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Upsets, Wire-to-wire showdowns rock ASEAN Squash opener

by Mark Mañez

Manila, PHILIPPINES - Reymark Begornia plucked out one of the biggest surprises as he outdueled top seed and compatriot Robert Garcia, 3-1 (11-6, 3-11, 11-6, 11-9) as the 5th SEA Cup Squash Championships got into a fiery start at the Kerry Sports Manila Squash courts, Tuesday.

Begornia, seeded fourth entering the tournament, endured Garcia's tactics in their 1 hour tactical show  to secure a date in the semifinals against Malaysia's Muhammad Amir Amirul Bin Ashar, who hacked out a hard-earned straight sets victory over Thailand's Nathlakit Jivasuwan.

Both players exchanged rallies right from the first service up to the final matchpoint, much to the delight of a rather tense crowd at the venue.

Meanwhile, Indonesia's Satria Bagus Laksana whisked out a 3-2 wringer over Danial Nurhaquiem Bin Shahrul Izham in the other quarterfinal faceoff.

Laksana, one of Indonesia's best squash players will clash horns with Singapore's Benedict Chan who also survived a similar thriller over compatriot Timothy Leong in tomorrow's semifinal showdown.

Over at the distaff side, Yvonne Alyssa Dalida barged straight to the final four with a walkover against top seed Jemyca Aribado. She will face Noor Ainaa Ampandi of Malaysia in the semifinals.

Aribado, the host country's brightest medal hope in the SEA Games late this year, suffered an injury prior to the tournament, forcing her to withdraw from the women's singles match.

Ampandi, on the other hand, narily broke out a sweat as she dispatched compatriot and defending champion, Jessica Keng in straight sets to confirm her date with Dalida.

Title contenders Wai Yhann Au Yeong and Sneha Sivakumar take center stage in the other semifinal duel as they quick work of their respective opponents. Sivakumar survived Anantana Prasertratanaku in four grueling sets, 11-5, 11-4, 7-11, 11-4, while Au Yeong needed 17 minutes to easily run past Catur Yuliana in straight sets, 11-5, 11-6, 11-3 in their own quarterfinal affair.

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