Ng Eain Yow led from the front as Malaysia edged Colombia 2-1 to advance to the knockout stage of the Men’s World Team Squash Championship in Washington DC on Tuesday.
Malaysia finished runners-up in Pool C to France, who routed South Korea 3-0 for their third consecutive win, and set up a second round meeting with fifth seeds Germany on Wednesday. The winner of that tie will take on top seeds Egypt in the quarter-finals.
Malaysian No 1 Eain Yow upstaged World No 10 Miguel Rodriguez 11-9, 13-11, 13-15, 11-8 to give Malaysia a flying start before Syafiq Kamal downed Ronald Palomino 11-6, 13-15, 11-8, 11-9 at third-string for an unassailable 2-0 lead.
Juan Camilo Vargas prevented a Malaysian sweep in a highly competitive match against Ivan Yuen, going the distance for a 11-9, 7-11, 11-8, 4-11, 12-10 win.
World No 31 Eain Yow could have sealed his win over former fourth-ranked Rodriguez in three games but squandered three match points before recovering in the fourth game.
“I know Yow can raise his level when he puts on the Malaysian shirt, it’s something he did for us last year at the Asian Games when he beat Leo (Au) in the decider,” said Malaysia coach Andrew Cross, referring to the team event final against Hong Kong in Jakarta.
“He can put in those kind of performances. To beat a guy who’s been up at the top of the world rankings is impressive. It was great that he got us off to a great start.
“I thought he’d won it when he was 10-7 up in the third, and there were three pretty easy drop shots that he missed. But he really got back into it. It really was the performance of the day!
“Syafiq could then play with a little bit less pressure than if we’d been one down. There are no easy matches in this team event. I thought he handled it okay. It was nice to have it wrapped up two-love.”
Malaysia, after finishing 12th in the last championship four years ago, have beaten a unified Germany team all three times they have met in the competition, the last a 3-0 win in 2009.
“That was what we wanted to do, make sure of a finish in the top 12. Originally, we had USA in our pool and that would have been tough and Colombia represented a different challenge. We knew Colombia was going to be our match,” added Cross.
Pool A: Switzerland 2 United States 1
Pool B: Wales 2 Canada 1, England 3 Nigeria 0
Pool C: France 3 South Korea 0, Malaysia 2 Colombia 1
Pool D: Scotland 3 Ireland 0, New Zealand 3 Singapore 0
Pool E: Germany 3 South Africa 0, Spain 3 Argentina 0
Pool F: Hong Kong 3 Kuwait 0, Australia 3 Jamaica 0
Malaysia v Germany
Hong Kong v Wales
Switzerland v Spain
Australia v New Zealand