New Straits Times

Kah Yan finally makes her mark


YOUNGSTER Ooi Kah Yan has finally come good to snatch her maiden Profession­al Squash Associatio­n (PSA) Tour title.

The 18-year-old has struggled for significan­t results this year, often losing to lower ranked opponents or juniors.

But the World No 82 made no mistake this time as she downed South Korea’s Choi Yura 7-11, 1113, 11-6, 12-10, 11-7 for the Cairns Internatio­nal title yesterday.

Even then, the Seremban lass didn’t have it all her way against the world No 172 Yura.

Kah Yan, who stands at only 1.58m, struggled for length against the 1.74m Yura and put up too many errors to lose the first two games.

Kah Yan however switched it on in the third game to pull one back and showed a lot of resilience to save a matchball in the fourth to force a deciding rubber.

And in the decider, Kah Yan once again came alive when it mattered as she staged a comeback from 1-5 down before taking the win in 52 minutes.

The win is certainly a much needed boost for Kah Yan who is only competing in her second PSA final, having finished runner-up to Japan’s Satomi Watanabe in the SRAM PSA 2 event back in April.

It is also a timely result for the youngster who is set for the Philippine­s SEA Games next month.

“It was a really tough game because I wasn’t getting my strategy right in the first two games,” admitted Kah Yan.

“Yura is really big and she hit the ball hard so I just tried to focus on picking up every shot and keeping the rallies going.

“I wasn’t feeling that nervous but when I was trailing in the fourth and fifth games I told myself to just focus on one shot at a time.

“Now it feels really good to win my first title because I’ve definitely struggled for results this year.

“Hopefully, this is certainly the start of better results to come in the future.”

The tournament in Cairns also saw an outstandin­g performanc­e by 15-year-old junior Yee Xin Ying. The Sabahan was in her element as she took out top seed and world No 50 Vanessa Chu of Hong Kong in the quarter-finals before falling to Kah Yan in the last four.

The men’s players however did not fare so well with second seed Addeen Idrakie losing out in the semi-finals to Hong Kong’s Wong Chi Him.

Six others — Darren Rahul Pragasam, Ryan Pasqual, Ong Sai Hung, Bryan Lim, Hafiz Zhafri and Amir Amirul Azhar all lost in the earlier rounds.

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