Hafiz tames homester Zwiebler to reach semi-finals of German Open

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia’s Mohd Hafiz Hashim broke the hearts of home supporters when he exacted sweet revenge over local hero Marc Zwiebler to reach the men’s singles semi-finals at the German Open in Mulheim yesterday.

Hafiz took 33 minutes to tame the fourth seed Zwiebler with a 21-12, 21-16 win to boost his aspiration to re-establish himself as a stable player,

In the third round on Thursday, he had blown away younger compatriot Chan Kwong Beng 21-7, 21-12 in 26 minutes to dash the latter’s hope of strengthening his position for a place in the Thomas Cup Finals.

Hafiz, who is eying a first title in four years to boost his morale ahead of the Thomas Cup Finals in May, has suffered a humiliating defeat to the tricky Zwiebler in the second round of the Denmark Open last October.

Today, Hafiz will take on the winner of the match between second seed Chen Long of China and Wong Wing Ki of Hong Kong.

Back-up shuttler Tan Chun Seang, however, failed to follow the foot steps of Hafiz when he went down tamely 13-21, 7-21 to top seed Bao Chunlai of China yesterday.

On Thursday, Chun Seang had fought hard for a 19-21, 21-19, 21-16 win over Denmark’s Hans-Kristian Vittinghus. Today, Bao will take on the winner of the match between veteran Wong Choong Hann and Holland’s Dicky Palyama.

Third seed Choong Hann had breezed past Indian P. Kashyap 21-14, 21-18 in the third round and the Malaysian should not under-estimate the Dutch spoiler.

In the men’s doubles, Malaysia’s challenge have been reduced to only one pair after back-up shuttlers Mak Hee Chun-Tan Wee Kiong crashed out in the quarter-finals yesterday.

The duo were sent packing 19-21, 12-21 by Hong Kong’s Yohan Hadikusumo Wiratama-Wong Wai Hong in 30 minutes.

Hee Chun-Wee Kiong had earlier dug deep into their reserves to beat Japanese Hiroyuki Endo-Yoshiteru Hirobe 18-21, 21-17, 21-16.

The hope is on Hoon Thien How-Ong Soon Hock and they will be out to get the better of second seeds Liao Min-chun-Cheng Wen-hsing in the last eight to keep Malaysia’s challenge alive in the Grand Prix tournament.

Just a day ago, they blew away Singaporeans Hendri Kurniawan Saputra-Hendra Wijaya 21-18, 21-4 in the second round.

Youngster Chan Peng Soon’s challenge had ended earlier when he lost in both in the men’s doubles with Lim Khim Wah and Goh Liu Ying in the mixed doubles.

Malaysia’s challenge also ended in the women’s doubles when Ng Hui Lin-Ng Hui Ern went down fighting 21-14, 19-21, 16-21 to Russians Valeria Sorokina-Nina Vislova in the last eight.

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