PETALING JAYA: Veteran men’s singles shuttler Wong Choong Hann and the Ng sisters, Hui Lin-Hui Ern, pulled off unexpected victories to assure Malaysia one title and raised a hope for another in the Malaysian Open Grand Prix Gold at Stadium Bandaraya in Johor Baru yesterday.
Independent shuttler Choong Hann staged an incredible comeback from 8-15 in the second game to beat second seed Taufik Hidayat of Indonesia 21-15, 24-22 in a 40-minute match to reach a first final this year.
His victory prevented a repeat showdown of the Indonesian Open final last week between Taufik and world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei.
Defending champion Chong Wei sent Ajay Jayram of India packing at 21-16, 21-13 in a lopsided semi-final match.
World Championship-bound Choong Hann was thrilled with the win, especially after going through tense moments in the second game.
“The first game was easier than I had thought. I was leading all the way against Taufik and this scenario is quite rare for me. Usually, it will be close,” he said.
“And true enough, Taufik came back stronger in the second game and took a comfortable 15-8 lead. But I managed to claw back into the game. I became more confident and fortunately, I hung on to finish off the match in straight games.
Hui Lin-Hui Ern came make it a double joy for Malaysia today. They will play against Thailand’s A. Duanganong-V. Kunchala of Thailand for the women’s doubles title.
Part-timers Hui Lin-Hui Ern made it to a first-ever final in an international Open when they tamed Macau’s fifth seeds Zhang Dan-Zhang Zhibo 21-10, 21-11 in just 20 minutes.
Their good showing certainly made up for the shock exit of top seeds Chin Eei Hui-Wong Pei Tty in the opening round.
There was disappointment for national back-up pair Mak Hee Chun-Tan Wee Kiong. Their gallant run in the tournament was halted by Indonesians Alven Yulianto-Hendra Gunawan in the men’s doubles semi-finals. They were beaten 13-21, 11-21 in just 26 minutes.
The previous day in the quarter-finals, the duo sent compatriots and defending champions Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong packing.
National coach Tan Kim Her said: “Their service returns were poor and there was too much pressure on the front of the court on them. They could not cope and it was certainly not their best.
“But overall, I am still happy with their progress. They are moving on the right track and I hope to see better performances in the upcoming Macau and Taiwan Opens.”
It was also the end of the road for top national women’s singles shuttler Wong Mew Choo and the mixed doubles pair of Ong Jian Guo-Sabrina Chong Sook Chin.