A mouth-watering final is in store in both the men’s and women’s open of the 2019 Singapore Squash Open in Kallang Squash Centre tomorrow. While the men’s open event has been littered with upsets from the first day, the women’s open final will be contested by the top two seeds.
The popular Elvinn Keo today upset the form books to edge compatriot Nafiizwan Adnan in five games and will take on the giant-killing Korean Lee Seung Taek, who beat fellow joint-ninth seed Reymark Bergonia with relative ease.
Nafiizwan, the Commonwealth Games bronze medallist last year who has since retired from professional squash, showed he was still a force to be reckoned with despite not having been in training as he stretched Elvinn to the wire.
However, will be kicking himself for a slow start once again as he allowed Elvinn to get into a 2-0 lead in two very short games – 5 minutes and 6 minutes. In both games, Elvinn had strung a series of 8 and 6 consecutive points to close out the games.He fared a lot better in the next two, winning both of them to draw level. But the effort put in the last two games plus the tough game the previous day against Aaron Liang took its toll on the 33-year old, as he lost the final game 11-8.
“I had fun today, I enjoyed myself. These days, it’s not so much about winning anymore. I know I’m not in my 100% shape, so I know my limits. I feel good that my presence here has brought people from all walks of life to come watch the game that we love. I am glad I am able to contribute to that”, said Nafiizwan.
Elvinn, meanwhile, is looking forward to his next match against Lee Seung Taek. He feels that they both have a somewhat similar game.
“I think we play a similar game. He’s taking the ball very early, he’s cutting off a lot. He looks pretty fast too and hopefully, I will be able to come up with a game plan tomorrow. It’s going to be a real tough match and I am going to try to keep my head and stay focussed in the game”, Elvinn said when asked to comment on his match tomorrow.
In an earlier match, Lee Seung Taek continued to impress as he took out Filipino Reymark Begornia without much trouble.
Singapore’s interest in the event ended as Au Yeong Wai Yhann was beaten by arch-rival Jemyca Aribado of Philippines. The duo, who was meeting for the third time this year on this court alone, came in with a 1-1 record.
After a very slow start yesterday against the Malaysian junior, Jemyca made sure she did not repeat that today. She came in firing and at one point, held a 4-point cushion at 9-5 in the first game. Despite a comeback from Wai Yhann to draw level at 9-9, she manages to close it out 11-9.
In the second, she came on even stronger, winning 9 straight points to build a mammoth lead and never looked back. She went on to win 11-2 and looked good to wrap it up in the third. But Wai Yhann had other ideas and bounced back to take the third 11-8.
Wai Yhann would be very disappointed not to have stretched this to the wire, as she let slip four game balls from a 10-7 lead in the fourth, and allowed Jemyca to take 5 points in a row for the win.
“My lengths just did not really come in the way I wanted them to. Jemyca was very aggressive from the start and a big congrats to her. But generally, I’m still quite pleased with how I did here. I have been working a lot on my short game with (coach) Timothy, so I have been trying to put them into practice in this tournament”, said Wai Yhann on her overall performance in the tournament.
“We have been playing for many times, so I think we both have an idea of how to play each other. It really just depends on who is more dominant. But today, I think I did well in the deep and wide department”, said Jemyca on her match today.
Top seed Lai Wen Li awaits Jemyca, after the Sabah lass came back from a game down to oust Aika Azman. The pair, who often train together back home, naturally are well aware of each other’s strengths and weaknesses, which explains the duration of the match of just under an hour.
“I played pretty scrappy in the first two games. I think I was a little nervous and I found myself whacking the ball all over. But I found my rhythm in the third and fourth and definitely played better.
I hope I will start a lot stronger tomorrow in the final”, Wen Li said.
Lee Seung Taek [9/16] (KOR) bt Reymark Begornia [9/16] (PHI) 3-0, 11-5, 11-4 11-7
Elvinn Keo [5/8] (MAS) bt Nafiizwan Adnan [3/4] (MAS) 3-2, 11-6, 11-4, 7-11, 9-11, 11-8
Lai Wen Li  (MAS) bt Aika Azman [3/4] (MAS) 3-1, 9-11, 11-8, 11-6, 11-7
Jemyca Aribado  (PHI) bt Au Yeong Wai Yhann [3/4] (SIN) 3-1, 11-9, 11-2, 8-11, 12-10
Finals – to be played 16 Nov
Lee Seung Taek [9/16] (KOR) vs Elvinn Keo [5/8] (MAS)
Lai Wen Li  (MAS) vs Jemyca Aribado  (PHI)
For a full set of results, fixtures and draws, please click here