KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia can still end up without the boys’ singles title in the Asian Junior Championships despite having three shuttlers in the semi-finals.
That is the fear of the national junior squad’s chief coach Sun Chenhua who is hoping that the players would not turn out to be their own worst enemies.
Yesterday, Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin, Mohd Syawal Ismail and Misbun Ramdan Misbun marched into the semi-finals but China’s top junior Tian Houwei could stop them from winning the country’s first boys’ singles title in the championships.
In the semi-finals today, the National Junior Circuit’s Under-18 champion Iskandar will take on Ramdan while Syawal will square off with Houwei.
Chenhua, who hails from China but has been coaching the Malaysian juniors since 1996, hopes his players would keep their emotion in check.
“I have been here for a long time and we have never had four singles players in the quarter-finals and three in the semi-finals. It is indeed a great achievement from the junior boys (of the Bukit Jalil Sports School),” said Chenhua.
“Everyone is delighted with the outcome. But the danger of this is that the players may take it easy. I hope they will continue with their fighting spirit and not lose their momentum.
“They can be their own worst enemy by putting too much expectations on themselves.
“There is a chance for Malaysia to emerge triumphant but they must not be over-confident.”
Chenhua said he was pleased to see the never-say-die attitude of his players yesterday.
“Syawal is a player who often runs out of steam but today he fought and gave his all.
“It is an achievement for Ramdan to come this far but he has to improve his net play,” he said.
“It has not been easy for Iskandar to carry the favourite tag but he has been improving in every game.
“Hopefully, they will continue to do well even after the Asian Junior Championships.
“If they maintain their performances, we can expect this group to add more depth to the singles department of the national team one day,” added Chenhua.
Fourth round (involving Malaysians): Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin bt Hermansah (Ina) 21-17, 21-17; Misbun Ramdan Misbun bt Watanabe Tatsuya (Jpn) 26-24, 7-21, 22-20; Zulfadli Zulkifli bt H.S. Prannoy (Ind) 21-18, 21-14; Mohd Syawal Ismail bt Prinyawat Thongnuam (Tha) 24-22, 21-19
Quarter-finals: Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin bt Pisit Poodchalat (Tha) 16-21, 21-13, 21-12; Misbun Ramdan Misbun bt Li Yisheng (Chn) 23-21, 14-21, 21-19; Tian Houwei (Chn) bt Zulfadli Zulkifli 23-21, 21-16; Mohd Syawal Ismail bt Hao Hsu-jen (Tpe) 21-17, 19-21, 21-16.
Third round (involving Malaysians): Yew Hong Kheng-Ow Yao Han bt Pawarit Supasri-Watchara Buranakruea (Tha) 21-7, 21-15; Goh Jian Hao-Pang Zheng Lin bt Tran Duc Phong-Le Ha Anh (Vie) 21-19, 12-21, 21-19; Nipitphon Phuangphuapet-Tin D. Caballes (Tha) bt Tan Wee Tat-Lau Win Hwi 21-15, 19-21, 22-20; Yeoh Choong Kee-Chooi Kah Ming bt Wang Tianyang-Pei Tianyi (Chn) 22-20, 21-9.
Quarter-finals: Yew Hong Kheng-Ow Yao Han (Mas) bt Berry Anggriawan-Mohd Ulinnuha (Ina) 21-13, 12-21, 21-15; Kang Ji-wook-Choi Seung-il (Kor) bt Goh Jian Hao-Pang Zheng Lin (Mas) 21-19, 21-12; Nipitphon Phuangphuapet-Tin C. Caballes (Tha) bt Yeoh Choong Yee-Chooi Kah Ming (Mas) 17-21, 21-16, 21-15; Angga Pratama-Rendy Yohanes Sugiarto (Ina) bt Pranav Chopra-Praneet B. Sai (Ind) 21-17, 21-8.
Third round (involving Malaysians): Takahashi Sayaka (Jpn) bt Sonia Cheah 21-10, 16-21, 21-9; Tai Tsu-ying (Tpe) bt Florah Ng 21-18, 21-12; Ratchanok Intanon (Tha) bt Tee Jing Yi 21-10, 21-13.
Quarter-finals: Ying Tai-tsu (Tpe) bt Takahashi Sayaka (Jpn) 21-13, 18-21, 21-18; Febby Angguni (Ina) bt Liu Yingmei (Chn) 21-10, 21-14; Chen Xiaojia (Chn) bt Siti Anida Lestari Qorytin (Ina) 21-19, 21-14; Ana Rovita (Ina) bt Ratchanok Intanon (Tha) 21-14, 21-14.
Third round (involving Malaysians): Ng Hui Ern-Lai Pei Jing bt Mitani Minatsu-Aratama Misato (Jpn) 21-18, 22-20; Fukuman Naoko-Takahashi Sayaka (Jpn) bt Florah Ng-Nurhani Abdul Aziz 21-13, 21-14.
Quarter-finals: Ng Hui Ern-Lai Pei Jing bt Nguyen Thi Sen-Vu Thi Trang (Vie) 21-11, 17-21, 21-17; Xia Huan-Tang Jinhua (Chn) bt Fukuman Naoko-Takahashi Sayaka (Jpn) 22-24, 21-10, 21-17; Rodjana Chuthabunditkul-Sapriree Taerattanachai (Tha) bt Liu Xin-Bao Yixin (Chn) 24-22, 10-21, 21-15; Luo Ying-Luo Yu (Chn) bt Poon Lok Yan-Tse Ying Suet (Hkg) 22-20, 21-10.
Third round (involving Malaysians): Pisit Poodchalat-Ratchanok Intanon (Tha) bt Ow Yao Han-Lai Pei Jing 21-12, 21-18; Tan Wee Tat-Ng Hui Ern bt Nipitphon Phuangphuapet-Artima Serithammarak (Tha) 21-18, 21-17.
Quarter-finals: Chopra Pranav-Sawant Prajakta (Ind) bt Tan Wee Tat-Ng Hui Ern (Mas) 21-17, 21-12; Lu Kai-Bao Yixin (Chn) w.o. Rendy Yohanes Sugiarto-Rosalia Tiara Nuraidah (Ina); Liu Peixuan-Xia Huan (Chn) bt Pisit Poodchalat-Ratchanok Intanon (Tha) 22-20, 21-15; Maneepong Jongjit- Rodjana Chuthabunditkul (Tha) bt Kevin Alexander-Suci Rizki Andini (Ina) 21-19, 21-14.