The biggest international event on the squash calendar – the Singapore Squash Open is back once again from 12-16 November 2019. After hosting a women’s professional event for the first time since 2011 last year, this year’s event will boast both a men’s and women’s PSA professional event, where players will battle for a combined purse of $11,000 (approx. USD 8,200) and valuable points for their PSA World Tour ranking.
This year’s men’s event will have extra glitter as it has attracted the entry of former world number 26, Nafiizwan Adnan of Malaysia. Nafiizwan, or widely known as the Komodo within the world squash fraternity, retired from professional squash at the end of last season after a historic Commonwealth Games where he beat former world number one Nick Matthew and current world number 12 Joel Makin en route to his bronze medal.
“I’m excited about the Singapore Open as this is the first time I will be playing in the event and also my first competition since I retired from professional squash. It has been a nice break from the sport, but I also miss the adrenaline of competing. I started to train for this the last few months, so it’ll be interesting to see where I stand amongst the many capable players in the draw”, said Nafiizwan when contacted.
His entry undoubtedly adds glitter to the PSA men’s event, which has Samuel Kang leading the local charge and heading the draw as the top seed. Last year’s losing finalist and runner up in the recent SGSquash Circuit 5 Robert Garcia of the Philippines is seeded second, with Nafiizwan and Singapore’s Chua Man Tong seeded joint-third.
“My goal is to win the tournament. It’ll definitely be challenging given the pool of players in the draw, but that’s what makes it fun”, Samuel said when asked what he hopes to achieve in the event.
Apart from the top four seeds, Elvinn Keo, who is seeded joint-fifth is another player to watch out for. The former world number 91 was in lethal form the previous week, taking out the top two seeds Samuel and Robert to win the SGSquash Circuit #5.
Team Singapore’s other entries include SEA Games bound player Aaron Liang who is also seeded joint-fifth, Brandon Tan, Marcus Phua, and juniors Theodore Chua, Samuel Lau, Josiah Chong and Jerome Aw.
The women’s professional event sees entries from two world top-100 players. Malaysia’s Lai Wen Li and Filipino Jemyca Aribado, ranked 81 and 91 respectively, are top two seeds. Both players are regular features in local events here and have won SGSquash Circuit titles this year – Wen Li winning the first and Jemyca
winning the third edition.
Team Singapore’s Au Yeong Wai Yhann will lead the local charge alongside SEA Games bound compatriots Sherilyn Yang and Yukino Tan, and national junior Gracia Chua.
Wai Yhann will be looking to continue her fine run on the home courts after winning two back-to-back SGSquash Circuits at the very same venue. She is seeded joint-third together with Aika Azman of Malaysia, and is drawn to face second seed Jemyca in the last four. Thailand’s top player Anantana Prasertratanakul and Malaysian trio Nazihah Hanis, Angie Ooi and Amirah Rosli complete the top eight.
With the SEA Games just around the corner, it is no surprise that the Singapore Squash Open has attracted many other top players from our neighbouring countries. The event will serve as a good platform for the participants to gauge the competition at the biennial games next month.
“It’s great to see players from so many nations participating in the Singapore Squash Open this year. While we may not have the biggest event in the region, but this clearly signals we are getting noticed internationally.
“The presence of these international players will also be an opportunity for our own players to compete out of their comfort zone ahead of the SEA Games in Manila. For the squash fans, there are bound to be some exciting matches in store for them”, said Patrick Thio, president of the Singapore Squash Rackets Association.
Apart from the PSA Closed Circuit events, there will also be five local events held in tandem. Social squash players based in Singapore will have the opportunity to fight it out with an international field of participants from 12 countries.
“Even in the non-professional events, we have attracted entries from as far as Croatia and Congo. In fact, we have received a record number of entries from 138 participants. So for the social players, it is equally as exciting for them as it is for the elite players. An international crowd competing in all levels at the Kallang Squash Centre is definitely a big welcome to showcase that our sport is thriving in Singapore.
“It is already a big squeeze trying to fit the planned tournament schedule for this year’s participants into the seven courts available at Kallang Squash Centre. We hope to work with SportSG to start planning to either grow the current Kallang facility or build a new world class one. We have aspirations and plans to grow the squash playing community in Singapore and to groom a steady pool of elite players that will do Singapore proud in the regional and hopefully world stage”, added Patrick on the possibility of the sport being in doldrums despite the encouraging response to the event.
All matches will be played at the Kallang Squash Centre, 8 Stadium Boulevard, S 397804 and entry to all matches are free of charge. For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.sgsquashopen.com
PSA = Professional Squash Association, the global governing body of the professional squash world tour.
All world ranking (unless stated) is based on October 2019, which was the basis used for seeding players in the event.