PETALING JAYA: Old hands —Mohd Hafiz Hashim and Wong Choong Hann — continued their march in the men’s singles event but it was a total wipeout for Malaysia in the men’s doubles at the Taiwan Open badminton championships yesterday.
The 27-year-old Hafiz, seeded 15th, checked into the semi-finals after clinching a convincing 21-12, 21-12 win over youngster Andre Kurniawan Tedjono of Indonesia.
He will take on Thailand Open champion and third seed Nguyen Tien Minh of Vietnam and hopes are high on him continuing his fine run.
He had beaten second seed Park Sung-hwan of South Korea just a day ago and it was one of his biggest scalps this year.
Hafiz, ranked 29th in the world, is currently starting afresh and training under new singles coach Hendrawan but was modest about his chances of winning his first Open title in three years.
“I have nothing much to say except that I am just starting to play better. There is a little improvement in my game so far,” said Hafiz when contacted yesterday.
Choong Hann will take on Indonesian Taufik Hidayat in the other semi-final and it would be interesting to see whether the Malaysian veteran can maintain his good form.
Just last week, he pulled off a shocking win over China’s Chen Jin en route to reaching the final of the Macau Open but lost to compatriot Lee Chong Wei.
Yesterday, Choong Hann blew away Taiwanese Liu Chih-lin 21-7, 21-9 while Taufik clawed back from a game down to beat younger team-mate Dionysius Hayom Rumbaka 19-21, 21-11, 21-18.
In the women’s singles, Lydia Cheah failed to advance after a 19-21, 9-21 loss to Japanese Sayaka Sato in the last eight.
Back-up mixed doubles pair Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying, however, was the only consolation in the doubles events after Malaysia’s campaign ended in the men’s and women’s doubles.
Peng Soon-Liu Ying marched into the semi-finals with a 21-19, 21-19 win over Indonesians Mohd Rijal-Lilyana Natsir to set up a meeting with India’s V. Diju-Jwala Gutta.
Coach Jeremy Gan said: “They played well and showed more maturity in their game. They are steadier and show more passion to win. Hopefully they will continue to build on their confidence here.”
Three men’s doubles pairs – Choong Tan Fook-Lee Wan Wah, Hoon Thien How-Ong Soon Hock and Gan Teik Chai-Tan Bin Shen crashed out in rubber games yesterday.
Tan Fook-Wan Wah’s rivalry against former world champions Howard Bach-Tony Gunawan continued but this time, the Americans got the upper hand with a 21-13, 15-21, 21-14 win.
Men’s singles: Taufik Hidayat (Ina) bt Dionysius Hayom Rumbaka (Ina) 19-21, 21- 11,21-18; Wong Choong Hann (Mas) bt Liu Chih-lun (Tpe) 21-7,21-9; Nguyen Tien Minh (Vie) bt Tommy Sugiarto (Ina) 21-19,19-21,21-4; Mohd Hafiz Hashim (Mas) bt Andre Kurniawan Tedjono (Ina) 21-12, 21-12.
Men’s doubles: Tony Gunawan-Howard Bach (USA) bt Choong Tan Fook-Lee Wan Wah (Mas) 21-13, 15-21, 21-14; Hendra Gunawan-Alven Yulianto (Ina) bt Gan Teik Chai-Tan Bin Shen (Mas) 21-16, 18-21, 21-16; Yohan Hadikusumo Wiratama-Wong Wai Hong (Hkg) bt Hoon Thien How-Ong Soon Hock (Mas) 15-21, 21-16, 21-18; Chen Hong-ling-Lin Yu-lang (Tpe) bt Cho Gun-woo-Yoo Yeon-seong (Kor) 21-15, 21-17
Women’s singles: Cheng Shao-chieh (Tpe) bt Maria Febe Kusumastuti (Ina) 21-14, 21-18; Hsu Ching-ya (Tpe) bt Salakjit Ponsana (Tha) 21-18, 22-20; Sayaka Sato (Jpn) bt Lydia Cheah (Mas) 21-19, 21-9; Bae Hee-seung (Kor) bt Yip Pui Yin (Hkg) 12-21, 21-17, 21-11.
Women’s doubles: Vita Marissa-Mona Santoso (Ina) Zhang Dan-Zhang Zhibo (Mac) 21-11,21-16; Gao Ling-Wei Yili (Chn) bt Goh Liu Ying-Ng Hui Lin (Mas) 18-21, 22-20, 21-12; Zhang Jiewen-Yang Wei (Chn) bt Jwala Gutta-Ashwini Ponnappa (Ind) 21-15, 21-19; Lee Hjojung-Kim Mi-young (Kor) bt Cheng Wen-hsing-Chien Yu-chin (Tpe) 21-15,13-21, 21-13.
Mixed doubles: Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying (Mas) bt Mohd Rijal-Lilyana Natsir (Ina) 21-19, 21-19; V. Diju-Jwala Gutta (Ind) bt Shin Baek-cheol-Yoo Hyun-young (Kor) 21-19, 21-19; Hendra Gunawan-Vita Marissa (Ina) bt Yohan Hadikusumo Wiratama-Chau Hoi Wah (Hkg) 20-22, 21-15, 21-19; Tontowi Ahmad-Richi Puspita Dili (Ina) bt Han Sang-hoon-Jang Ye-na (Kor) 21-13, 22-20.