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Monday March 25, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Wednesday April 24, 2013 MYT 1:57:01 PM
by kng zheng guan
SURABAYA: The Asia All Stars upset the form-book at the US$1mil Axiata Cup after staging an impressive performance to hold defending champions Indonesia to a 2-2 draw at the DBL Arena yesterday.
Indonesia came into the tournament as the team to beat, having the fanatical home crowd behind them and having an impressive record in team tournaments.
But Hong Kong No.1 Yip Pui Yin, had other ideas as she silenced the noisy crowd by beating Aprillia Yuswandari in women’s singles.
The world No.27 was in inspired mood to defeat Yuswandari, ranked a spot higher than her, 21-14, 21-12.
Retired South Korean shuttler Lee Hyun-il then showed that he still has what it takes at the highest level to beat Simon Santoso in the men’s singles tie.
Hyun-il took a closely contested first game, and despite Santoso forcing a deciding rubber, was just too good in the end, winning 21-19, 14-21, 21-17.
Asia All Stars then had the chance to deal a demoralising defeat to Indonesia but mixed pair Tarun Kona-Ashwini Ponnappa failed to get the better of world No.8 Muhammad Rijal-Debby Susanto, losing 11-21, 21-19,14-21.
Young Indonesian pair Angga Pratama-Ryan Agung Saputra then sealed the comeback by beating Zheng Bo-Bao Chunlai 21-12, 21-14.
“It’s not exactly disappointing, getting held here, but I would have preferred if we had won,” said Indonesian team manager Bambang Roedyanto.
“Aprillia had a slight injury while Simon was up against an opponent who played superbly despite his age. A draw though is better than nothing and we’ll look forward to the second leg with a full strength squad.”
The likes of All-England mixed doubles champion Tontowi Ahmad-Liliyana Natsir, and world No.4 Sony Dwi Kuncoro could play in the second leg from March 29-31.
Thailand also showed just how serious they are in this tournament after recording a 4-0 win over Vietnam.
It was their third win in four matches and the Thais currently lead the eight-team tournament with a total of 13 points.
“I’m really happy because the team performed well above expectations,” said team manager Udom Luangphetcharaporn.
“What is really surprising is how well the whole team rallied together despite losing several regulars, like doubles player Bodin Isaara who is injured.
“Our target is first to make the semi-finals and then the final and we hope to maintain our position in the top four next week,” added Udom.
The tournament will take a one-week break before returning for the second leg in which half will be held in Kuala Lumpur. The other half then will continue to be held at Surabaya.
Meanwhile, Malaysia will head home for the second leg on a high after beating Europe All Stars 3-1.
Tee Jing Yi as expected, lost the women’s singles tie 12-21, 21-17, 13-21 to Spanish teenager Carolina Marin but world No.14 Liew Daren put Malaysia back on equal terms by beating Scott Evans 22-20, 21-19.
World No. 5 mixed pair Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying once again came back from a game down to beat Nathan Robertson-Jenny Wallwork 19-21, 21-16, 21-14 to hand Malaysia a 2-1 lead.
Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong then wrapped up the win by beating Russians Ivan Sozonov-Vladimir Ivanov 21-14, 21-17.
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