LIEW Daren’s stunning win over senior compatriot Lee Chong Wei helped Malaysia Tigers to secure a 3-2 victory over Musica Champion to keep their semi-final target on track in the Djarum Superliga Indonesia in Surabaya yesterday.
Daren notched a 23-21, 21-14 win, his maiden success, over Chong Wei to give the Tigers a confident start while Hoon Thin How-Tan Wee Kiong made it 2-0 with a 21-14, 15-21, 21-18 win over Rian Sukmawan-Rendra Wijaya in the first doubles.
Musica Champion survived when Tommy Sugiarto defeated Chong Wei Feng 21-15, 24-22 but Goh V Shem-Lim Khim Wah registered a 21-16, 21-14 win over Sigit Budiarto-Fran Kurniawan to give Tigers an unassailable 3-1 lead.
Arif Latif lost 21-16, 21-10 to South Korean player Lee Hyun Il but it didn’t matter as Tigers earned a crucial win.
National singles coach Rashid Sidek said the win will give the Tigers, particularly Daren, confidence as the team is built for the future.
“Our target is to reach the semis and it is distinctively possible after beating Musica Champion 3-2. It is a fine win for Daren over Chong Wei and this will give him a lot of confidence as a team leader,” said Rashid.
“Despite playing against Chong Wei and without Kien Keat-Boon Heong it is tough but this is basically our future squad for the team events especially the Thomas Cup. They will have to start challenging others without depending on their seniors.
“And The Djarum Superliga is a good platform for them to gain exposure. Most of the players will be part of the 2014 and 2016 Thomas Cup squads and they must learn to cope with the pressure and responsibility.”
Malaysia Tigers are in Group B with Jaya Raya Jakarta, Musica Champion and Tonami Badminton Club from Japan, SGS PLN led by Taufik Hidayat with the top two teams advancing to the semi-finals.
Tigers, who have a rest day today, will play Tonami tomorrow while Chong Wei will clash with rival Taufik in the match against SGS PLN before returning home today.
The Malaysian women’s team lost to Japan’s Unisys Badminton Club 3-2 in their opening Group X match yesterday.