KUALA LUMPUR – The first day of the 2019 CIMB Foundation WSF World Junior Squash Championships got off to an explosive start with several five-setters to set the pace.
On the Malaysian front, all but two players – Adam Agan Aziz and Darry Gan – received a first round.
And both Adam and Darryl served up exciting displays at the National Squash Centre, Bukit Jalil on Tuesday albeit contrasting results.
Adam, competing in his first major event, recovered from a horrible start where he trailed 6-0 in the first game to overcome Hong Kong’s Lap Au 11-8, 11-6, 11-8.
It is a fine start for the Melakan who earned his slot in the world juniors after eliminating Hafiz Zhafri in the selection trials.
“Its my first world juniors and I was feeling very nervous and I made a lot of mistakes which gave my opponent a 6-0 lead to start,” admitted Adam.
“But after that I grew calmer and I managed to execute my game plan to apply more pressure on him.
“I’m pleased to get off to a fine winning start because I really wanted to do well in my first major competition.
“Now I need to ensure that I do not start nervously in the second round. I need to stay calm and play a thinking game with better shot selections if I hope to go further. Hopefully, luck is on my side too.”
Adam’s next opponent will be a tough one in joint fifth-eighth seed Yehia Elnawasany of Egypt.
Meanwhile Darryl blew a matchball opportunity as he went down in five games to Hong Kong’s To Wai Lok.
The Selangor boy was leading 2-1 and was 10-9 up in the fourth but crumbled under pressure to allow Wai Lok to take the game 12-10 and force a deciding rubber.
And the Hong Kong boy duly went on to take the win 11-5, 9-11, 4-11, 12-10, 11-8 after 65 minutes.
Other exciting matches for the boys includes another Hong Kong matchup with Wong King Yeung fighting back from 2-1 down to beat Colombia’s Nicolas Serna 11-7, 5-11, 8-11, 11-9, 11-9.
Another five-setter saw South Korea’s Kim Seok-jin come from two games down to beat Switzerland’s Miguel Mathis 9-11, 9-11, 11-8, 12-10, 11-5 while Australia’s Gregory Chan and New Zealand’s Willz Donnelly both came through in rubber games as well.
There were also several gruelling matches for the girls with one of the best matches being South Africa’s Taryn Emslie who saved a match ball against New Zealand’s Sophie Hodges for a turnaround 9-11, 4-11, 12-10, 11-6, 11-9 win in 34 minutes.
Australia’s Erin Classen also came through in five, beating South Africa’s Faith Panashe Sithole 11-3, 12-10, 8-11, 6-11, 11-8 to set up a second round clash with England’s joint fifth-eighth seed Elise Lazarus.
In the longest girls’ match of the day, Czech Republic’s Tereza Siroka downed New Zealand’s Natalie Sayes 12-10, 11-6, 6-11, 7-11, 12-10 to set up a second round clash with Malaysia’s Ainaa Amani Ampandi.
The second round of matches will start from 11am on Wednesday.