KUALA TERENGGANU: The favourite is four-time national champion Lee Chong Wei but all eyes will be on the intriguing battle between veteran Wong Choong Hann and Mohd Hafiz Hashim in the semi-finals of the Proton National Grand Prix Finals today.
Yesterday, Chong Wei emerged as Group A champion, taking just 26 minutes to blow away Chong Li Qun 21-13, 21-8 at the Kuala Terengganu Indoor Stadium.
The 25-year-old Chong Wei, who is fired up to win his fifth national title, will take on James Chua, who had been the “king of the local circuit” during his heydays six years ago.
The stout James took advantage of a sick Yeoh Kay Bin to win 21-13, 21-13 in 29 minutes to emerge as the Group C winner.
Chong Wei should get past James but Choong Hann and Hafiz are different kettles of fish.
Yesterday, Choong Hann and Hafiz emerged as the Group B and Group D champions in contrasting fashions.
Choong Hann had an easy day after a sick Kuan Beng Hong conceded a walkover and left for home while Hafiz scored a 21-13, 21-13 win over K. Yogendran.
Former national champion Choong Hann, who last faced Hafiz at the 2004 Selangor Open, said he was ready to take on the Nusa Mahsuri shuttler.
“I am sorry for Beng Hong but it gave me a good break.
“The rest however, will not make a big difference and I anticipate that the match will be very close,” said the 30-year-old Choong Hann.
Hafiz aims to go for a quick kill to boost his morale ahead of the All-England in Birmingham from March 6-11.
“It will be tough on me if Choong Hann keeps me long on the court. I want to win it quickly,” said the 25-year-old.
In the men’s doubles, Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS)'s Lim Khim Wah-Mak Hee Chun can walk tall despite missing the cut for the semi-finals.
Yesterday, they gave a good fight against two seniors pairs – Chan Chong Ming-Hoon Thien How and Tan Bin Shen-Ong Soon Hock – before bowing out in rubber games.
Chong Ming-Thien How, the Group B winners, will take on Group A runners-up and Asian Games champions Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong.
Bin Shen-Soon Hock face defending champions Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari-Lin Woon Fui.