SINGAPORE TO HOST WOMEN’S PSA CHALLENGER 5 EVENT
For the first time since 2011, Singapore will play host to a women’s PSA World Tour event. The Tecnifibre Singapore Squash Open will be held from 26 November to 1 December 2018. The PSA Challenger 5 event will be held at the Kallang Squash Centre and has attracted entries from a total of seven nations.
The event has attracted 3 top 100 ranked entries, all from the Asian region. Headlining the draw will be Malaysia’s former world number 5 Low Wee Wern, a winner of 4 PSA tour titles this season. Low, who is currently ranked 52, is joined by fellow Asians; Hong Kong’s Lee Ka Yi (WR 63) and Philippines’ Jemyca Aribado (WR 80) as the top 3 seeds.
Low, a silver medalist at the 2014 Asian Games, is the favourite for the event having been on a dream run since coming back from a 20-month injury break in July this year, winning every PSA World Tour event she has participated, most notably the Malaysian Open, a PSA Challenger 15 event.
Low’s main challenge will come from Hong Kong’s Lee Ka Yi, the fourth member of the Hong Kong’s World Team Championships team who finished third in Dalian, China. The 26 year old was twice a quarter-finalist in PSA World Tour events this year in Malaysia and Tasmania, and will be seeking to produce her best result of the season with her seeding.
Singapore’s challenge will be spearheaded by Au Yeong Wai Yhann, the world number 120. The 19 year old Singapore Sports School student will be joined by Sneha Sivakumar, quarter-finalist at the World Junior Open, and four local invitees – Keertana Veerayah, Yukino Tan, Gracia Chua, Erin Chan and Hanaan Abo Al Thinin.
Apart from Au Yeong and Sivakumar, all other local players will be playing in the first round in the new 24 player main draw format, and there will be no qualification event unlike previous years.
“It’s great to finally have the opportunity to compete in a professional event on home soil. Hopefully, this will be the first of many Singapore Opens with a women’s PSA. It augurs well with us trying to promote the women’s game here, which has been lacking. I hope to be able to play my best and do the nation proud. A big thank you to all the sponsors and SSRA for making this happen”, said a happy Au Yeong, who will be playing her first professional event on Singapore soil.
Local interest is already guaranteed in the last eight as the nation’s top two players, Au Yeong and Sivakumar both received first round byes and has been drawn to play each other in the last sixteen. The pair of local arch rivals, whose matches has almost always gone down the wire, should prove to be an explosive affair.
Au Yeong, who has just risen to her career high ranking of 120 in the latest November rankings, will be seeking to do well in her home event to back up her two quarter-final appearances in New Zealand mid this year. Sivakumar meanwhile, has been out of action since her stellar show at the World Juniors and will be looking to prove that her feat in Chennai, India was no fluke.
Amongst the other notable players participating are Malta’s Colette Sultana (WR 106), Malaysians Nazihah Hanis (WR 105), Angie Ooi (WR 142) and former British Junior champion Jessica Keng (WR 219), and Indian trio Sunayna Kuruvilla (WR 113), Sachika Irshwin Balvani (WR 214) and Tanvi Khanna (WR 227), who won the last leg of the SGSquash Circuit which concluded last month.
In addition to women’s professional event, a men’s PSA closed satellite event will also be held concurrently. Despite it not being a PSA Challenger 5 event like it was in the past few years, the event has attracted some players of high calibre such as James Huang of Chinese Taipei, runner up in last year’s Singapore Open. He is joined by fellow professional Robert Garcia of Philippines, a regular in the Singapore squash scene, along with Malaysians Addeen Idrakie and Asyraf Azan. With such big names in the list, the men’s open event is set to be fiercely competed.
“We are delighted this year to include a PSA Challenger 5 event for the ladies category, which will see a keener contest for the top prize. And a big shout out to the Royal Brothers for generously donating the cash prizes for all the senior events”, said Dr. Woffles Wu, president of the SSRA, who himself will be participating in the men’s open category.
Other senior categories that will be contested that week are Men’s Div 1, Men’s Div 2, Men’s Div 3, Women’s Div 1, Women’s Div 2, Men’s Masters 1 (35 years and above), Men’s Masters 2 (45 years and above) and Men’s Div 3 (55 years and above).
This year’s Singapore Squash Open’s title sponsor is TECNIFIBRE and is co-sponsored by RB Capital Group and Prospec Surfaces Pte Ltd.
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