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Aifa Azman (fore) and Elise Lazarus battling it out in Kuala Lumpur

Azman Keeps Home Hopes Alive As Giantkiller Anderson Powers On

Aifa Azman kept home hopes alive in the CIMB Foundation WSF World Junior Squash Championships while unseeded Englishman Lewis Anderson extended his great run into the semi-finals.

Azman, the girls’ 3/4 seed, delivered one of her best showings of the year as she downed England’s Elise Lazarus in straight games in the women’s quarter-finals at the Bukit Jalil National Squash Centre.

After a nervy start, Azman hit top gear while Lazarus contributed to her own downfall with a string of errors as the Malaysian sealed a 12-10, 11-8, 11-5 win in 28 minutes.

More importantly for the Malaysian, who was in her fourth world juniors appearance, Azman finally earned a breakthrough to the semi-finals for the first time where she will face Jana Shiha of Egypt.

“I knew it was going to be very tough against Elise because I lost to her back in 2017 and I haven’t played her since so I was a bit nervous to start,” Azman said after the game.

Second seed Jana dropped the opening game against USA’s Marina Stefanoni but had enough quality to power to a 7-11, 11-5, 11-7, 11-7 win in 31 minutes.

Farida Mohamed got past Chan Yiwen, despite the Malaysian taking the first game. The Egyptian upped the tempo to take a 3-11, 11-7, 11-5, 11-9 win in 36 minutes.

Mohamed now goes on to meet top seed and compatriot Hania El Hammamy in the last four.

The No.1 seed, who is gunning for her first world junior title on her fifth attempt, survived a scare before getting past Hong Kong’s Chan Sin Yuk 14-12, 11-3, 12-10.

Asal (right) and Yee Xian in action on court today

In the boys’ event, Egypt proved to be the dominant force as top seed Mostafa Asal, second seed Omar El Torkey and 3/4 seed Moustafa El Sirty all powered into the last four.

Asal, the defending champion, was really a class above as he gave home hope Siow Yee Xian no breathing space in an 11-3, 11-4, 11-1 demolition.

“I was concentrated and played good squash. I knew my opponent is a pretty good player so I needed to get my tactics right and I’m pleased to be in the semi-finals,” Asal admitted.

“It’s always tough being the top seed as all the focus is on you. The pressure is also on you as well. But now I’m focused and I’m hoping to keep up this level. It’s just two more pushes and then I’m done with the juniors.”

Asal will meet unseeded Englishman Anderson, who extended his giant-killing run by scalping a third seeded player in two days.

The Solihull left-hander, who came into the competition with little expectations, played some of his best squash as he saw off India’s 9/12 seed Veer Chotrani 11-8, 11-9, 9-11, 11-7.

Anderson (fore) and Chotrani in action in Malaysia

“Everything was going great for me until the fourth game where I was 10-2 up. I suddenly got nervous and forgot how to play. But I’m really glad to have gotten through to make the top four,” said Anderson.

“It’s really been an unbelievable week for me. To beat Veer today and the two I beat yesterday, is simply unbelievable.”

Draw – Men’s Semi-Finals
[1] Mostafa Asal (EGY) v Lewis Anderson (ENG)
[2] Omar El Torkey (EGY) v ¾ Moustafa El Sirty (EGY)

Draw – Women’s Semi Finals
[1] Hania El Hammamy (EGY) v ¾ Farida Mohamed (EGY)
[2] Jana Shiha (EGY) v ¾ Aifa Azman (MAS)

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