Top seed Low Wee Wern put on her A-game on the final day to comfortably see off the challenge of second seeded Lee Ka Yi of Hong Kong in straight games. The 28-year old Penang native was a class above her opponent and took just 27 minutes to win the title.
Both players were a little cautious to start and did not take much risks. The rallies were kept safe and mostly down the line. The points were never far off, two apart at most, up to 6-6. Wee Wern then stepped up and strung together a series of cross court winners, with a few wrong footing her Hong Kong opponent. 11-6 to Wee Wern after 8 minutes.
Ka Yi, who uses the lob a lot to create her chances to attack, couldn’t execute what she does best in the first game. Her lifts were simply not high and wide enough, often creating far too many opportunities for Wee Wern to put it away or put her on the back foot of the rallies.
In the second game, Wee Wern came in a different player altogether and was far more aggressive, increasing the pace quite substantially. That troubled Ka Yi a lot, who quickly fell behind 1-8. She was constantly being under pressure and often forced into an error.
She manages to turn things around a little, putting in a couple of lovely winners from her backhand into the front corner. But the deficit was way too big to mount a comeback and she found herself two games down after Wee Wern converted her third game ball at 10-5.
Sensing the pace was troubling her opponent, Wee Wern continued hitting with a higher pace in the third. She raced to a 9-1 lead, with the last point being a perfect backhand straight kill into the front corner that Ka Yi couldn’t reach.
Ka Yi manages another two points, before the former world number 5 hit a lovely forehand attacking boast in the front that caught her opponent by surprise to clinch the winning point.
Wee Wern, who won her first Asian Junior title here on Singapore soil in 2006, said after her match :
“It’s good to end the year on a high. This is my last tournament for the year so I’m happy to finish off with a win. I haven’t played in Singapore for a while, so it’s good to be back.
I think in the first game, we were trying to figure each other out, so we were not attacking as much. Towards the end of the first game, I got a little more confident and that showed in the second and third. I got out there and took the ball earlier, so that didn’t give her much chance to do anything. I think that was what made the difference today.”
Wee Wern, who is currently ranked 52 in the world, is hoping that her win here would push her up into the top 48 that will enable her to compete in much bigger events.
Lee Ka Yi, meanwhile, was not as happy with her performance today understandably. The pair had met once just three months ago at the Women’s World Team Championship, which Wee Wern won in four close games. She had this to say:
“I’m a little disappointed because I think I can play a little better than I did, perhaps better than yesterday. But I did not do well. Wee Wern is such a good player and I did not control well, so that gave her a lot of chances to attack. I made a lot more mistakes in the second and third, which is evident in the score. I think I learned today to be more patient and not to attack too early, which sometimes end up as mistakes.”
Earlier, in the men’s closed satellite event, Chinese Taipei’s former world number 86, James Huang went one better this year by clinching the title after being runner up a year ago. He beat Philippines’ Robert Garcia in four entertaining games which kept the packed gallery on the edge of their seats. This is the second Singapore Open title for James, who also won it in 2016.
TECNIFIBRE SINGAPORE SQUASH OPEN 2018 – FINAL
Low Wee Wern (MAS) bt Lee Ka Yi (HKG) 11-6, 11-5, 11-3 (27m)
James Huang (TPE) bt Robert Garcia (PHI) 11-8, 7-11, 11-5, 12-10 (55m)