Singapore Open 2017
05-10 Dec, Singapore, $5k
Masterclass from Tandon to take the title
Alex Wan reports
The final of the Singapore Squash Open 2017 turned out to be a
sombre affair as India’s Ramit Tandon was in a league of his own
this afternoon and totally outplayed James Huang of Taiwan in
While it may have looked one sided, it was
still clearly a feast for the capacity Sunday afternoon crowd,
who got treated to a feast of trickery from Tandon. The world
number 88 Tandon came firing right from the start and never
allowed Huang to settle, winning the first game 11-3 very
In the second Huang seem to have settled much better, matching
Tandon for most parts of the rallies especially in the first
half. But it was still Tandon who was far more controlling and
dictating the pace of the rallies. His front court game was very
evidently troubling Huang, who on many occasions was left
wondering where the next shot would be going.
Tandon edged ahead a little 4-2 and 6-4,
before breaking away to 8-5 and eventually winning it 11-6, with
the last two points being tins from the Taiwanese number one.
The third was clearly a one-sided affair, with Tandon now
playing more confidently than ever in the match, executing his
shots with conviction and racing to a 6-0 lead.
He’d drop another two points from the tin, before three backhand
drives that died in the back ended the match after 32 minutes,
11-3, 11-6, 11-3.
The newly crowned Singapore Squash Open 2017
champion said after: “I’m happy to get through today. Like I
said, I’m not even moving 100% and my goal was only to complete
the event, so this win is really a bonus. Today I was able to
execute my game plan. I knew he is very fit and he moves a lot.
I tried not to make as many mistakes and things just turned out
When asked of his next event, Tandon, a native
of Kolkata but based out of New York now said, “I’m going back
to India for a bit and I’ll see if I am well enough to play in
Qatar next, if not it’ll be the Tournament of Champions in New
Huang, however, was still happy with his tournament, having been
disappointingly beaten in the quarter final stage last year as
the second seed.
Huang said “Ramit (Tandon) was just far too good today. I
haven’t been feeling as great all week and I feel a little
tight. I knew he was a good player so I know what I was in for.
I played well for part of the second game, but I was just not
able to maintain that. I’m still happy to have made the final
here and overall, I had a good tournament.
"It’s also special for me because I brought two of my students
over and one of them, Ling, won third place in the women’s
premier. It’s her first overseas event so it’s really quite an
Singapore Open 2017
05-10 Dec, Singapore, $5k
 Henry Leung (Hkg)
11/8, 11/7, 11/9 (31m)
Ryan Pasqual (Mas)
 Henry Leung
11/5, 11/8, 11/6 (24m)
 Graham Miao
 Henry Leung
11/3, 11/6, 11/5 (22m)
 Ramit Tandon
 Ramit Tandon
11/3, 11/6, 11/3 (32m)
 James Huang
 Graham Miao (Hkg)
11/5, 11/7, 12/10 (38m)
Arnold Phat (Tha)
 Ramit Tandon (Ind)
11/8, 11/6, 11/5
[Q] Benedict Chan (Sin)
 Ramit Tandon
11/7, 11/8, 2/11, 10/12, 12/10 (56m)
 Elvinn Keo
 Elvinn Keo (Mas)
12/10, 11/8, 11/9 (31m)
[wc] Chua Man Chin (Sin)
[Q] Robert Garcia (Phi)
11/4, 4/11, 12/10, 5/11, 11/8 (69m)
 Valentino Bong (Mas)
[Q] Robert Garcia
11/7, 11/8, 11/7 (30m)
 Vivian Rhamanan
[Q] Robert Garcia
11/7, 11/8, 11/7 (30m)
 James Huang
Darren Rahul Pragasam (Mas)
11/3, 4/11, 13/11, 8/11, 11/9 (51m)
 Vivian Rhamanan (Sin)
[Q] Samuel Kang (Sin)
11/4, 11/5, 11/7 (39m)
 James huang (Tpe)
 James huang
11/6, 9/11, 11/8, 7/11, 11/2 (58m)
 Chris Lo
[Q] Mohd Farez Izwan (Mas)
5/11, 11/6, 11/2, 11/4 (31m)
 Chris Lo (Hkg)
Robert Garcia (Phi) 3-2 Muhammad Ezzri
Nazri (Mas) 12-14, 12-10, 12-10, 7-11, 11-4 (63m)
Benedict Chan (Sin) 3-1 Kojiro Tan (Sin)
11-9, 11-9, 9-11, 11-9 (41m)
Samuel Kang (Sin) 3-0 Timothy Leong (Sin)
