KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 7 ― For the first time ever, Malaysia are in the position to bag four titles at the British Junior Open (BJO) squash championships in Birmingham as four junior players proved their mettle to qualify for the finals.
National number two and the tournament’s top seed S. Sivasangari eliminated England’s Elise Lazarus 11-8, 11-3, 13-11 in the girls’ Under (U) -19 semifinals yesterday.
Sivasangari, who is eyeing her second title in the prestigious tournament after winning the U-15 title in 2014, will be challenged by second seed Satomi Watanabe of Japan.
Watanabe made in it to the final after defeating another English player, Lucy Turmel 11-7, 11-8, 14-16, 11-6.
Meanwhile, second seed Aifa Azman outclassed Egyptian Jana Shiha 11-7, 11-9, 11-8 in the girls’ U-17 semifinals, keeping intact her dream of winning a third title at the tournament, after having won the U-13 title in 2014 and the U-15 title in 2016.
However, she has a tough task ahead as she will up against top seed Marina Stefanoni of United States, who defeated Scotland’s Georgia Adderley 11-3, 11-6, 11-4 in the other semifinal match.
Her younger sister, Aira followed in her footsteps after upsetting the hosts’ Katie Maliff 8-11, 11-9, 6-11, 11-5, 13-11, to challenge second seed Sana Ibrahim of Egypt in the girls’ U-15 category.
It was the second consecutive upset by the 13-year-old in the tournament after eliminating top seed Nour Aboulmakarim of Egypt in the quarterfinals the day before.
Earlier, K. Sehveetrraa had secured her berth in the girls’ U-13 final, after defeating Malak Taha of Egypt 11-8, 11-5 and 11-7 in a 22-minute match, to set up a clash against Fayrouz Abouelkheir of Egypt.
However, none of the Malaysians in the boys’ category made to the finals. ― Bernama