KUALA LUMPUR: First, it was on Chong Wei Feng. Now another back-up shuttler, Mohd Arif Abdul Latif, has stolen the thunder with a stunning win over his nemesis Tommy Sugiarto of Indonesia to reach the men’s singles quarter-finals of the Taiwan Open Grand Prix Gold.
The 22-year-old Arif had lost all his five previous matches to Tommy over the last five years but yesterday he turned on the power to beat Tommy, the son of the former world champion Icuk, 21-16, 21-10.
Arif, who trains under Hendrawan, faces Wei Feng today to assure Malaysia of a place in the men’s singles semi-finals.
World No. 30 Wei Feng continued his fine form when he disposed of Lin Yu-hsien of Taiwan 21-16, 20-22, 21-19. He had packed off seventh seed Alamsyah Yunus of Indonesia on the opening day.
However, two other aspiring players – Liew Daren and Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin – bit the dust.
Daren lost 11-21, 21-16, 14-21 to Chou Tien-chen of Taiwan while Iskandar went down fighting 17-21, 17-21 to Vietnam’s Nguyen Tien Minh.
Arif, ranked 47th – his best-ever position in the world – was thrilled with his second big scalp, having beaten world No. 31 Hsu Jen-hao of Taiwan in the opening round.
“I am enjoying a great run. I beat Jen-hao on Wednesday and I finally beat Tommy (world No. 24) today. This is the first time that I have beaten two higher ranked players in one tournament,” said Arif.
This is Arif’s second quarter-final appearance in a Grand Prix Gold after reaching the same stage in Indonesia last week. His best was reaching the semi-finals of the South Korean GP Gold last year.
The other quarter-finals will be between Indonesian Wisnu Yuli Prasetyo and Hu Yun of Hong Kong; Taiwan’s Hsueh Hsuan-yi and Tien-chen; and Wong Wing Ki of Hong Kong and Tien Minh.
Malaysia’s hopes in the men’s doubles will rest on the shoulders of former world junior champions Chooi Kah Ming-Ow Yao Han and former internationals Mohd Zakry Abdul Latif-Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari.
Kah Ming-Yao Han have a good chance to reach the semis when they take on Taiwan’s Chen Chung-jen-Lin Yen-jui while Zakry-Fairuzizuan of KLRC face Hong Kong’s Chan Tsz Kit-Lo Lok Kei.
It was also a good day for Malaysia in the mixed doubles, with two pairs in the quarter-finals.
Mohd Lutfi Zaim Abdul Khalid-Vivian Hoo and Ong Jian Guo-Woon Khe Wei will come up against top seeds Mohd Rijal-Debby Susanto of Indonesia and second seeds Danny Bawa Chrisnanta-Vanessa Neo Yu Yan of Singapore respectively.
Khe Wei-Vivian are Malaysia’s sole hopes in the women’s doubles and they’ll meet Huang Mei-ching-Wen Kuo-yu of Taiwan.