PETALING JAYA: Best friends Timmy Tan and Rafiq Ismail will face off to assure one ticket for Malaysia in the men’s singles semi-final of the IBF World Cup.
The bowlers won their respective men’s round-of-16 matches at the Suncity Tenpin Bowl in Queensland, Australia, yesterday to set up an all-Malaysian affair in today’s quarter-finals.
Rafiq, 25, was imperious against Swede and reigning World Cup winner James Blomgren, winning 225-167 and 259-190.
When asked how he felt after packing off Blomgren, Rafiq enthused: “Yes, I took down the world champion. It’s crazy. I’m glad I made it to the next round.
“The pressure was different, but I can’t show it to my opponent. I had to put on a fierce face.”
In the round of 32, he took down Puerto Rico’s Israel Hernandez 204-193 and 190-185.
Rafiq said it wouldn’t be easy playing against his best pal Timmy but promised to be at his competitive best.
“It’s hard, but at least we know one of us will be in the semi-finals. I hope Syafiq (Ridhwan Abdul Malek) will win his quarter-final match too, because if he wins, then Malaysia is guaranteed a final spot.”
Timmy, who beat the United States’ Jakob Butturff 226-171 and 219-123, is looking forward to the roll-off against Rafiq.
“Both games were very good – I can put it that way. I didn’t think much about the outcome and I focused mainly on putting every ball in the pocket,” said Timmy.
“It will be an interesting one against Rafiq. May the best bowler win.”
Syafiq beat Sweden’s Jesper Svensson in the round of 16 but had to endure a nail-biting third game before prevailing 226-218, 196-203, 256-204.
He will take on Germany’s Patrick Weichert in the quarter-finals.
Tun Ameerul Hakim Tun Hasnul Azam faltered in the round of 16 after losing to Hong Kong’s Michael Mak 258-171, 201-214, 179-200.
In the women’s singles, only Natasha Roslan qualified for the quarter-finals after beating the US’ Jordan Richard 246-182 and 234-170.
Sin Li Jane and Siti Safiyah Amirah Abdul Rahman lost their round-of-16 matches to Sweden’s Josefin Hermansson and Germany’s Birgit Noreiks, respectively.
Natasha will take on Noreiks next.
Round of 16
Men’s singles: Rafiq Ismail bt James Blomgren (Swe) 2-0 (225-167, 259-190), Timmy Tan bt Jakob Butturff (US) 2-0 (226-171, 219-213), Syafiq Ridhwan Abdul Malek bt Jesper Svensson (Swe) 2-1 (226-218, 196-203, 256-204), Tun Ameerul Hakim Tun Hasnul Azam lost to Michael Mak (Hkg) 1-2 (258-171, 201-214, 179-200).
Women’s singles: Natasha Roslan bt Jordan Richard (US) 2-1 (246-182, 234-170), Siti Safiyah Amirah Abdul Rahman lost to Birgit Noreiks (Ger) 1-2 (206-215, 243-215, 237-286), Sin Li Jane lost to Josefin Hermansson (Swe) 1-2 (257-241, 227-237, 204-226).