SRAM #2 : Watanabe and Idrakie triumph in KL
Satomi stops Malaysian clean sweep
Women’s top seed Satomi Watanabe prevented a Malaysian sweep after she fought back from a game down to beat local lass Ooi Kah Yan 7-11, 11-4, 11-8, 11-5 at the National Squash Centre, Bukit Jalil on Friday.
World No. 104 Kah Yan had raised hopes of an upset win after she pounced on her opportunities to overturn a 1-5 deficit to nick the first game 11-7. World No. 59 Watanabe was however made of sterner stuff and she came back with some hard hitting shots to seal the win after 36 minutes.
The win is Watanabe’s second career PSA title but a first for the Penang-trained player in Malaysia. And Watanabe, who fell short in the final of the Malaysian Open last year, was certainly pleased with her efforts.
“I’m really glad that I finally won in Malaysia. I’m quite happy with it although it would have been better if I played a better match. Still, it’s a really good result for me,” said Watanabe. “Overall I think it wasn’t a really good performance because I felt rushed on court and I made so many mistakes especially at the front. I think it because I tried to shorten the rallies too much. After the first game I adjusted by making the rallies longer.
“It’s good that I managed to come back and win in 4 but I think I still need to improve on my drives and drops.”
In the men’s final, second seed Addeen Idrakie outsmarted top seed Syafiq Kamal 11-8, 11-13, 11-7, 11-8 in a thrilling all-Malaysian clash.
World No. 90 Addeen and world No. 95 Syafiq are training partners and the pair are all too familiar with one another’s game. It was however Addeen who had the better start as he took the first game 11-8 before Syafiq kept himself alive by nicking the second 13-11. The pair went on to trade blows in the third and fourth game with the rallies long and both players dishing out superb shots
Addeen however proved to be the hungrier player and he had the mental fortitude to finish off the match after 68 minutes.
“I’m so happy with this win. It’s only my second title in Malaysia and sixth PSA title,” said Addeen who also took the Elanora Open title last month. “I’m also really pleased to win against Syafiq because I usually lose with a 3-2 score. This time I told myself to be more patient and to push him to the back. My plan certainly worked out as I kept him behind most of the time.
“Overall I’m pleased with the way I finished this tournament. I won all my matches 3-0 except in the final and it’s good to see that my hard work in training is showing results,” added Addeen.
Addeen and Watanabe took home US$992 for the win while Syafiq and Kah Yan pocketed US$627 for their efforts. Squash Racquets Association of Malaysia (SRAM) director Major (Rtd) S. Maniam was also pleased with the outcome of the SRAM PSA 1 and 2 this month.
“These small tournaments have been a really good platform for our young players. I am very impressed with Addeen who has shown the results of his hard work in training,” said Maniam. “I’m also impressed with Noor Ainaa Amani Ampandi as she has been on form and has shown a lot of improvements too.”