TWO Kedah shuttlers qualified for the finals of the Maybank National Circuit Grand Prix but failed to win their respective crowns at the Kedah BA hall in Jalan Suka Menanti.
South paw Chong Wei Feng, the 2008 Sukma Games singles champion and this year’s Selangor Open champion, was outsmarted by Misbun Ramdan Misbun in three eventful games in the final.
Ramdan of Selangor lost the first game at 13-21 but bounced back to win the next in a closely fought game at 21-18 and continued to maintain his grip on the match in the deciding third game.
The 21-year-old established a five-point lead from the start in the deciding third game against the World No. 21 Wei Feng.
From 16-11, Wei Feng clawed his way back to draw level at 16-all. Ramdan realising the danger posed by his opponent, regained his composure to take the next two points for a 18-16 lead.
Although Wei Feng pulled one back to close the gap to 17-18, Ramdan quickly won the next two points to be within a point of winning the match at 20-17. Wei Feng won the next point to make it 18-20 but his hopes of forcing deuce ended in vain as he netted a return for Ramdan to win at 21-18.
The victory on Sunday night gave Ramdan his first national title, and he also become the third member of the Sidek family to do so following in the footsteps of his father Misbun (six-time winner) and uncle Rashid (four times).
“My approach in the first game was a mistake as I was drawn to play a fast-paced match by Wei Feng, but I changed my tactics in the second game to a much slower pace.
“This worked fine as Wei Feng began to make many unforced errors in trying to exert his superiority,” said Ramdan after the match.
Wei Feng, on the other hand, gave credit to Ramdan’s display.
“Ramdan has improved a lot since our last meeting in the Selangor Open earlier this year, when I won in straight games.
“I was so close to my first national crown. I have to work harder to fine-tune my game to face the challenges from several fronts,” added a down-hearted Wei Feng.
Ramdan pocketed a cash prize of RM7,000 while Wei Feng received RM3,600 for his efforts.
Earlier in the semi-finals, Ramdan had beaten former junior world champion Zulfadli Zulkifli 21-13, 21-16 while Wei Feng beat Goh Soon Huat 21-10, 21-14.
French Open champion Liew Daren, who was top seeded for the tournament, never made it to the semi-finals.
In the mixed doubles, Kedah’s Lim Khim Wah, a local favourite, and his partner Vivian Hoo Kah Mun (Kuala Lumpur) went down inexplicably against the Kuala Lumpur-Sabah combination of Goh V Shem-Soong Fie Cho in three games of 18-21, 21-7, 19-21.
Fourth seeded Khim Wah and Vivian were expected to win the mixed doubles title based on their earlier Group A performance where they had easily defeated V Shem and Fie Cho in straight games of 21-16, 21-17.
After losing the first game at 18-21, Khim Wah and Vivian showed their true form in the second game with a 21-7 win, but they were once again bogged down by their erratic display in the third to let slip the title.
The champions won RM3,200 while the losers got half the amount.
In other events, it was heartbreak for the Cheah siblings Lydia and Sonia when they failed to win any of the finals they contested.
National champion Lydia Cheah Li Ya (Kuala Lumpur) lost her grip on the title to Tee Jing Yi whom she had beaten in last year’s final.
Jing Yi exacted revenge with a 21-18, 23-21 victory to pocket RM4,000 while Lydia won RM2,000.
Lydia had won the title last year after three failed attempts in 2006, 2008 and 2009.
There was more heartbreak for Lydia as she and Sonia lost the women’s doubles final to the Sabah combination of Amelia Alicia Anscelly and Fie Cho in three games of 21-14, 21-23 and 13-21.
The champions pocketed RM4,800 while the runners-up took home RM2,400.
Results (all finals):
Men’s singles: Misbun Ramdan Misbun (Sel) bt Chong Wei Feng (Ked) 13-21, 21-18, 21-18.
Doubles: Hoon Thien How-Tan Wee Kiong (Kul-Joh) bt Chooi Kah Ming-Ow Yao Han (Pah-Mal) 21-14, 21-15.
Women’s singles: Tee Jing Yi (Pen) bt Lydia Cheah (Kul) 21-18, 23-21.
Doubles: Amelia Alicia Anscelly-Soong Fie Cho (Sab) bt Lydia Cheah-Sonia Cheah (Kul) 14-21, 23-21, 21-13.
Mixed doubles: Goh V Shem-Soong Fie Cho (Kul-Sab) bt Lim Khim Wah-Vivian Hoo Kah Mun (Ked-Kul) 21-18, 7-21, 21-19.