Badminton: Sze Fei-Izzuddin make a good case they can be second doubles at Thomas Cup

PETALING JAYA: National doubles pair Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzudin Rumsani’s great form is set to strengthen their position as the second doubles for the Thomas Cup Finals in Bangkok from May 8-15.

The world No. 16 duos were in uncompromising mood when they only needed 33 minutes to beat China’s Ren Xiangyu-Tan Qiang 21-19, 21-14 in the quarter-finals of the Asian Championships in Manila yesterday.

Sze Fei-Izzuddin now has the opportunity to reach their third final of the year after capturing the German Open and finishing runners-up in the Swiss Open in March.

Standing in their way in the semi-finals will be the winners of the match between compatriots and world No. 9 Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik and India’s seventh ranked Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty.

Both Aaron-Wooi Yik and Sze Fei-Izzuddin have been named in the Thomas Cup team along with 11th ranked independent pair Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi.

Based on the rankings, Aaron-Wooi Yik are poised for first doubles duty but the second doubles spot is still up for grabs and currently Sze Fei-Izzuddin look to be the frontrunners although their ranking is lower than Yew Sin-Ee Yi.

Yew Sin-Ee Yi’s form has not been as good as the other pair as they crashed out in the second round of the Asian meet after losing to Indonesian youngsters Pramudya Kusumawardana-Yeremia Rambitan in three games.

In the German Open, they fell to Sze Fei-Izzuddin in the quarter-finals and lost to Indonesia’s Fajar Alfian-Rian Ardianto at the same stage in the Swiss Open.

National doubles coaching director Rexy Mainaky is choosing to play his cards close to his chest at the moment and does not want to be drawn in on who will be playing in second doubles in the prestigious team meet.

“It is too early to say for now. We all want to focus here (on the Asian meet) first, ”he said firmly.

Rexy, though, was pleased with Sze Fei and Izzuddin’s form in the quarter-finals and also in the tournament so far, but said the job was far from over.

“They are playing well and are consistent. In the second game (against the Chinese pair), they played positively and did not give them any chances, “said Rexy, who wants them to stay focused.

Meanwhile, national no. 1 men’s singles shuttler Lee Zii Jia also booked his place in the semi-finals in style after a convincing 21-13, 21-11 win over Japan’s 14th ranked Kanta Tsuneyama. The world No. 7 will next take on China’s rising star Weng Hongyang for a place in the final.

The qualifier stunned second seed Anthony Ginting of Indonesia 21-13, 16-21, 21-11.

Zii Jia will be attempting to reach his first individual tournament final of the year after semi-final finishes in the German Open and All-England.

RESULTS

QUARTER-FINALS

Men’s singles: Lee Zii Jia bt Kanta Tsuneyama (Jpn) 21-13, 21-11; Chico Aura (Ina) bt Li Shifeng (Chn) 21-17, 21-14; Weng Hongyang (Chn) bt Anthony Ginting (Ina) 21-13, 16-21, 21-11.

Men’s doubles: Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin Rumsani bt Ren Xiangyu-Tan Qiang (Chn) 21-19, 21-14; Pramudya Kusumawardana-Jeremia Rambitan (Ina) bt Takuro Hoki-Yugo Kobayashi (Jpn) 21-15, 19-21, 21-19.

Women’s singles: PV Sindhu (Ind) bt He Bingjia (Chn) 21-9, 13-21, 21-19; Akane Yamaguchi (Jpn) bt Pornpawee Chochuwong (Tha) 9-21, 21-15, 21-17; Wang Zhiyi (Chn) bt Wen Chi-hsu (Tpe) 21-19, 21-9.

Women’s doubles: Chen Qingchen-Jia Yifan (Chn) bt Nami Matsuyama-Chiharu Shida (Jpn) 21-15, 21-19; Du Yue-Li Wenmei (Chn) bt Siti Ramadhanti-Ribka Sugiarto (Ina) 21-10, 21-12; Rin Iwanaga-Kie Nakanishi (Jpn) bt Lee So-hee-Shin Seung-chan (Kor) 21-23, 21-15, 21-15.

Mixed doubles: Zheng Siwei-Huang Yaqiong (Chn) bt Yuki Kaneko-Misaki Matsutomo (Jpn) 21-10, 22-20; Praveen Jordan-Melati Oktavianti (Ina) bt Kyohei Yamashita-Naru Shinoya (Jpn) 21-17, 22-20.

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