PETALING JAYA: The stage was set for national No. 2 Low Wee Wern to write herself into squash folklore by sending Malaysia into the final of the Women’s World Team championship in Nimes, France, but she fell short yesterday.
Malaysia and England were tied at 1-1 in the semi-finals, leaving Wee Wern with the task of landing the winning point.
But faced with the challenge of beating world No. 4 Alison Waters, the seventh ranked Wee Wern could not raise her game and succumbed 6-11, 11-7, 9-11, 5-11.
England, the top seeds, won 2-1 to set up a final clash with Egypt, who recorded an emphatic 3-0 win over defending champions Australia.
The 22-year-old Wee Wern, however, redeemed herself when she came back strongly. She set aside her earlier disappointment and was the first Malaysian on court for the third-fourth battle.
This time, Wee Wern was in her element and beat Australia’s Donna Urquhart 13-11, 11-6, 11-7 to send Malaysia on their way to a fourth successive third place finish.
World No.1 Nicol David (pic), who has been superb all week, then came on to trounce old rival Rachael Grinham 11-6, 11-6, 11-4 to seal the win. Delia Arnold then easily defeated third string Aussie Melody Francis 11-6, 11-6 in the dead rubber.
Still, it was a heartbreaking result for Malaysia as they also lost to England by the same scoreline in the semi-finals two years ago.
“I tried my best in the semi-finals but it simply wasn’t enough. Alison was way too experienced in situations like these and that made the difference,” said Wee Wern, who has now lost to Waters four times this year.
“I’m obviously disappointed as the team were banking on me to get us into the final. But it’s a lesson I will learn from. So to win the first point against Australia was certainly a relief because it was tough to come in and play again.
“But I knew it’s very important to get that point and I’m glad that I helped secure the third place finish,” added Wee Wern.
National elite coach Peter Genever, while disappointed with the team’s semi-final defeat, lauded the third-placing effort.
“It was pretty disappointing in the semi-finals but England are a very tough team and a lot more experienced than us,” said Genever.
“But I think Wee Wern rebounded very well and she was at her best in her match against Donna. Overall though, while we’re happy to retain third spot, it’s also sad that we can’t do better than the previous years.
“But we win some and we lose some and we’ll go back with good lessons and work on breaking into the top two next time,” he added.