PETALING JAYA: Shuttler Cheam June Wei (pic) has certainly put his career back on track.
The 20-year-old, once a promising junior, extended his red-hot form in the Malaysian International Series as he beat SEA Games teammate Lee Zii Jia to reach the final in Putrajaya yesterday.
June Wei, who had already stunned top seed and world No. 61 Vladimir Malkov of Russia in the third round, oozed confidence as he claimed a 21-17, 21-19 semi-final win over fourth seed Zii Jia.
The win was the perfect tonic for the world No. 148, who was limited to just four tournaments last year due to back and knee injuries, as he was making his first senior appearance.
The Penangite will take on former junior teammate Loh Kean Yew for the title.
The 20-year-old Kean Yew, who now represents Singapore, defeated another Malaysian youngster, 19-year-old Tan Jia Wei 21-10, 18-21, 21-14.
“I think I got lucky against Zii Jia because I was actually trailing 9-15 in the second game,” said June Wei.
“Maybe he got nervous and lost focus but I’m definitely excited to be in a final for the first time, especially since I’ve struggled with injuries last year. Hopefully, this is the kind of result I need.
“It will be tough against Kean Yew as we trained together when we were 12. But I feel confident about my chances,” added June Wei.
Malaysia are already guaranteed two titles as the men’s doubles and women’s singles events will be an all-Malaysian affair.
Men’s singles: Loh Kean Yew (Sin) bt Tan Jia Wei (Mas) 21-10, 18-21, 21-14; Cheam June Wei (Mas) bt Lee Zii Jia (Mas) 21-17, 21-19.
Men’s doubles: Lee Jian Yi-Lim Zhen Ting (Mas) bt Mohd Razif Latif-Bagus Harya (Mas-Ina) 21-9, 21- 17; Chen Tang Jie-Soh Wooi Yik (Mas) bt Nur Mohd Azriyn Ayub-Jagdish Singh (Mas) 21-14, 21-19.
Women’s singles: Lee Ying Ying (Mas) bt Thamolwan Poopradubsil (Tha) 12-21, 21-14, 21-9; S. Kisona (Mas) bt M. Thinaah (Mas) 15-21, 21-17, 21-12.
Women’s doubles: Soong Fie Cho-Tee Jing Yi (Mas) bt Ririn Amelia-Anna Cheong (Ina-Mas) 21-17, 19-21, 21-12; Kittipak Dubthuk-Natcha Saengchote (Tha) bt Pattaranan Chamnaktan-Thanyasuda Wongya (Tha) 21-15, 21-9
Mixed doubles: K. Nandagopal-Mahima Aggarwal (Ind) bt Lim Zhen Ting-Chin Kah Mun (Mas) 21-13, 21-17; Yantoni Edy Saputra-Marsheilla Gischa Islami (Ina) bt Andika Ramadiansyah-Mychelle Crhystine Bandaso (Ina) 21-17, 22-20.