All-Malaysia men’s singles final in JB
Former World No 1 Wong Choong Hann beat Taufik Hidayat at his own game when he dominated the net to score an emphatic 21-15, 24-22 win to set up a showdown with compatriot Lee Chong Wei in the men’s singles final of the Malaysia Open Grand Prix Gold tournament in Johor Bahru.
Chong Wei, top seed and current World No 1, had an easy time in his straight games win over India’s Ajay Jayaram in the second semi-final. Chong Wei won 21-16, 21-13.
“He (Taufik) is normally strong at the net and this puts his opponents under pressure to lift the shuttle. But today (Saturday), I anticipated that and beat him at the net,” said Choong Hann.
“It was a good win and I am pleased as this will be my first appearance in a final this year. However, I will definitely start as the underdog against Chong Wei.”
Even Taufik’s trusted weapon – his backhand smash – failed to work as Choong Hann seized control of the match from the start.
Although Taufik was ahead in the second game, leading at one stage 13-6, Choon Hann clawed his way back into the game and kept his composure to score a 24-22 win.
In the women’s singles, it was one three-game encounter too many for France’s Pi Hongyan as she found Hong Kong’s Yip Pui Yin a tough customer to break.
Although Hongyan, the top seed, took the first game easily, 21-10, it failed to lift her game as she committed too many unforced errors to allow Pui Yin back into the game.
The Hong Kong lass seized the opportunity and showing better attack, took the next two games 21-10, 21-11.
“I just don’t know what happened,” lamented Hongyan. “Normally I control the shuttle better and my defence is good but both deserted me in the second game,” added Hongyan who will be competing in the Canada Open and US Open next week.
“It is disappointing to go out this way but I need to focus on my next tournaments.”
Pui Yin will take on compatriot Zhou Mi in the final after the latter stopped Malaysia’s Wong Mew Choo in three games. Zhou Mi won 19-21, 21-12, 21-15.
There, however, was some cheer for the Malaysian camp in the women’s doubles when the Ng siblings – Hui Lin and Hui Ern beat Macau’s Zhang Dan-Zhang Zibo 21-10, 21-11 to book their place in the final.
The Malaysians will play Thailand’s Duanganong Aroonkesorn-Kunchala Voravichitchaikul in the final.
Giantkillers Mak Hee Chun-Tan Wee Kiong displayed none of the cohesion and confidence that proved so effective in their win against World No 1 Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong on Friday, when they bowed out tamely to Indonesia’s Hendra Gunawan-Alvent Yulianto.
The Malaysians were too cautious and paid a heavy price in their 21-13, 21-11 defeat.
Hendra-Alvent will play compatriots and reigning Olympic champions Markis Kido-Hendra Setiawan in the final.
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