11-7, 11-7, 11-8 (38m)
Mohd Farez Izwan (Mas) 3-1 Graham Melvin
6-11, 11-3, 11-3, 11-5 (31m)
Muhammad Ezzri Nazri (Mas) 3-0 Rayden Tan
11-5, 11-1, 11-2 (21m)
Benedict Chan (Sin) 3-0 David Pelino (Phi)
11-6, 12-10, 11-8 (32m)
Kojiro Tan (Sin) 3-0 Lachlan Coxsedge (Aus)
13-11, 11-8, 11-8 (29m)
Samuel Kang (Sin) 3-1 Gurshan Singh (Mas)
11-7, 11-2, 7-11, 9-11, 11-7 (57m)
Timothy Leong (Sin) 3-1 Reymark Begornia (Phi)
9-11, 11-5, 18-16, 11-6 (58m)
Mohd Farez Izwan (Mas) bt Julian Joshua (Mas)
8-11, 11-3, 6-7 rtd (19m)
Graham Melvin (Sco) 3-2 Shahzad Khan (Pak) 10-12, 11-3,
10-12, 11-7, 11-5 (42m)
Garcia's run ends as Tandon topples top seed
Alex Wan reports
Robert Garcia’s maiden appearance in a tour event semi-final and
gallant run at the Singapore Squash Open 2017 was halted today
by Chinese Taipei’s James Huang.
The 31-year old Filipino had already played over 160 minutes of
squash coming into the match this evening, and once again, there
was no sign of any physical effects that might suggest so.
Huang started off very well to take the first
two games with some dominating play, dictating most of the parts
of the two games and was rewarded with both the games, 11-8 and
then 11-6. But the never say die Robert Garcia was a highly
determined one in the third, breaking away from 4-4 to 7-4,
before dropping a point and then winning a streak of four points
to pull back.
The fourth was a highly-charged game – Garcia having pulled one
back came in with lots of hope and Huang determined not to let
his two-game lead go to waste. Things were point for point for
most parts of the game up to 7-7. Huang then manages to pull
ahead by two points to 9-7 but Garcia played amazingly to take
the next four points to hold game ball at 10-9.
In a dramatic finish to the next pulsating rally, James Huang
hit a spectacular reflex shot over the back while making a turn
to win the point and draw level at 10-10. That drew a rare
clench of fist from Huang who then played the next two rallies
with conviction and thus booking his place in the final with a
11-8, 11-6, 5-11, 12-10 win after 50 minutes.
Huang said later, “I had a good start today and he got better
and better as the match went on. He also began to go for his
shots and I lost a little focus in the third and fourth game. It
definitely wasn’t my best squash in those two games.”
“It’s good that I have my student and my friends from Hong Kong
here to support from the outside. I’m happy
to make my first final of the season and especially so in
Singapore, because last year I came here as the second
seed and I twisted my ankle and lost in the quarters. I was very
In the other semi-final, Indian world number 88 Ramit Tandon
upset the form books to upstage top seed Henry Leung of Hong
Kong. That is an amazing feat having come into the tournament
from Qatar where he retired injured with a twisted ankle.
Playing to a near full capacity crowd, Tandon provided a
masterclass display as he coolly outplayed the top seed in just
“I’m playing better and better as the
tournament comes along. I had hardly any preparation coming here
after hurting myself in Qatar. I have to thank Elvinn (Keo) for
the tough match yesterday. I feel a lot more confident today
after that match and I went for my shots a lot more.
"Things just started flowing well for me and while the score is
a simple 3-0, it was nowhere near easy. Henry is a young and
good player and I needed to be precise. Like yesterday, I’m
going to enjoy tonight and start again tomorrow,” said Tandon
who will be gunning for his second title of the season after
winning the SYS Open in New York in May this year.
Garcia continues killing run
and Huang upsets Lo
Alex Wan Reports
Philippines’ giant killing qualifier Robert Garcia
continued his gallant run here in Singapore after seeing off
local hero Vivian Rhamanan in straight games.
