Both the top seeds at the SRAM PSA Challenger Open were sent crashing out in the semi-finals of women’s competition.
Ooi Kah Yan and Aifa Azman accounted for the top two seeds Low Wee Wern and Rachel Arnold respectively and will square off for the title tomorrow.
Kah Yan, ranked 77th in the world carved out a difficult 2-11, 11-9, 11-4, 2-11, 11-7 win over Wee Wern, the national number one.
Wee Wern, ranked 25th in the world, was hoping for a golden start to her first tournament in 14 months, but was denied by Kah Yan in only their second PSA circuit meeting. The last time the duo took on each other was in 2018 with Wee Wern beating her much younger opponent.
As for Rachel, she found Aifa too strong as the match progressed. Aifa dropped the first two games but once she clawed her back in the crucial third, she had enough in her momentum to win 10-12, 7-11, 14-12, 11-8, 11-9.
Aifa ranked 64th in the world and Racheld ranked 44th, have met four times prior to the semi-final today with the latter holding a 3-1 advantage. Their last meeting was at the quarter-finals of the SRFI Chennai Leg in 2019 where Rachel took a win only to see Aifa turning the tables this time around.
Aifa will start off as the favourite in the final against Kah Yan, whom she has beaten in all previous three meetings on the tour.
The Kedahan defeated Aifa when the pair last met at the semi-finals of the Melbourne Open two years ago.
Ivan Yuen, the top men’s seed, was also on the verge of joining the women seeds in the sidelines but recovered to defeat Addeen Idrakie 12-10, 13-15, 9-11, 11-9, 11-5 in his semi-final tie.
The tough win ensured that Ivan kept a clean slate against his opponent in their four meetings on the circuit.
Ivan will be up against Mohammad Syafiq Kamal in the final tomorrow. Syafiq, unlike Ivan, was a comfortable 11-7, 11-9, 11-4 winner in his semi-final against Elvinn Keo.
If the semi-finals were of any indication, the final can be expected to be a closely fought affair.
Ivan ranked 46 in the world has beaten Syafiq in all their previous five meetings on the circuit. But the last victory over the 79th ranked Syafiq came five years ago at the Hong Kong International.
MEN: Ivan Yuen bt Addeen Idrakie 12-10, 13-15, 9-11, 11-9, 11-5; Mohammad Syafiq Kamal bt Elvinn Keo 11-7, 11-9, 11-4
WOMEN: Ooi Kah Yan bt Low Wee Wern 2-11, 11-9, 11-4, 2-11, 11-7; Aifa Azman bt Rachel Arnold 10-12, 7-11, 14-12, 11-8, 11-9