GEORGE TOWN: Let’s make it an all-Malaysian affair.
That is Lee Chong Wei’s wish as the world No. 5 and Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin both made it into the semi-finals of the Malaysian Masters at the SPICE Arena in Relau.
Chong Wei had his hands full when he had to fend off a gritty Ajay Jayaram of India before coming through his quarter-final match with a 21-16, 21-16 win.
The 24-year-old Iskandar continued his amazing run when he upstaged world No. 18 Angus Ng Ka Long of Hong Kong 21-11, 21-15 in just 36 minutes.
Chong Wei will take on Indonesia’s Tommy Sugiarto while Iskandar has a tough battle against second seed K. Srikanth of India.
The 33-year-old Chong Wei was pleased to see Iskandar’s great run in the tournament.
“This is a good start for Iskandar. There have not been a young player so determined like him in recent times,” said Chong Wei.
“He knows what he wants now. He has been training with me and is now reaping the results of his hard work. I hope he will keep it going.
“It has been so long since we had an all-Malaysia final and it will be nice to see it happen here,” he said.
Since the inception of the Malaysian Masters in 2009, only once saw an all-Malaysian affair in the final – in 2010, when Chong Wei defeated Wong Choong Hann.
Chong Wei said he will have to step up his game against Tommy.
“Ajay made my life difficult by sending all this unexpected shots, which made me quite uncomfortable. I have to play better tomorrow,” added Chong Wei.
Iskandar was all smiles with his latest scalp and aims to keep the momentum going.
“I believe I have overcome a huge barrier today. Usually, I will crumble after taking a lead over a higher ranked player but today, I managed to overcome that,” he said.
“I am looking forward to take on Srikanth.
“I have everything going for me here and hopefully I can pull off another upset.”