Even though Garcia
had played two five setters in the last
two days, there was no effects of the physical torment showing
tonight as he moved freely on court despite the many times
Rhamanan was controlling the rallies.
Even with the home crowd
behind him, Rhamanan
could not find an answer to the flair of the lanky Filipino, who
ended the match 11-7, 11-8, 11-7 in 30 minutes.
“I am very happy to make the semis here. I have played him
three times this year, so I knew what I had to do to beat him.
When I saw him in my quarter, I was quite happy with the draw.
am still sore from the last few days but I have a good team
around me here cheering, and that motivates me to fight harder.
In there, the mental strength is greater than the physical, and
that is what pulls me through,” said Garcia after
qualifying for the last four.
James Huang also upset the books as he took out second
seed Chris Lo of Hong Kong. The Chinese Taipei veteran, who is
known for his speed on court, won 11-6, 9-11, 11-8, 7-11, 11-2
in 58 minutes. Huang later
“Happy to win! I knew it wasn’t going to be very tough. In
the second and fourth, I lost a little focus in the beginning
and I had to come back each time. We know each other very well
because I used to train with
them in Hong Kong.
"But he plays a little different now. Maybe
it’s the effect of the new coach and it took me some time to get
used to his new style.”
“I played Robert (Garcia) in March this year in Hong Kong and
I won 3-0. But I’ve been watching him and he’s improved a lot
now, so I’d expect another tough game. I’ll be sure to get
In the most dramatic match of the day, India’s Ramit Tandon
came back from the brink of defeat to see off fourth seeded
crowd favourite Elvinn Keo in just under an hour.
only a week ago retired injured at the Qatar Circuit fell behind
0-2 to the skilful Malaysian, who practically gave away the
Keo came back firing in the fourth and was in total
control, eventually pulling away to match ball at 10-7. However,
he failed to convert any of them and instead lost the next 5
points, with the last one a harsh no let, to be forced into
playing the decider.
Like the fourth, he started off very confidently and the harsh
call at the end of the fourth seem to have fired him up as he
went to 5-0 with some blistering shot-making he is known for.
But Tandon wasn’t to be written off as he slowly edged himself
back into the game and eventually walking out a deserving 7-11,
8-11, 11-2, 12-10, 12-10 winner in just under an hour.
“I was lucky. That’s all I got to say. I wasn’t even playing as
well as I can. After hurting my ankle in Qatar last week, it’s
in the back of my head and I am still afraid to push myself
"But as I pulled back closer after falling behind,
things got better and I just tried harder. Right now, I’m just
going to focus on my recovery for tomorrow and enjoy my win,”
Ramit Tandon said after his win.
In the last match of the evening, top seed Henry Leung
saw off Shanghai-based Graham Miao comfortable in 24 minutes.
07-Dec, Round One:
Rhamaman the sole Singapore survivor
Alex Wan Reports
Vivian Rhamanan survived a five-setter in the final match
of the night to ensure local representation in the last eight
after his fellow compatriots all lost out. He had to dig deep
into his reserves to dictate the pace against his much younger
opponent, and it was apparent through the match that the times
he is able to force upon the slower pace, he would be in the
The Singaporean veteran prevailed after 51
minutes, 11-3, 4-11, 13-11, 8-11, 11-9. The victory couldn’t
have come at a better time after Rhamanan was beaten by Pragasm
only a month ago in Australia.
“I’m definitely happy with the win. I lost to him 3-0 in Darwin,
so I knew his strengths and weaknesses. I learned from that
match and went in with a game plan to slow the game down and
push everything to the back, be patient and wait for an
opportunity to play my shots,” said Rhamanan after.
Top seed Henry Leung cruised into the next round after
seeing off Malaysian Ryan Pasqual in straight games. He seemed
slow to start but was nevertheless in control for most parts of
After his 31-minute match, Leung said, “I’m quite satisfied with
my game today, and definitely happy with the outcome. But this
court takes some time getting used to and I’m sure I will play
even better tomorrow. I feel that in comparison to other courts,
it is less bouncy.”
Philippines’ Robert Garcia once again turned the tables
over third seed Valentino Bong in an intense and drama filled
first round encounter, with Bong playing the last few points
with a cramp on his right leg.
