Thursday September 13, 2012
Nafiizwan soars as Beng Hee crashes in first round
KUALA LUMPUR: National No. 2 Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan produced a stunning effort to rally from two sets down to beat fourth seed Adrian Grant 9-11, 5-11, 11-9, 11-4, 13-11 and earn a place in the quarter-finals.
It was also the saving grace for the Malaysian men as veteran Ong Beng Hee had earlier crashed out. If Nafiizwan had lost, it would be the first time that Malaysia will not have a representative in the quarter-finals since 1995.
But the day certainly belonged to the 26-year-old Nafiizwan, who looked dead and buried after losing the first two sets 9-11, 5-11.
The gritty Terengganu-born player then fought back to take the third and fourth sets 11-9, 11-4.
The world No. 33 nearly blew it in the deciding fifth set after throwing away a 10-7 lead to hand Grant an 11-10 lead.
The 31-year-old Englishman, however, failed to finish off the match when he hit the ball into the tin. Nafiizwan took advantage of his misfortune to nail a gruelling 96-minute match 13-11.
“I got off to a very slow start and at two sets down I just told myself to go all out and take it like a training match, but at higher intensity,” said Nafiizwan.
“I slowly got back my confidence and managed to stick to my game plan.”
Earlier, the 32-year-old Beng Hee was totally out of sorts as he crashed to a 2-11, 5-11, 2-11 loss to Swiss Nicolas Mueller in just 25 minutes.
“It was a very bad day and I couldn’t get my game going at all,” said Beng Hee.
“Credit to Nicolas ... he played really well. It’s disappointing for me after such a good week in the national championships last week.”
The biggest upset of the day, however, was provided by the immensely talented Abdullah Al Muzayen after the little known player from Kuwait recorded a 6-11, 11-4, 11-6, 11-8 win over third seed and KL Open champion Omar Mosaad of Egypt.