Fairuzizuan-Woon Fui the stars of the day with upset win

BIGGEST WIN: Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari (front) and Lin Woon Fui stunned Chinese title-holders Cai Yun-Fu Haifeng.

BIRMINGHAM: It was a historic day for Malaysia when three men’s doubles pairs reached the quarter-finals for the first time in the All-England badminton championships at the National Indoor Arena here on Thursday. 

Just a day after Choong Tan Fook-Lee Wan Wah knocked out top seeds Candra Wijaya-Sigit Budiarto of Indonesia, national champions Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari-Lin Woon Fui pulled off another major upset, putting on a classy show to bundle out title-holders Cai Yun-Fu Haifeng of China. 

Back-up shuttlers Fairuzizuan and Woon Fui took only 41 minutes to shock the third seeded Chinese 15-3, 15-6 in the third round to notch the biggest win of their career. 

There was more good news when Gan Teik Chai-Mohd Zakry Abdul Latif, who are competing in the All-England for the first time as a pair, upset eighth seeds Jonas Rasmussen-Peter Steffensen of Denmark 13-15, 15-8, 15-7. 

Tan Fook-Wan Wah, the 2004 All-England runners-up, continued their good run, defeating Japanese Keita Masuda-Tadashi Ohtsuka 15-11, 15-12 to qualify for the last eight. 

But there was agony for one other Malaysian pair.  

Seventh seeds Chan Chong Ming-Koo Kien Keat conceded a walkover to South Koreans Jae-sung-Yong-dae after trailing 0-10 in the first game.  

Chong Ming, who suffered a stomach ailment on Tuesday, gave up when the pain recurred. 

Tough matches, meanwhile, are in store for all the three pairs who made it to the quarter-finals. 

Youngsters Fairuzizuan-Woon Fui will take on Denmark’s Thomas Laybourn-Lars Paaske, who knocked out their more illustrious compatriots and fifth seeds Mathias Boe-Carsten Morgensen in the third round. 

Tan Fook-Wan Wah will take on South Korea’s top pair of Jung Jae-sung-Lee Yong-dae while Teik Chai-Zakry will face Indonesia’s fourth seeds Alven Yulianto-Luluk Hadiyanto.  

National doubles coach Rexy Mainaky was happy with the achievement of the doubles players, especially Fairuzizuan-Woon Fui. 

“It is great to see three Malaysian men’s doubles pairs in the All-England quarter-finals for the first time. This should really motivate the others,” said Rexy in a telephone interview from Birmingham. 

“Fairuzizuan-Woon Fui were really superior. Fairuzizuan was not focused during the Swiss Open and we (Pang Cheh Chang and I) motivated him during the one-week training in Milton Keynes. He has really showed improvement here.” 

At the Swiss Open two weeks ago, they were beaten by Boe-Morgensen in the last eight. 

“They won the national title last month and here they have showed that the win was not mere luck,” said Rexy. 

“I am also pleased with Zakry-Teik Chai for beating a seeded pair to reach the quarter-finals. This is their best performance yet in an international tournament.” 

Rexy was hoping that at least one pair would go all the way to the final. 

“They have to stay focused as the mission is not over yet. It will not be easy but I hope they will continue to have a good run here,” he added. 

The only quarter-final without a Malaysian pair will see China’s Xie Zhongbo-Guo Zhengdong taking on second seeds Jens Eriksen-Martin Lundgaard Hansen of Denmark.  

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