KUALA LUMPUR, July 29 — Low Wee Wern continues her remarkable comeback from injury this time winning the Tasmanian Open, Australia by beating hometown favourite Rachel Grinham 11-6, 11-7, 12-10.
The Penangite, fresh from an incredible maiden Malaysian Open victory last Sunday, where she had to play six matches — including qualifiers — against players active on tour and ranked way higher than her 254, is proving why she’s a force to be reckoned with as she charts her comeback into the sport she so dearly loves.
After dismantling Selena Shaikh in the qualifiers 11-8, 11-3, 11-4, Wee Wern who celebrated her 27th birthday on July 25th, met Satomi Watanabe whom she beat in the Malaysian Open finals, in the first round and once again managed a 11-6, 11-9, 7-11, 11-7 win. In the quarterfinals she beat compatriot Lai Wen Li 12-10, 11-7, 11-6 then in the semifinals eliminated Hana Ramadan 8-11, 11-4, 11-5, 11-8.
Rachel Grinham ranked 29 is a legend in the sport and it was always going to be tricky against the former world No 1 from Australia.
“The scoreline suggests it was easy but it was anything but,” said Wee Wern when contacted.
“I wasn’t sure how I would perform before I came here as i wasn’t sure how my knee would react having to play another five or six matches in a row. My game’s not back where I want it to be but the fact my knees holding up is great news.
“I don’t have the funding to travel with a physio so I have to look after my knee my self. I’ve now got an entry into the Australian Open anf I have to take it.
“With my rankings so low I can’t be choosy. I need to get more tournaments to get my rankings up.”
The Professional Squash Association (PSA) Tour are doing away with qualifiers starting August 1 which means those ranked in the hundreds will struggle to make it in to the main draw at big events.
Wee Wern was ranked 5 in the world before realizing her Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) in her left knee was torn. It was 2015. Since then she’s needed three surgeries and has been out of the game for 20 months. Upon returning to competitive play in July, she desperately wanted to represent Malaysia at the Asian Games in Indonesia for the singles event where she’s the defending silver medalist.
Squash Racquets Association of Malaysia (SRAM) set the criteria for selections for Asian Games to be based on the results of the National Championships from 4-8 July. Wee Wern couldn’t get any warm up matches or competitions before hand as she wasn’t allowed to play because her knee was deemed not fully healed by the National Sports Institute’s (NSI) medical team.
Despite that she still managed to make the finals and stretched S. Sivasangari the hottest player in Malaysia at the moment to five sets before losing.
Ever the fighter, Wee Wern regrouped and about a week later at the Malaysia Open she beat Sangari in straight sets in the semifinals then took out Satomi Watanabe in the finals for a remarkable comeback.
News of her exploits are circulating around the globe as Wee Wern’s fast becoming an inspiration to many injured athletes looking to make a comeback. However the Penangite has her head firmly in the ground as she aims to be the world’s No 1 player and fulfill her dream of winning a World Championships title.
“Well it’s good that I got my PSA career back on track since I’m missing out on the Asian Games,” said Wee Wern.
“I feel great and my game is getting better each match I play. it’s a shame I won’t be able to play the singles in Indonesia but I will give it my all for the team event.
“I’ve got a chance to play in the Australian Open from 1-5 August and I’ll be heading to Melbourne tomorrow. I’m enjoying my game but the hard work continues as I always set myself high goals.”
Nicol David is the defending singles champion and Malaysia are defending team champions at the Asian Games jointly held in Jakarta and Palembang, Indonesia from August 18 till September 2.