By Alex Wan
The Marigold Junior and Masters Squash Open drew the curtain on Singapore Squash’s event calendar for 2020. Amidst very challenging times, where COVID-19 safety measures continued to be enforced throughout the event, it went on without glitch.
With five events and 146 participants involved, this was a much bigger affair compared to the National Championships that was held shortly before.
Top seeds took honours in all five events, with the finals all going to seedings in the junior categories – Boys Under-13 and 17, and the Girls Under-13 and 17.
Top Seeds Dominate Junior Events
Top seed Samuel Lau made up for his disappointment at the Nationals by living up to his seeding to win the Boys Under-17 without dropping a game. In fact, he was hardly troubled until the final against second seed Ethan Chua, where two of the three games went to the tie-break.
The only notable upset in the category came from Mark Lee, the joint-fifth seed who worked hard for a 3-2 win over joint-third seed Justin Yap in the last eight. However, he lost out tamely to Ethan Chua in the semi-final.
In the Boys Under-13, Jethro Chua was made to fight for his title. He was two games up, but a stubborn Ethan Kuan sneaked in the third game after a long battle to force a fourth. Jethro then stepped up and took the fourth comfortably.
In the Girls Under-17, National Championships Women’s Open runner-up Gracia Chua expectedly powered her way to the title, beating Au Yeong Wai Iynn for the second time in as many weeks, having beaten her in the final of the Under-19 event at the Nationals.
Ong Zhe Sim, meanwhile, bulldozed her way to the Girls Under-13 title, dropping just 18 points in her four matches – of which six were from the final against second seed Naisha Singh.
However, upsets were aplenty in the earlier rounds. Unheralded 11-year old Joshika Ettikan took out the joint-fifth and joint-third seeds, Anne Wong and Jeanette Ng to make it to the last four. However, her luck ran out as top seed Zhe Sim won comfortably in the semis.
Upsets Galore in the Masters
Top seed Victor Koh lived up to his seeding, but upsets were aplenty in the Masters’ event right from second round. Frank Foo claimed the first scalp of the event, taking out surprise joint-third seed Terence Teo from two games down.
The quarterfinals saw the top two seeds in the lower half of the draw falter. Second seed and former international Vernon Teo led Shaun See 2-1 and was within two points of the match but couldn’t close out and lost in five.
Then, joint-third seed Jeremy Khoo blew a 5-0 lead in the deciding fifth game against giant-killing Pang Hian Tee to lose out 11-9. However, the gallant run of Hian Tee, who had two upsets in a row, was halted by Shaun in the semi-final.
Seasoned Masters campaigner Victor Koh certainly showed supremacy in this event. His superior fitness was evidently a class above the rest and there was never a doubt throughout the week that he was the one to beat.
“It certainly feels great to be able to come back playing competitive squash again after such a long layoff. Winning the event is really a bonus. I’m just thankful to the authorities for allowing this to take place”, Victor said after collecting his trophy.
RESULTS (FINALS ONLY)
Men’s Masters’ (45 – 65 years of age)
 Victor Koh bt [5/8] Shaun See 11-5, 11-9, 9-11, 11-5
 Samuel Lau bt  Ethan Chua 12-10, 11-3, 12-10
 Gracia Chua bt  Au Yeong Wai Iynn 11-7, 11-8, 11-9
 Jethro Chua bt  Ethan Kuan 11-5, 11-7, 14-16, 11-7
 Ong Zhe Sim bt  Naisha Singh 11-2, 11-4, 11-0