Many in the crowd already knew of the rivalry
between the pair and had expected nothing less than an explosive
game. They did not disappoint and it was a feast for the crowd
in the stands with both players making some unbelievable
retrievals, especially in the front court.
“I’m definitely very happy with the win today. We always have
very tough, intense and physical battles, and today was no
different. I had a tough match yesterday, so that made it even
harder today. But because it’s always very intense, it makes me
push myself even more against him,” said Garcia who has now had
more court time than any other player.
Singapore qualifier Benedict Chan fell to India’s Ramit
Tandon in an entertaining match where both players tried to
outsmart each other with their racket skills. Both players do
not hit hard or engage in high intensity
rallies much, but their flair made the match entertaining for
the mostly local crowd in the stands. Tandon’s speed on court,
however, was a notch above Chan’s, and that was what won him the
In the following match, Samuel Kang also lost out to the
experienced James Huang of Chinese Taipei. While it was a
straight games victory for Huang, the fifth seeded tour veteran
was made to work in most of the rallies. Kang was equally as
fast and agile, but Huang’s experience and choosing the right
shots at the right time was clearly superior between the pair.
Second seed Chris Lo of Hong Kong overcame first game
jitters to take out Malaysian qualifier Mohd Farez Izwan 3-1.
The Malaysian came out firing in the first game, racing to 4-1
before Lo catches up to 5-6, after which Izwan nets five points
in a row to take the lead.
The second was the most closely contested, which Lo won, who
afterwards ran away with the following two games with a solid
display of textbook squash that seem to push Izwan to go more
for his shots, many
of which found the tin.
Local wild card Chua Man Chin gave a good account of
himself when he faced fourth seed Elvinn Keo of Malaysia.
The 20-year matched the experienced Malaysian for most parts of
the opening and third game, but was rarely in control.
“It was a good experience out there. I wasn’t
expecting him to be playing at such a pace and he caught me by
surprise. It took me a while to find my space and lengths, but I
eventually got there. In the third game, I just ran out of steam
from playing at the pace he set.
"It will be a learning experience for me to not get too absorbed
into my opponent’s style of play, but rather to play my own
game,” said Man Chin after his first appearance in a PSA main
Chan and Kang double home interest
Alex Wan Reports
Singapore doubled their representation in the main draw of the
Singapore Squash Open 2017 when Benedict Chan and
Samuel Kang beat their fellow compatriots.
In doing so, history is created as this is the highest ever
number of Singaporean players in the main draw of a professional
SEA Games gold medallist Chan was first of them to check
in when he battled through four games to beat his younger
compatriot, Kojiro Tan, in 41 minutes. His win marks the first
time he would be making into the main draw of a PSA event.
While it was rather friendly, it surely was also competitive as
Chan would confirm later :
“It was friendly in there, but definitely competitive. We play
each other at training all the time so we know each other’s game
very well. Of course, I’m happy to make the main draw, which is
my first. When the draw came out, I knew I’d have a chance. With
four of us Singaporeans in the main draw, it’s a good indicator
that the sport is heading towards the right direction here.”
Last year’s wild card, Kang, will make it two consecutive
appearances in the main draw tomorrow after taking out Timothy
Leong in straight games.
The pair, who are playing their first competitive match against
each other, gave the crowd a good display with some top level
squash. But it was the experience of Kang which played the
important points better in each of the games.
Kang said after, “I think I played much better today than
yesterday. I was able to play well throughout the match. It’s
the we’re playing (each other competitively) and I am impressed
with the way he played. There’s four of us in the main draw now,
so it shows the sport is improving in Singapore. At least, we
are pushing players in the region definitely. Hopefully, some of
us will be able to pull off some upsets tomorrow.”
Qualifying top seed Robert Garcia of the Philippines was
pushed to the limits by Malaysian youngster Muhammad Ezzri Nazri
in the opening match of the day. The match was filled with drama
as both players took turns to cramp in the fourth and fifth
game. The lanky Filipino prevailed in the end to book his place
into the main draw.
