Kisona stuns Thai shuttler to march into final

Nothing is impossible: S. Kisona will play Ruselli Hartawan of Indonesia for the gold in today’s final.

SHUTTLER S. Kisona was not expected to go far but she pulled off a big surprise to storm into the women’s singles final on a day Malaysia made four finals in the badminton competition at the Muntinlupa Sports Complex.

Yesterday, Kisona stole the thunder when she saved two match points in the second game to clinch a 11-21, 27-25, 21-14 win over second seed and world No. 22 Nitchaon Jindapol of Thailand.

The world No. 104 Kisona takes on Ruselli Hartawan of Indonesia, who was also equally impressive when she gunned down top seed Pornpawee Chochuwong of Thailand.

Kisona was included in the individual event as a replacement for defending champion Goh Jin Wei, who opted out of the Games due to a stomach ailment.

The third ranked Malaysian player was on cloud nine.

“It’s like a dream! I’ve never thought that I will reach the final in my debut, but I’ve made it happen,” said a jubilant Kisona.

“Yesterday’s win (against third seed Gregoria Mariska Tunjung of Indonesia) really got me going. I’ve the self-belief that nothing is impossible as long as I don’t give up and apply whatever I’ve learned in training.

“I will be going into tomorrow’s (today’s) final with the same mindset. I’ve no pressure.”

All others – Lee Zii Jia (men’s singles), Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik (men’s doubles) and Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai Jemie (mixed doubles) lived up to their billing as the second seeds to reach their respective finals.

Zii Jia was in his element as he outclassed Thailand’s Sitthikorn Thammasin 21-12, 21-9 in 31 minutes to set up a title clash against childhood rival and Penang-born Loh Kean Yew of Singapore.

Zii Jia is anticipating a tougher encounter against the much-improved Kean Yew, who showed his intent of winning the gold by upstaging top seed Kantaphon Wangcharoen of Thailand 16-21, 21-6, 21-9 in another semi-finals yesterday.

“He’s on fire, I don’t think I’m going to have it easy against him this time.

“He didn’t only beat Kantaphon, he did the same against Indonesia’s Shesar (Hiren Rhustavito) in the quarter-finals,” said Zii Jia.

While Zii Jia is aiming to reclaim the title last won by Chong Wei Feng in Singapore 2015, Kean Yew is eyeing to become his nation’s first-ever men’s singles champion in the SEA Games history.

Meanwhile, Malaysia’s hopes of having all-Malaysian finals in the men’s doubles and mixed doubles was foiled with the semi-final defeats of Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi and and Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing respectively.

Aaron-Wooi Yik take on Bodin Isara-Maneepong Jongjit of Thailand while Soon Huat-Shevon face Indonesian top seeds Praveen Jordan-Melati Daeva Oktavianti.

Aaron-Wooi Yik, who played in the last match of the day, nearly missed the boat but stayed solid at crucial moments to secure a hard-fought 21-12, 18-21, 21-19 win over Wahyu Nayaka Arya Pangkaryanira-Ade Yusuf Santoso of Indonesia.

Wooi Yik said he was inspired by his teammates who had booked their spots in the finals earlier the day.

“I was so happy and equally excited when Zii Jia and Kisona successfully made it to the finals. I’m in the same batch with them, so I told myself that I must join them and I did!
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