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Wildcard Azman reaches final to extend incredible Malaysian Open run

Nineteen-year-old Malaysian wildcard Aifa Azman continued her incredible run at the Malaysian Open Squash Championships by beating Canada’s No.5 seed Danielle Letourneau to reach her first PSA World Tour final.

The World No.69 had already captured the headlines with stunning wins over Egyptians Mayar Hany, No.3 seed Yathreb Adel and Hana Ramadan, and she wasted no time thrilling the home fans today, racing into a two-game lead, courtesy of 11-4 and 11-7 wins.

Letourneau hit back in the third with an 11-5 win to raise the tension inside the National Squash Centre in Kuala Lumpur.

Azman, however, showed incredible composure and saw off the 28-year-old with a decisive 11-3 win in the fourth, to seal a 32-minute 3-1 victory.

Azman will be joined in the final by Egyptian top seed Salma Hany, after the 25-year-old World No.8 downed Canadian No.4 seed Hollie Naughton 3-0.

Hany set the tone for a dominant win in the first game, which she took 11-1.

The following games were more competitive, but in truth Hany looked in control throughout, and she wrapped up the match in 29 minutes with 11-8 and 11-5 wins.

In the men’s draw, Malaysian No.3 seed and defending champion Eain Yow Ng crashed out to Colombian top seed Miguel Rodriguez.

Rodriguez, 35, playing in his first Malaysian Open, edged out Eain Yow, who at 23 is 12 years his junior, in a far closer match than the 3-0 scoreline suggests.

Rodriguez was pushed hard by Eain Yow throughout the first game, which he eventually claimed 11-9.

This was followed by another brutally tight game, which again went to the Colombian 11-9.

Although the home favourite continued to battle in the third game, the experienced Rodriguez had more than enough to see the match through, sealing the 46-minute win with an 11-6 victory.

In the final, Rodriquez will face Indian No.2 seed Saurav Ghosal, who recorded a 3-0 win over French No.5 seed Victor Crouin.

As with Rodriguez’s win, Ghosal’s victory was not a straightforward one.

Despite claiming a comfortable-looking 3-0 win, Ghosal and Crouin could hardly be separated throughout as Ghosal took each game by the narrowest of margins, with the 35-year-old winning 12-10, 11-9, 11-9 in 47 minutes.

Results – Malaysian Open 2021: Men's semi finals
[2] Saurav Ghosal (IND) bt [5] Victor Crouin (FRA) 12-10, 11-9, 11-9 (47 mins)
[1] Miguel Rodriguez (COL) bt [3] Eain Yow Ng (MAS) 3-0: 11-9, 11-9, 11-6 (46 mins) 

Results – Malaysian Open 2021: Women’s semi finals
[WC] Aifa Azman (MAS) bt [5] Danielle Letourneau (CAN) 3-1: 11-4, 11-7, 5-11, 11-3 (32 mins)
[1] Salma Hany (EGY) bt [4] Hollie Naughton (CAN) 3-0: 11-1, 11-8, 11-5 (29 mins)

Draw – Malaysian Open 2021: Men’s final
[1] Miguel Rodriguez (COL) v [2] Saurav Ghosal (IND)

Draw – Malaysian Open 2021: Women’s final
[1] Salma Hany (EGY) v [WC] Aifa Azman (MAS)

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