The first three games were extremely close, with both players
matching each other point to point and all going to the
tie-break. The Malaysian nudged ahead to take the first before
Garcia took the next two in identical 12-10 scores. Garcia
continued to dominate and was ahead for the first half of the
fourth, leading up to 7-5 before the Malaysian won six points in
a row to force the fifth, with Garcia cramping in the last
point. While many would’ve put their money on Nazri at this
point, but the Malaysian failed to capitalise on his opponent’s
condition and played in a passive manner.
Garcia soldiered on and in fact nudged ahead from 3- 3 onwards.
He dominated the Malaysian and at 8-4, his opponent cramped up
and despite the match continuing after that, there was no doubt
who would walk out the winner.
In the final match of the day, Malaysian youngster Mohd Farez
Izwan turned around the first game deficit to win the
following three games convincingly. Scot Graham Melvin started
off with a fast pace, striking the ball with might and went
But the intensity of that game took its toll as his younger
opponent stepped up to run away with the next three games
Qualifying Round One:
Seeds tumble on opening day in
Alex Wan Reports
Four Singaporeans upset the form books today as they made past
the opening qualifying round of the Singapore Squash Open 2017.
That is a remarkable result after only one local went past the
opening qualifying round the previous year.
Benedict Chan led the pack after scoring the first local victory
at the Kallang Squash Centre. The 21-year old fought back twice
in the second and third games to chalk up a 3-0 victory
over Philippines’ David Pelino in just over half an hour.
Having won most of their previous encounters, Chan looked
relaxed on court and came out with a comfortable first
game 11-6. However, things took a turn in the next game as he
fell behind 2-7 but manages to pull it together to squeeze
the game 12-10. Things were similar in the third, with Pelino
leading before Chan used his clearly more superior skills to
carve out a 11-8 win.
“I’m happy to have gotten my first match out of the way. When I
saw the draw, I knew I had a chance as I’ve placed David many
times. I’ve lost to him once but I’ve won all the others. I lost
a bit of focus halfway in the second and third games and gave
away some cheap points. I told myself to focus and things were
back on track after,” said Benedict Chan, after his victory.
Chan’s compatriot, Rayden Tan, was dealt a painful blow after a
wrong step in the second game saw him forfeit the second game
after being a game down. He came back after the injury break to
play the third, but the effects were showing as he won his first
point only after being 0-7 down. His opponent, Malaysia’s Ezzri
Nazri walked out victorious after just 19 minutes on court.
SEA Games silver medallist Timothy Leong doubled the local
interest when he came back gallantly from a game down to upset
another and Filipino, Remark Begornia in an intense match in
just under an hour.
Despite controlling most of the first game, he couldn’t close
out the game. But the national junior assistant coach came back
with a vengeance in the second game, carving out a huge 7-0 lead
which he eventually closes out 11-5.
With a game each, there was everything to play for and both
players displayed amazing athleticism to entertain the nearly
full house crowd in the stands. It was close and both players
had multiple chances to close out the game, but it was Leong who
sneaked in the game eventually 18-16 and walked in a confident
man in the fourth, which he won 11-6.
“I’m quite satisfied with my performance today and most of all,
I kept my cool. I realized I was under a lot of pressure as it’s
quite hard to get around him. I knew he was going to be a tough
opponent as I saw him play at the SEA Games,” said Timothy Leong,
who is playing his professional PSA event.
Kojiro Tan also made it to the qualifying finals after he saw
off qualifying fourth seed Lachlan Coxedge of Australia in
straight games. After struggling in the first game, where he had
to come back from game ball down squeeze through 13-11. He led
in both the second and the third and held on to them to
guarantee Singapore another place in the main draw, as he will
be playing compatriot Benedict Chan in the qualifying final
In the final match of the evening, local Samuel Kang and
Malaysia’sGurshan Singh played the match of the day that went
the full distance. After taking the first two games relatively
comfortably, the tides turned around as Singh made a strong
comeback to win the next two games to force the fifth. It was
the Malaysian who looked more likely to clinch it, leading the
first half of the fifth, before running out of steam as Kang
steadily inched point by point to guarantee Singapore’s second
additional spot on the main draw, which he will play Timothy
Leong for it.
In an earlier all-Malaysian match, Mohammad Farez Izwan beat
Julian Joshua Wong after the latter retired injured with a
twisted ankle, and Scotland’s Melvin Graham ousted qualifying
second seed Shahzad Khan 3-2.
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