After a relatively smooth run through the first 2 rounds of the tournament, the New Zealand is finally live up to its hype with some exciting matches in the quarter-finals and semi-finals, yes, two matches in one day.
In the quarter-finals, while not an upset on paper, there was a noteworthy win for the newly paired 5th seeds Irfan Fadhilah and Gloria Emanuelle Widjaja from Indonesia to defeat the unseeded Malaysian pairing of Koo Kien Keat and Ng Hui Lin. This could be considered as a real upset since Koo is former world number 1 ranked doubles player.
“We are very excited with the win, Koo Kien Keat is a wonderful player and was once the number one in the world, we were glad to have a chance to play against him, and to defeat him and his partner” said Fadhilah. “We were very relaxed and focused, we didn’t put too much pressure on ourselves, and we play like we have nothing to lose. We really hope we can win the mixed doubles title in New Zealand Open.”
Another great match in the quarter-finals was the great battle between 3rd seed Tan Chun Seang of Malaysia and 5th seed Arvind Bhat from India. Trailing 18-20 in the first game, Bhat made a great comeback as he saved two game points and closed the contest 22-20 with a four-point burst. Tan responded to level it up in the second game, but Bhat got back his rhythm in the decider.
The Bangalore shuttler was leading 20-13 before Tan inched closer with five consecutive points in the third set. However, Bhat, ranked 76 in the world, used his experience to quell the Malaysian’s challenge, which eventually won by 21-18.
Another Malaysian, Mohamad Arif Abdul Latif cruised to the men’s singles semi-finals by defeating Shih Kuei Chun of Chinese Taipei 21-13, 21-17. Arif played a spectacular game against Shih, mixing deft touches at the net with full extension jumping smashes from the back of the court.