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Saturday March 24, 2012

Malaysian teams begin Axiata Cup campaign with victories

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Tigers shrugged off the absence of the injured Lee Chong Wei to post a convincing 3-0 victory over Philippines in their opening Axiata Cup Group K match at the Kuala Lumpur Badmin-ton Stadium yesterday.

Not to be outdone, the second string Malaysian Leopards also made a winning start by overcoming a gritty Singapore 3-0 in Group J of the US$1mil tournament in Jakarta.

Mohd Hafiz Hashim was on song for the Tigers as he swatted aside Marc Zwiebler in the opening match.

The world No. 32 Hafiz thrashed the German import 21-9, 21-7.

“I had full control of the game today and because of that, I had full advantage to set the tempo of the match,” said Hafiz.

Job done: Chooi Kah Ming (left) and Ow Yao Han ranked 149 beat world No. 83 Terry Yeo-Liu Yi 21-14, 15-21, 21-19 in the Axiata Cup in Jakarta yesterday

“But I was careful at all timed because Marc is a good player who is capable of a swift comeback,” said Hafiz of the world No. 17 Zwiebler.

In the doubles tie, the Lim Khim Wah-Goh V Shem pair suffered an early scare after losing the first game 16-21 to Paul Jeeferson Vivas-Ronel Estanislao.

But Khim Wah-V Shem bounced back strongly to claim the winning point for Malaysia by taking the next two games 21-11, 21-8.

The final singles match was another one-sided affair, with Malaysia’s Mohd Arif Latif taking down Antonio Benjamin Gadi 21-14, 21-16.

Fruitful outing: Malaysian Tigers’ Mohd Hafiz Hashim (left) celebrates his 21-9, 21-7 win over Philippines’ German player Marc Zwiebler yesterday. – Bernama

The Malaysia Tigers will next face Thailand, who lost 0-3 to Indonesia Rajawali in their opening tie, today.

Unlike the Tigers, the Malaysian Leopards were made to work hard for their victory.

The match was anything but easy as Singapore looked to catch the inexperienced Leopards off guard in the Group J clash.

World No. 90 Misbun Ramdan was given a real scare in the first singles as he dropped the opening game 20-22 against Robin Gonansa.

But the lanky Misbun recovered from his nervous start to win the next two games 21-12, 21-19.

The 2009 world junior doubles champions Ow Yao Han-Chooi Kah Ming, making their first international appearance since the latter suffered a serious knee injury last June, then stepped up to seal the victory for Malaysia.

Yao Han-Kah Ming, ranked 149th in the world, overcame a nervous second game to seal a 21-14, 15-21, 21-19 win over world No. 83 Terry Yeo-Liu Yi.

“It’s a good result and will do their confidence, especially Kah Ming who has been injured for a long time, a world of good,” said Kim Her.

“They did well to beat the higher ranked Singapore pair and it’s all down to the hard work they have put in. “Many have said that we don’t take care of our juniors but I clearly have Yao Han-Kah Ming in my plans.”

In the dead rubber, world and Asian junior champion Zulfadli Zulkifli overcame a slow start to beat the energetic Huang Chao 17-21, 21-16, 21-16.

The Leopards take on Vietnam in their next game today.

Group J: Malaysia Leopards bt Singapore 3-0 (Misbun Ramdan Misbun bt Robin Gonansa20-22, 21-12, 21-19; Ow Yao Han-Chooi Kah Ming bt Terry Yeo-Liu Yi 21-14,15-21, 21-19; Zulfadli Zulkifli bt Huang Chao 17-21, 21-16, 21-16);

Indonesia Garuda bt Vietnam 3-0 (Taufik Hidayat bt Nguyen Tien Minh 16-21, 21-18, 21-15; Mohamad Ahsan-Bona Septano bt Nguyen Hoang Hai-Duong Bao Duc 21-10, 21-16; Sony Dewi Kuncoro bt Nguyen Hoang Nam 21-10, 21-9).

Group K: Indonesia Rajawali bt Thailand 3-0 (Tommy Sugiarto bt Boonsak Ponsana 21-17, 23-21; Alvent Yulianto-Hendra Gunawan bt Manee-pong Jongjit-Nipithon Phuangphuapet 23-21-21-19; Dionysius Hayum Rumbaka bt Suppanyu Avihing-sanon 21-13, 21-17);

Malaysia Tigers bt Philippines 3-0 (Mohd Hafiz Hashim bt Marc Zwiebler 21-9, 21-7; Lim Khim Wah-Goh V Shem bt Paul Jefferson Vivas-Ronel Estani-slao 16-21, 21-11, 21-8;

Mohd Arif Latif bt Antonio Benjamin Gadi 21-14, 21-16).

Today’s Fixtures

(All Malaysian time)

Group J

1pm: Indonesia Garuda vs Singapore

followed by Malaysian Leopards vs Vietnam

Group K

6.30pm: Malaysian Tigers vs Thailand

followed by Indonesia Rajawali vs Philippines


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