KUALA LUMPUR: – There’s no mistaking the big smile on Rachel Arnold’s face after she stormed into the final of the Ohana National Squash Championships.
The world No. 46 has been bugged by inconsistency for the large parts of the year.
But she was on the mark as she hit the big points in sending defending champion S. Sivasangari packing in the semi-finals at the National Squash Centre, Bukit Jalil on Saturday.
It was a fine 11-9, 7-11, 15-13, 11-13, 11-3 win for Rachel as she scored her first win over Sivasangari in a long time.
The first two games was a split affair with Rachel having a stronger start while the USbased Sivasangari turning the tables in the second game.
Rachel appeared to have gained the momentum after taking a key third game but shecouldn’t capitalise and let slip a few match ball opportunities in the fourth game.
But instead of bowing over, the joint third-fourth seed came out blazing in the decidingrubber before sealing the win in just under an hour.
“I’ve been playing well recently so my confidence was there but Sivasangari has always beaten me and she’s always given me a good battle,” said Rachel.
“I really wanted to close it out in the fourth but I lost a bit of focus there so I’m glad I got itback in the end.
“Obviously I didn’t expect to get this far as I’ve been having a tough time this year mostly due to inconsistencies so I’m just going to enjoy myself in the final.”
The 23-year-old, who will make her second final appearance in the nationals, goes up against top seed Low Wee Wern for the title.
World No. 23 Wee Wern, who is gunning for her third national crown, was really taken to task by youngster Chan Yiwen before pulling off an 11-8, 7-11, 11-3, 11-6 win.
“I really couldn’t find my game today and I think I’m still rusty having not played since May. All credit to Yiwen though she played really well today,” said Wee Wern.
In the men’s Premier division, defending champion and two-time winner Ivan Yuen was also given a stiff challenge before pulling off a 13-11, 11-9, 11-9 win over first-time semifinalist Darren Rahul Pragasam.
“Darren is a very good player as an elite backup and I told myself not to take it easy as he’s a very aggressive player. I had to be patient and stick to my game plan,” said Ivan.
“Overall I was a bit slow in the start and in the third. But I really wanted to get it done 3-0 so I really focused, especially when I was 9-5 down in the third.
“Its definitely exciting to be going into the final and I’m definitely excited to play andhopefully get the best out of it.”Ivan goes on to meet national No. 1 Ng Eain Yow for the title.
World No. 38 Eain Yow was in cruise control mode as he blasted past Addeen Idrakie 11-
6, 11-5, 11-2