Rachel gets her revenge
THERE is nothing better to lift spirits than to win a tournament as Rachel Arnold discovered at the Malaysian Squash Tour’s ninth leg at the Royal Lake Club in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
Rachel defeated Satomi Watanabe 11-9, 11-9, 9-11, 2-11, 11-9 in the women’s final for her second career PSA Tour title and avenge a loss to the 18-year-old Japanese player at Asian Championships in Chennai last month.
World No 194 Satomi denied 2015 Sea Games champion Rachel a place in the quarter-finals with her win in India but the 55th-ranked Malaysian was determined not to be surprised again.
“The conditions were about the same as in India but I played a lot better and I pushed hard both mentally and physically,” said Rachel, 21, who had older sister Delia, a retired two-time national champion in support.
“Delia and (national coach) Andrew (Cross) helped me a lot to push, especially when I was 4-7 down in the fifth. I didn’t want what happened in India to happen again.”
A few loose balls by Satomi, who ended the giant-killing run of national junior Aifa Azman in the semi-finals, was punished by Rachel to seal her first tournament victory since December 2015, also a Malaysian Tour leg, in Bukit Jalil.
The Lake Club event is the first of three tournaments in a row for Rachel, who plays at the Nissan Open in Manila beginning Thursday and followed by the National Championships next week.
“It is going to be a hectic period for me but I need to play the tournaments to improve my ranking,” added Rachel, who will also be travelling to the World Games in July and defending her Sea Games gold medal in August.
World No 89 Harinder Pal Singh Sandhu, a member of India’s gold-medal winning team at the 2014 Asian Games, won the men’s title by beating the unseeded Henry Leung of Hong Kong 11-0, 11-6, 11-7. Harinder and Rachel took home US$902 (RM3,900) each in prize money. Devinder Singh