Joy for Iskandar, tears of regret for Zulfadli in Malaysian Masters


(BRIEF CAPTION) Malaysia's single player Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin celebrates after beating China's Xue Song in the third round of the Malaysia Master badminton tournament at SPICE Arena in Penang .Star pic by: ZHAFARAN NASIB/The Star / 21 January 2016.

GEORGE TOWN: Shuttler Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin was jumping in joy but Zulfadli Zulkiffli was left in tears at the Malaysian Masters.

A pumped-up Iskandar continued his fantastic run when he upstaged world No. 30 Xue Song of China 21-17, 18-21, 21-12 to reach the quarter-finals at the SPICE Arena in Relau.

He is the only Malaysian to join national No. 1 Lee Chong Wei in the men’s singles last eight. Iskandar will take on Hong Kong’s rising star Angus Ng Ka Long for a place in the semi-finals while Chong Wei, who dumped Derek Wong of Singapore 21-10, 21-10, will face Ajay Jayaram of India.

Iskandar, who had ousted Anthony Ginting of Indonesia 21-18, 21-13 in the second round, was happy to come through the early rounds.

“I finished my second-round match after midnight and today I had to play early. It was quite tough but I recovered well,” said Iskandar.

“Xue Song was solid in defence and I really had to dig deep to win. Mentally, I was stronger today.

“I am determined to go one level higher in my career this year. I want to prove myself,” said the 24-year-old Iskandar.

Independent shuttler Zulfadli, Goh Soon Huat and Soo Teck Zhi all crashed out in the third round.

For Zulfadli, the defeat was a bitter pill to swallow.

(BRIEF CAPTION) Malaysia men single player Zulfadli Zulkiffli frustrated after losing to India player Jayaram Ajay during the third round of the Malaysia Master badminton tournament at SPICE Arena in Penang .Star pic by: ZHAFARAN NASIB/The Star / 21 January 2016.
Zulfadli

The 22-year-old was on the brink of victory but squandered a nine-point lead in the decider before going down 21-11, 8-21, 20-22 to India’s Ajay Jayaram.

He had raced to a commanding 18-10 lead in the decider. And it all went wrong after he questioned a line call and lost his composure. He then went on to take a 20-11 lead but allowed the Indian to stage a remarkable comeback to clinch a dramatic win.

In the men’s doubles, veterans Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong stayed steady to check into the quarter-finals after a 21-12, 21-18 win over Lee Jhe-huei-Lee Yang of Taiwan. They will next meet Japan’s Hiroyuki Saeki-Ryota Taohata.

Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong also reached the last eight. They will also face Japanese rivals, taking on Takeshi Kamura-Keigo Sonoda.

Malaysia’s interest in the women’s competition came to an end with the surprise defeat of eighth seeds Woon Khe Wei-Vivian Hoo. The national No. 1 lost 10-21, 19-21 to unheralded Du Yue-Li Yinhui of China.

In the mixed doubles, Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying and Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing continued to keep the Jalur Gemilang flying.

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