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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Fairuzizuan-Zakry’s Masters Finals hopes in tatters after first-round loss (The Star Online)

Thursday November 12, 2009

By LIM TEIK HUAT

PETALING JAYA: Malaysian doubles pair Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari-Mohd Zakry Abdul Latif can kiss goodbye to their hopes of competing in the Super Series Masters Finals in Terengganu next month after crashing out in the first round of the Hong Kong Open yesterday.

The World Championships bronze medallists put up a lacklustre display in their opening match to go down 17-21, 12-21 to England’s Anthony Clark-Nathan Robertson in 29 minutes.

Gone in 29 minutes: Mohd Zakry Abdul Latif (left) and Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari were sent packing by England’s Anthony Clark-Nathan Robertson.

Fairuzizuan-Zakry needed to reach the quarter-finals here and at the China Open the following week to improve on their currrent 12th spot in the Super Series rankings to have any chance of earning qualification.

Only the top eight pairs will qualify for the Masters Finals, to be held from Dec 3-6.

National doubles coach Rosman Razak said Fairuzizuan-Zakry had put themselves in a difficult spot.

“They will have to make the semi-finals of the China Open and even then they can only hope to get into the Masters Finals through the backdoor (if any of the pairs above them withdraw),” Rosman said in a telephone interview from Hong Kong.

Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong won the inaugural Masters Finals in Kota Kinabalu last year while Fairuzizuan-Zakry were the beaten semi-finalists.

Malaysia’s title hopes now rest on Kien Keat-Boon Heong, who overcame former world champions Tony Gunawan-Howard Bach of the United States 21-19, 21-16 to join veterans Choong Tan Fook-Lee Wan Wah and Chan Chong Ming-Chew Choon Eng in the second round.

Kien Keat-Boon Heong will have to tread with caution when they play Indonesian youngsters Yonathan Suryatama Dasuki-Rian Sukmawan, the Japan Open runners-up, in the second round today.

World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei, returning to action after a one-month lay-off due to a knee injury, was impressive in brushing aside Hong Kong’s Ng Wei 21-9, 21-12 in 30 minutes.

Chong Wei, who is hoping to capitalise on the absence of Olympic champion Lin Dan of China, by reaching the final and protect his lead at the top of the world rankings, will play China’s Du Pengyu for a place in the last eight.

The quarter-finals should see Chong Wei going up against Vietnam’s Nguyen Tien Minh or team-mate Mohd Hafiz Hashim, who defeated Japan’s Sho Sasaki 21-16, 21-7 yesterday.

Chong Wei’s path to the final was also made easier with the elimination of fourth seed Chen Jin of China.

Chen Jin, who was slated to take on Chong Wei in the semi-finals, was forced to concede a walkover to Hu Yun of Hong Kong due to an injury after losing the first game.

Wong Choong Hann suffered his fifth straight first-round defeat in the Super Series when he was sent packing 21-16, 19-21, 14-21 by former Asian junior champion Kenichi Tago of Japan.

Women’s singles player Wong Mew Choo also crashed out in the first round, going down 15-21, 19-21 to top Dane Tine Rasmussen.

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