Great wall in Sze Fei-Izzuddin’s way as they seek elusive Asian title


Staying steady: Goh Sze Fei (right) watches as Nur Izzuddin Rumsani returns a shot to Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik during their Asian Championships men’s doubles semi-final match. — AFP

PETALING JAYA: Will it be third time’s the charm for Malaysia in the men’s doubles in the Asian Championships?

Once again, Malaysia will have a representative in the men’s doubles final after Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin Rumsani brilliantly turned the tables on teammates Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik in the semi-finals in Ningbo, China, yesterday.

The world No. 19 played with intelligence and aggression to upstage world No. 5 Aaron-Wooi Yik 21-14, 21-18 in 40 minutes and got their sweet revenge. They had lost to the former world champions at the same stage in last year’s edition.

It was only Sze Fei-Izzuddin’s second win over their more illustrious compatriots in eight meetings in international competitions.

The former have now made it into their first final since capturing the World Tour Super 100 Abu Dhabi Masters last October.

Sze Fei-Izzuddin now have the opportunity to get it right for the country in the tournament after Aaron-Wooi Yik and independent pair Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi finished runners-up in the 2022 and 2023 editions respectively.

The pair, who also toppled South Korea’s reigning world champions Kang Min-hyuk-Seo Seung-jae and Taiwan’s Olympic gold medallists Lee Yang-Wang Chi-lin en route to the final, have another tough task in the title match today against home favourites and world No. 3 Liang Weikeng-Wang Chang.

Weikeng-Wang Chang beat Taiwan’s world No. 14 Lee Jhe-huei-Yang Po-hsuan 21-17, 21-17 to book their spot in the final.

Men’s doubles coach Tan Bin Shen was pleased with Sze Fei-Izzuddin’s performance and has called on his charges to finish the tournament on a high.

“It’s good to see Sze Fei and Izzuddin make a comeback,” said Bin Shen.

“They lost twice to Aaron-Wooi Yik in the Malaysian Open and All-England this year, so it’s great to see their spirit and strong desire to win this time.

“They have played well since the first round in this tournament. Hopefully, they can keep this spirit and stay consistent in the final tomorrow (today),” added Bin Shen.

While Weikeng-Wang Chang will have home support behind them and are superior when it comes to ranking, Sze Fei-Izzuddin can take heart after giving the former a run for their money before narrowly going down 21-16, 11-21, 17-21 in their only meeting so far in the 2023 Malaysian Open.

RESULTS

Men’s singles: Jonatan Christie (Ina) bt Shi Yuqi (Chn) 18-21, 21-19, 21-12.

Men’s doubles: Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin Rumsani (Mas) bt Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik (Mas) 21-14, 21-18; Liang Weikeng-Wang Chang (Chn) bt Lee Jhe-huei-Yang Po-hsuan (Tpe) 21-17, 21-17.

Women’s singles: Chen Yufei (Chn) bt Han Yue (Chn) 21-15, 21-16; Wang Zhiyi (Chn) bt He Bingjiao (Chn) 21-19, 21-17.

Women’s doubles: Zhang Shuxian-Zheng Yu (Chn) bt Chen Qingchen-Jia Yifan (Chn) 21-14, 21-16; Baek Ha-na-Lee So-hee (Kor) bt Liu Shengshu-Tan Ning (Chn) 12-21, 21-18, 21-12.

Mixed doubles: Seo Seung-jae-Chae Yujung (Kor) bt Zheng Siwei-Huang Yaqiong (Chn) 9-21, 21-13, 21-16.

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