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Third time’s the charm

Ivan Yuen finally got it right at the third time of asking to nail his maiden Ohana National Squash Championships title.
A fired-up Ivan hit the big shots when it mattered to claw his way back from the brink of defeat to beat national No. 1 Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan 10-12, 11-3, 6-11, 12-10, 11-9 at the NSC Squash Center at Jalan Duta yesterday.
The national No. 2, who finished runner-up in 2014 and 2016, looked set for yet another disappointment when Nafiizwan held two match-point opportunities – 10-8 – in the fourth set.
But Ivan was handed a lifeline when Nafiizwan’s shot hit the tin.
The 26-year-old Ivan went on to deftly execute a flick shot to level the score at 10-10.
That proved to be the turning point of the match as the world No. 43 went on to force a deciding rubber before sealing victory after 97 minutes.
“I’m really happy to win the national title for the first time,” said an elated Ivan, who earned RM4,000 for his efforts.
“It was a tough game. Nafiizwan knows my game well. We’ve played each other so often.
“Although I was trailing, I kept telling myself to be patient and to just keep pushing.
“This win is also a huge boost for my confidence and just what I need before I fly to New Zealand next week for two tournaments.”
In the women’s final, Nicol David proved too strong for Rachel Arnold as she easily claimed her fourth national crown.
The eight-time world champion was sharp from the word go as she cruised to an 11-4, 11-7, 11-5 win in just 25 minutes.
“It’s great playing Rachel. She came in with a game plan and was always ready to attack,” said Nicol.
“But I played a good game ... I put the pressure on her early and took my chances.”
The win will certainly put Nicol in the right frame of mind for the World Series Finals in Dubai from June 6-10.

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