Friday March 22, 2013
Axiata Cup: Malaysia make short work of the Philippines in opening tie
By KNG ZHENG GUAN
SURABAYA: Malaysia got off to a flying start as expected in the US$1mil Axiata Cup by thrashing minnows Philippines 4-0 at the DBL Arena yesterday.
It was just the boost they needed in order to make the semi-finals and the Malaysians gave a good show of intent.
Women singles shuttler Tee Jing Yi drew first blood after whipping Bianca Ysabel Carlos 21-12, 21-8 in the opening tie.
World No. 13 Liew Daren then made it 2-0 for Malaysia despite an edgy start against a spirited Antonio Benjami Gadi.
The KL-born shuttler however packed just too much firepower in the end to overwhelm his opponent 21-13, 21-15.
Mixed pair Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying were next for Malaysia and they made sure of the win with an assured performance against Ronel Estanislao-Malvinne Ann Venice Alcala winning 21-14, 21-6 in just 20 minutes.
Despite the easy scoreline, the world No.5, rocked by a recent confident crisis following poor performances, struggled to find their footing initially.
Peng Soon-Liu Ying however regrouped to take control of the match, including 10 straight points to seal the win in the second game.
“It wasn’t the toughest match and the Filipinos were definitely not the toughest opponents,” said Peng Soon.
“I guess in the first game we took a while to settle down because we were trying out the conditions of the court.
“Once we were comfortable against our opponents, we just played the usual game without giving away too much.
“Overall this is a good start to the tournament and a good step forward to qualify for the semi-finals.
“But we have to be in better conditions against our next opponents — Sudket Prapakamol-Saralee Thoungthongkam (Thailand). We’ve lost to them a few times in the past and they can be really tricky.
“Most importantly though, is that we do not pressure ourselves too much and play a relaxing game,” added Peng Soon.
In the final match of the tie, the under-fire world No. 2 pair of Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong were hardly bothered by Paul Jefferson Vivas-Peter Gabriel Magnaye.
Kien Keat-Boon Heong won 21-12, 21-13, but will face a stiffer task when the team face Thailand today.
In yesterday’s other late match, Thailand came back strongly from a point down to beat Asia All Stars 3-1.
The scratched men’s pair of Boonsak Ponsana-Songphon Anugritayawon delivered the winning point by beating Zheng Bo-Bao Chunlai 15-21, 21-19, 21-18. Women’s singles shuttler Busanan Ongbumgrungpan and mixed pair Sudket Prapakamol-Saralee Thoungthongkam delivered the other points.
The Asian All Stars responded through South Korean Lee Hyun-il who defeated Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk in men’s singles.