Genting Highlands: Playing without Chong Wei Feng, defending champions Kepong BC suffered a heartbreaking 10-11 defeat to Puchong United BC in the semi-finals of Resorts World Genting Champions Challenge on Saturday.
Kepong BC’s fortunes for winning the tie looked promising when Wei Nan defeated Malaysia’s national men’s singles shuttler, Daren Liew 11-9, 8-11, 9-11, 11-10, 11-9 to put Kepong BC ahead with 3-2.
However, after Puchong United’s Japanese shuttler, Ayumi Mine saw off Deng Xuan of Kepong 10-11, 11-9, 7-11, 11-5, 11-7 in women’s singles to level the tie at 5-5; followed by Cheng Wen Hsing/Yew Hong Kheng’s 11-10, 8-11, 11-8, 11-9 victory against Mei Qi Li/Ong Jian Guo in mixed doubles to give a 8-6 lead to Puchong United BC, it’s clear that Kepong BC would have to put in a tough effort if they were going to win this tie.
The unheralded Andrei Adistia/Tai An Khang then kept Kepong BC’s hopes alive when they pulled off an upset against Malaysia’s backup men’s doubles pair, Ow Yao Han/Wong Fai Yin of Puchong United BC 11-5, 11-6, 11-6 to make it 9-8.
Despite trailing 8-9, the Melaka-born Syed Akhbar Shah Syed Mustakim of Puchong United remained calm and emerged as the hero on that occasion, clinching the fifth, decisive match with a tense four-set win over Indonesian shuttler, Panji Akbar Sudrajat of Kepong BC 10-11, 11-7, 11-6, 11-8 to lead his team to a came from behind victory with 11-10.
Earlier Saturday, Muar BC cruised to their second consecutive Resorts World Genting Champions Challenge final after winning a perfect semi-final with a 9-0 demolition over Ampang Jaya BC.
Muar BC’s manager Huan How Han finally got what he wished for when he told reporters that he would rather meet Puchong United BC than Kepong BC in the finals.
“I would prefer to meet Puchong United in the final, as Kepong BC who are the defending champions and are a strong title contenders,” Huan said.
Meanwhile, Puchong United BC’s manager Irina Inozemtseva was playing down the team’s expectation to claim their first ever Resorts World Genting Champions Challenge title.
“I’ll need to discuss with the management regarding the game plan for the final,” said Inozemtseva.