarter-finals. Zulhijjah thrashed fellow Malaysian, P. Pushppa Devi 11-1, 11-3, 11-0 in her first round match.
“It will be another tough challenge, taking on Zulhijjah, but I believe that I have a chance,” said Rachel.
Fellow teenager Vanessa Raj also produced a top display as she easily downed Australia’s Jessica Turnbull 11-6, 11-4, 11-3. She will face another Aussie – third seed Lisa Camileri for a place in the semi-finals.
In the men’s event, top seed Ivan Yuen kept up his bid for a second Professional Squash Association (PSA) title after beating compatriot Mohd Hannan Tarmidi 11-7, 11-7, 11-9 in the second round.
He will take on India’s Ravi Dixit, who came back from 2-1 down to beat Malaysian youngster Mohd Addeen Idrakie in five sets, next.
Fourth seed Malaysia’s Elvinn Keo also made the quarter-finals after beating Hong Kong’s Cheuk Yan Tang 11-3, 11-7, 11-7.