KUALA LUMPUR: National number one Ng Eain Yow defended his men’s singles title at the 2023 Asian Squash Individual Championships, but S. Sivasangari faltered in the women’s final.

Eain Yow, the world number 17, was in his element to beat S. Velavan of India 11-4, 11-5, 11-6 in a 31-minute battle for the title at the Hong Kong Squash Centre, today.

The top seed had advanced to the final after edging home representative Henry Leung 11-5, 11-8, 12-10 in the semi-final yesterday, while Velavan spoiled an all-Malaysian final by defeating Ivan Yuen 11-4, 11-6, 8-11,11-7.

The success means, Eain Yow is now the third Malaysian to win back-to-back titles in the biennial tournament, after Ong Beng Hee (2000, 2002, 2004, 2006) and Mohd Azlan Iskandar (2008, 2010).

Meanwhile, Sivasangari missed the chance to end the country’s eight-year title drought after losing 6-11, 11-9, 14-12, 3-11, 1-11 to Chan Sin Yuk from Hong Kong after a 40-minute battle.

The United States based Sivasangari entered the final by creating an upset against top seed and world number 18 Satomi Watanabe of Japan 11-9, 14-12, 11-8, while Chan ousted compatriot Ho Tze-Lok 7-11, 11-5, 11-5, 11-7.

The last Malaysian to clinch the women’s crown was national squash legend Datuk Nicol David, who claimed her record ninth title in 2015.

National coach Andrew Cross praised both Eain Yow and Sivasangari for their incredible run in the tournament.

“Eain Yow knows how to do his job, he played well this whole week. Siva also played right today, actually. She played tough matches this week and still a positive affair, a solid week for her,” he said. -BERNAMA

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