Au Yeong Wai Yhann and Elvinn Keo win back to back SGSquash Circuit titles

Singapore Squash Rackets Association (SSRA)

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Singapore’s Au Yeong Wai Yhann powered to her second successive SGSquash Circuit title at the Kallang Squash Centre in style as she saw off the challenge of Malaysia’s Angie Ooi in straight games. In the Men’s Open event, Elvinn Keo also repeated his feat after seeing off Robert Garcia of the Philippines.

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Women's Open champion Au Yeong Wai Yhann (red) with runners-up Angie Ooi (yellow)

Wai Yhann, Singapore’s top player for the upcoming SEA Games, was ruthless in the final, allowing Angie just 9 points in total throughout the entire match. The 20-year old Singapore Sports School student started with a bang by dropping just a single point in the opening game. After losing her opening service, Wai Yhann went on a rampage to win 11 points in a row for the lead.

Things were no better for Angie in the next as she quickly found herself trailing 1-6. She manages to close the gap to 4-7, but Wai Yhann once again stepped up to win 11-5.

In the third, Wai Yhann raced to a 4-0 lead before Angie could put her name on the score board. Things were close for a little while in mid-game, with Angie closing in up to 3-6, before Wai Yhann once again upped the pace to seal the win 11-3 in just 18 minutes.

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Wai Yhann was in control through most of her finals match against Angie Ooi of Malaysia

“It feels good to win two in a row! I’m definitely happy with the way I played and being able to see my game coming together, and applying the things I have been working on. It’s a big boost knowing that the SEA Games is less than a month away.

”It wasn’t an easy win here as the players I faced all had very different playing styles, so I had to work out different game plans against each of them”, said Wai Yhann after her win.

The win by Wai Yhann is certainly a big confidence booster ahead for the upcoming SEA Games in Manila, Philippines, where she will be aiming for at least a bronze medal in the individuals.

Earlier in the semis, Wai Yhann played her toughest match of the event where she had to come from a game down to beat Kuala Lumpur’s Aminah Rosli 10-12, 11-9, 11-5, 11-4. Prior to that, she had eased past national junior Joy Lim.

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Another notable Singaporean’s performance came from Sherilyn Yang, the 2017 SEA Games jumbo doubles gold medallist. Against the odds, she had come from behind to defeat Philippines number two and joint-third seed Aysah Dalida 12-10, 4-11, 4-11, 11-8, 11-7.

Thanks to the generosity of her employer Deloitte, Sherilyn has been able to take time off from work to train for the SEA Games and the result here is clearly proving that it’s bearing fruit.

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Champion of the men's open event, Elvinn Keo (black) with the runners-up, Robert Garcia (blue)

In the men’s open, Elvinn Keo powered through three SEA Games bound players to another title here. The Penangite, no stranger to tournaments here in Singapore, looked a class above the competition despite being seeded just joint-third behind Samuel Kang and Robert Garcia.

After brushing off Samuel Kang in straight games in the last four, Elvinn faced a tricky Robert Garcia of the Philippines in the final. He didn’t have the best starts and found himself down at 2-7 in the opener. He reeled off four points in a row to close the gap but still faced game ball at 9-10. But a streak of winners at the end saw him nick into the lead 12-10.

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It was a toughly contested match between Elvinn Keo and Robert Garcia in the final of the men's open

It was close in the second right up to 8-a piece before the Malaysian once again reeled off three points in a row for a 2-0 lead.

He looked good to wrap it up in three after leading for most parts of the game, before he allowed Robert four straight points to lose the lead 7-9. He did catch back to force the tie break but lost it 10-12, allowing Robert a glimmer of hope.

That hope didn’t last long as Elvinn, coming from 4-5 down, strung a series of seven straight points to claim his second successive SGSquash Circuit title. 

“Well, it’s amazing to win back to back title here in Singapore. I felt much faster in this tournament compared to the previous one. Winning every match does help to boost my confidence and with this win, it might even help me climb up a couple of spots on the PSA ranking. But I really ought to play more PSA events to see a real difference in that.”

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Samuel Kang (blue) in his 3rd/4th playoff against Rutvik Rau

Apart from Samuel, it wasn’t quite a memorable outing for the other Team Singapore men. Aaron Liang, seeded joint-third, was shown the door in the last eight by Rutvik Rau. Brandon Tan justified his seeding by reaching the second round, while joint-fifth seeds Timothy Leong and Benjamin Sim were ousted earlier than expected.

With the Singapore Open coming up, this circuit is also a good gauge at how exciting the event could turn out. With all finalists in both the men’s and women’s open event participating, we could see a few rematches along the way.

“Having played some of them this week, it does give me extra confidence going into the Singapore Open. But I still have to be on my toes, as these boys are looking forward to have their revenge. Let’s also not forget we will be having more players coming to play. I have former Malaysian number one Nafiizwan Adnan on my half and some of the younger Malaysian players will be very dangerous”, added Elvinn when asked how he fancied his chances at the title.

Judging from the previous two circuits, it is no secret that Elvinn could well lift the men’s open title at the Singapore Open. While he may not be the highest seeded and ranked player in the draw, his capabilities certainly overshadows the bracketed number next to his name.

Final Results

Men’s Open: Elvinn Keo [3/4] (MAS) bt Robert Garcia [2] (PHI) 3-1 (12-10, 11-8, 10-12, 11-5)
Women’s Open: Au Yeong Wai Yhann [1] (SIN) bt Angie Ooi [2] (MAS) 3-0 (11-1, 11-5, 11-3)
Men’s Division II: Tay Aik Hsiong [3/4] bt James Nicholas [3/4] 3-1 (11-7, 11-8, 9-11, 11-4)
Women’s Division II: Gracia Chua [1] bt Au Yeong Wai Iynn [2] 3-0 (11-7, 11-6, 11-4)
Men’s Masters II: Udai Singh [1] bt Philip Mockridge [2] 3-0 (11-4, 11-2, 11-6)