KUALA LUMPUR, April 3 — For national women’s squash player, S.Sivasangari, it is

her mantra of keeping calm and seizing the moment that sparked her remarkable triumph in the inaugural London Squash Classic 2024 tournament, Monday.

The current world number 13 Sivasangari rocked the squash world as she defied the odds by beating three top four players including a thrilling win against world number two from Egypt, Hania El Hammamy 11-9, 5-11, 13-11, 12-14, 11-8 in the final in Alexandra Palace, London.

The Asian Games reigning champion attributed her recent success to maintaining composure and enjoying the game without succumbing to pressure to secure her maiden Gold-tier Professional Squash Association (PSA) World Tour title.

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“For me, I just want to forget about all that and just enjoy what I do. I think I play my best squash when I’m relaxed, so I hope to continue these form and mentality in upcoming tournaments too.

“I’ve always wanted to challenge these top players and try to beat them, so to be doing it in this tournament, definitely feels amazing,” she told Bernama when contacted.

In her journey to the final, Sivasangari ‘slayed’ world number one Nour El Sherbini of Egypt in the last eight, 11-9, 11-9 followed by semi-finals win over world number four Nele Gilis as she came from behind to oust the Belgian, 10-12, 11-7, 11-8, 10-12, 11-9.

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She pocketed the prize money of US$17,598 (RM83,141) from the London meet.

Her phenomenal feat in the London Squash Classic marked Sivasangari as the first Malaysian player to clinch a Gold-level PSA World Tour title since national squash legend Datuk Nicol David’s victory in the Hong Kong Open 2015.

Sivasangari said the famous London glory had boosted her confidence significantly as she aims to become the world’s best, with the ultimate goal of contributing a gold medal for the country in the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

Drawing inspiration from her exceptional performance in London, the 25-year-old vowed to continue striving for more successes in the future and eyes to break into the top 10 world rankings by the end of the season.

Asked how she managed to keep herself motivated from a life-threatening car accident in June 2022, the Kedahan said she had done a lot of sacrifices to recover from such torments and be back doing what she loves again.

“I’ve been playing squash since I was eight and have been doing a lot of sacrifices since then.

“The car crash was definitely tough for me to comeback mentally, but I always took it day by day and tried to do all I can to get myself back up to this level again,” she said.

Having sustained severe head injuries from the accident, which forced her out of the sport for over six months, including missing the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England, Sivasangari made a return to the court in January last year.

Currently taking a few days off in Spain, she is gearing up to compete in the El Gouna International Squash Open in Cairo from April 19-26, followed by the 2023-2024 PSA World Championships, also in Cairo from May 9-17. — Bernama