PETALING JAYA: Youngsters Wan Arif Wan Junaidi and Haikal Nazri made a bold declaration last year of their intent to conquer the world as a pair.
And yesterday, the duo showed they are on track to reach their goal when they made it to the final of the Austrian Open in Graz after defeating experienced Mads Pieler Kolding-Frederik Sogaard of Denmark 21-13,22-20.
It was only their second senior appearance and the two 18-year-olds have certainly given head coach Flandi Limpele a good reason to be happy.
They staged a remarkable comeback in the second game saving four game points at 16-20 to prevent their opponents from forcing a rubber game.
Wan Arif-Haikal’s victory over the Portuguese International Series champions Kolding-Sogaard helped to avenge teammates Chang Yee Jun-Chia Wei Jie’s defeat in the last-eight.
Wan Arif-Haikal will take on French pair Lucas Corvee-Ronan Labar, the fifth seeds, in the final.
Wan Arif-Haikal did well in junior tournaments last year when they came in runners-up at the Dutch Junior International and went one step better to win the German Junior Open.
The pair had requested for their partnership to be retained after reaching the quarter-finals of the 2019 World Junior Championships in Kazan, Russia.
“We believe we can reach greater heights. We have a lot in common that make us click well.
“We have the same character on court and we’re also unique as we’re both left-handed and hail from the east coast, ” said Haikal in an interview with StarSport last December.
“I’m Kelantanese and Arif is from Terengganu. It’s special because there aren’t many doubles combo from there.
Arif echoed Haikal thoughts, saying that they have been dreaming about conquering the world together.
“We share the same ambition – to be the world No. 1, ” he said.
Malaysia are also in the running for the women’s doubles and mixed doubles titles.
Anna Cheong-Yap Cheng Wen will have a chance to clinch their first victory in their second tournament together while Choong Hon Jian-Toh Ee Wei are just a step away from completing a hattrick of wins after triumphing at the Polish Open and last week’s Slovenian International Series.
Men’s singles: Panji Ahmad Maulana (Ina) bt Kevin Cordon (Gua) 21-14,26-24; Arnaud Merkle (Fra) bt Ihsan Maulana Mustofa (Ina) 21-14,21-16.
Men’s doubles: Wan Arif Wan Junaidi-Haikal Nazri (Mas) bt Mads Pieler Kolding-Frederik Sogaard (Den) 21-13,22-20; Lucas Corvee-Ronan Labar (Fra) bt Daniel Hess-Johannes Pistorius (Ger) 21-11,21-10.
Women’s singles: Clara Aruzmendi (Spa) bt Irina Amalie Andersen (Den) 18-21,21-19,21-15; Yaelle Hoyaux (Fra) bt Beatriz Corrales (Spa) 15-21,21-15,21-16.
Women’s doubles: Anna Cheong-Yap Cheng Wen (Mas) bt Clara Aruzmendi-Beatriz Corrales (Spa) 21-11,17-21,21-11; Ni Ketut Mahadewi Istarani-Serena Kani (Ina) bt Aline Muller-Jenji Stadelmann (Sui) 21-12,21-10.
Mixed doubles: Choong Hon Jian-Toh Ee Wei (Mas) bt Beh Chun Meng-Cheng Su Hui (Mas) 21-16,19-21,21-13; William Villeger-Sharone Bauer (Fra) bt Emil Hybel-Elisa Melgaard (Den) 21-15,19-21,21-11.
(Matches involving Malaysians only)
Men’s doubles: Wan Arif Wan Junaidi-Haikal Nazri (Mas) bt Emil Lauritzen-Mads Vestergaard (Den) 18-21,21-19,21-12; Mads Pieler Kolding-Frederik Sogaard (Den) bt Chang Yee Jun-Chia Wei Jie (Mas) 20-22,21-12,21-18.
Women’s doubles: Clara Aruzmendi-Beatriz Corrales (Spa) bt Low Yeen Yuan-Valeree Siow (Mas) 22-20,21-11; Anna Cheong-Yap Cheng Wen (Mas) bt Dominika Kwasnik-Kornelia Marczak (Pol) 21-13,21-13.
Mixed doubles: Beh Chun Meng-Cheng Su Hui (Mas) bt Mads Vestergaard-Natasja Anthonisen (Den) 21-18,22-20; Choong Hon Jian-Toh Ee Wei (Mas) bt Miha Ivanic-Nika Arih (Slo) 21-7,21-12.