Wednesday September 26, 2012
Youngster Zulfadli leads the way in Indonesia
By KNG ZHENG GUAN
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian shuttlers got off to the best possible start as reigning world junior champion Zulfadli Zulkifli led a host of youngsters into the second round of the Indonesian Open GP Gold in Palembang yesterday.
The 19-year-old Zulfadli, who is bidding to make an impact on the senior stage since bagging the Asian and world junior titles last year, was in inspired mood as he downed Indonesian Fikri Ihsandi Hadmadi 21-16, 21-8 in just 26 minutes.
It was a far cry from the disappointing performance in the Vietnam Open last month, when the Kuala Lumpur lad crashed out in the first round after suffering from blisters on both feet.
The 11th-seeded Zulfadli faces another local hopeful – Febriyan Irvannaldy – for a place in the third round.
“It was a satisfying performance given the unusually windy conditions of the court. It almost felt as though I was playing outdoors!” said the world No. 78 in a text message.
“It will be another Indonesian opponent in the next round and it won’t be a walk in the park because they are all good players.
“I’m just looking to play better than I did in this round ... and hopefully go far in the tournament.”
National back-up shuttlers Iskandar Zulkarnian Zainuddin and Mohd Arif Abdul Latif also made the next round after convincing wins over Indonesian opponents.
Iskandar crushed Ihsan Maulan Mustofa 21-15, 21-6 in 21 minutes whilst Arif had no problems beating Wirawan Ihsan Adam 21-14, 21-17 in 26 minutes.
The men’s doubles will be in action today and, in the absence of several top pairs, fifth seeds Hoon Thien How-Tan Wee Kiong have a good chance to win their first title together.
They face locals Wijaya Rendra-Rian Sukmawan in the first round and should reach the semi-finals, where they will be up against second seeds Hirokatsu Hashimoto-Noriyasu Hirata of Japan.
The other Malaysian pairs in the fray are Mohd Lufti Zaim-Teo Kok Siang, Chooi Kah Ming-Ow Yao Han, Nelson Heg-Teo Ee Yi, Low Juan Shen-Tan Yip Jiun and the professional partnership of Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari-Mohd Zakry Abdul Latif.
*Malaysian results only
First round: Alamsyah Yunus (Ina) bt Goh Giap Chin 21-18, 21-12; Zulfadli Zulkifli bt Fikri Ihsandi Hadmadi (Ina) 21-16, 21-8; Iskandar Zulkarnian Zainuddin bt Ihsan Maulana Mustofa (Ina) 21-15, 21-6; Mohd Arif Abdul Latifbt Wirawan Ihsan Adam (Ina) 21-14, 21-17; Arif Ramadhan (Ina) bt Loh Wei Sheng 21-9, 21-19; Nur Mohd Azriyn Ayub bt Ha Young-woong (Kor) 21-13, 12-21, 21-17; Andre Kurniawan Tedjono (Ina) bt Zulhelmi Zulkifli 21-13, 21-10; Goh Soon Huat bt Mahbub Thomi Azizan (Ina) 21-10, 21-19; Chiang Jiann Shiarng bt Achmad Rivai (Ina) 21-16, 21-10; Misbun Ramdan Misbun bt Riyanto Subagja (Ina) 21-14, 21-8.