Tze Yong prevails in pressure cooker to smash down men’s singles gold

Bright for the big stage: Ng Tze Yong in action against Leong Jun Hao in the men’s singles. — FAIHAN GHANI/The Star

NATIONAL men’s singles shuttler Ng Tze Yong passed his test with flying colours in the Malaysia Games (Sukma) yesterday by not caving under pressure.

It was the first tournament that Tze Yong had competed in as the overwhelming favourite but the Johorean justified his top seeding when he came from behind to subdue Federal Territories’ Leong Jun Hao 18-21, 21-19, 21-12 in a thrilling 80-minute final at the Axiata Arena in Bukit Jalil.

The 22-year-old Tze Yong was glad to come through the match and credited Jun Hao for his battling display.

“I’m so happy and proud to win this gold for Johor. Jun Hao played really well in the first two games,” said Tze Yong.

“He really pushed me hard and it was a 50-50 match. In the third, he couldn’t maintain his speed and I capitalised on it. That was the key to my win.

“Overall, I’m satisfied with my performances in this Sukma. I faced a big test in whether I could handle the pressure as the top seed and I’m happy that I handled it well,” he added.

The Birmingham Commonwealth Games silver medallist now wants to maintain his good form in his next two tournaments – the Indonesia International Challenge (Oct 11-16) and the Indonesia Masters (Oct 18-23).

The International Challenge will be a warm-up for Tze Yong before the higher-tier Masters as he had chosen to skip the Vietnam Open, which starts on Tuesday.

“I hope to maintain my form in the next tournaments. I also want to keep improving myself. I’m not setting any specific targets in Indonesia but will keep focusing on one match at a time,” said Tze Yong, who is ranked 36th in the world.

Meanwhile, Tee Kai Wun and Toh Ee Wei brought joy to Melaka when they won the mixed, men’s and women’s doubles titles.

In mixed doubles, the top seeds secured the gold when they ended the gallant run of unseeded Kelantan pair Mohd Haikal Nazri-Chan Wen Tse with a 21-16, 21-13 win.

Kai Wun then combined with Tan Kok Xian to beat Johor’s Lwi Sheng Hao-Yap Roy King 21-16, 21-17 in the men’s doubles.

In women’s doubles, Ee Wei-Yap Ling came out on top against Kedah’s Chen Su Hui-Cheng Su Yin after a hard-fought 21-12, 25-27, 21-16 victory in 81 minutes.

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