KUALA LUMPUR: Former internationals Mohd Arif Abdul Latif and Mak Hee Chun shone the brightest in the Malaysia International Challenge in Kuching on Friday.
World No. 50 Arif, who left the national team last year to venture into the world of professional badminton, defeated Indonesia’s Grinting Anthony 21-8, 21-15 to reach the men’s singles semi-finals.
He will take on Ashton Chen of Singapore on Saturday for a place in the final.
The 24-year-old Arif was the only men’s singles shuttler left to carry the torch for Malaysia as all the other players – Soo Teck Zhi, Soong Joo Ven and Choong Yen Han – fell like kingpins.
Reigning Asian junior champion Teck Zhi was sent packing 15-21, 15-21 by Indonesia’s Ivanudin Rifan Fauzin in just 30 minutes, while Joo Ven gave a better account of himself before going down fighting to Ashton 21-19, 17-21, 17-21 in an hour and 14 minutes.
Yee Han, who was promoted to the national team in January this year, came very close to being the star of the day but squandered a match point before going down to top seed Derek Wong of Singapore 21-16, 23-25, 11-21.
Former national doubles shuttler Hee Chun, who was dropped from the national team in 2011, rose to the occasion with his scratch partner Lu Ching-yao of Taiwan when they defeated Duang Bao Duc-Nguyen Hoang Nam of Vietnam 21-13, 21-15.
They will take on Indonesians Selvanus Geh-Alfian Eko Prasetya next.
Malaysia is assured one ticket in the finals with fifth seeds Lim Khim Wah-Ow Yao Han taking on qualifiers Chooi Kah Ming-Teo Ee Yi on Saturday. Kah Ming-Ee Yi pulled off a great show by beating higher ranked Goh V Shem-Teo Kok Siang 23-21, 21-16 in 30 minutes.
Malaysia also suffered a complete wipeout in the women’s singles with the defeats of Myanmar SEA Games-bound Yang Li Lian, Lee Ying Ying and Lim Chiew Sin to opponents from Taiwan.