The 2019 Singapore Squash Open kicked off today at the Kallang Squash Centre with a major upset in the men’s open event. Singapore’s joint-third seed Chua Man Tong was shown the exit by Indonesia’s Satria Bagus Laksana in the second round of 32.
Man Tong, world ranked 244, had received a bye in the opening round while Satria took out Singaporean national junior Josiah Chong in straight games. The result is certainly not good for the confidence of the 25-year old SEA Games-bound Man Tong, who has now lost in the opening round of his last four PSA Tour events.
Top two seeds of the event, home favourite Samuel Kang and Philippines’ Robert Garcia safely made it through in contrasting fashion. While Samuel had to battle back from a game down against Indonesia’s Agung Wilant, Robert eased past Pakistan’s Muhammad Sami Ullah.
Samuel will be joined by compatriot Aaron Liang in the next round as the joint-ninth seed won comfortably against Australia’s Matt Tench.
World Men’s Team-bound Brandon Tan and Edward Thng, also lost, but in the second round. Brandon failed to capitalise on an opening game lead to fall to Malaysian Mohd Farez Iswan, the world number 290.
Edward Thng, the left-handed promising junior, struggled against Thailand’s Chattaporn Juntanayingyong in the opening round, twice having to come back from 0-1 and 1-2 down before strolling through the final two games to set himself up against former world number 26 Nafiizwan Adnan of Malaysia. Nafiizwan, a bronze medallist at the Commonwealth Games last year, was however, a class above and won in three games.
“I think Edward was a bit tired from his long match in the morning. I think he is a good player, but doesn’t think through properly and crafts his rallies. He has quick feet and can reach the front pretty quick. I think if he can use this to his advantage a little smarter, he could be more dangerous”, Nafiizwan said of his young opponent today.
As for Edward, it must not have been easy playing someone heads and shoulders over him. Even with the squash aside, it must’ve been an overwhelming experience, but one that he said he enjoyed.
“It was a great experience, especially against someone so skilled and experienced like him. He showed great skill at putting the ball away in the mid-court area, and that is something for me to take away. Overall, it was a great experience and I hope to build on it”, said Edward later.
Crowd favourite and winner of the SGSquash Circuit #5 Elvinn Keo also did not have an easy day in the office as he was stretched to four games by Korea’s Hwang Joong Chan. Ranked a lowly 610 in the world, the Korean pulled one game back after being 2-0 down to force Elvinn to up his game and win the fourth.
In other upsets of the day, a pair of joint-ninth seeds were shown the door when Ng Jo Wen edged Malaysian compatriot Hafiz Zhafri in five games, and Singapore-based Alex Crouch ousting Lim Kai Zhen in four.
There were only two women’s open matches today, with one featuring top national junior Gracia Chua. The 13-year old student played well beyond her age as she took out Thailand’s Tuddaw Thamronglarp in straight games.
“I feel I could’ve played a little better as I made a little too many mistakes and my movement felt very stiff. However, I enjoyed the match and experience very much as it gave me the chance to practice moving my opponents with the boast”, said Gracia when asked how her experience was.
The only other women’s open match saw Malaysian Yasshimita Jadishkumar trounce Thailand’s Phanghatai Phongrattana for the loss of just 10 points.
For a full set of results, fixtures and draws, please click here