AXIATA CUP Day 2 – Winning streaks for Tigers and Rajawali

The Malaysian Tigers are at the top of the table for Group K. The stunning win from yesterday gave them a boost of confidence to play their best for today. […]

The Malaysian Tigers are at the top of the table for Group K. The stunning win from yesterday gave them a boost of confidence to play their best for today. Team Rajawali from Indonesia also swept all the games against Thailand. Day 2 of the Malaysian leg of the featured the Malaysia Tigers, who were pitted against Thailand, while Indonesia Rajawali had their way with the Philippines team.

By Adrian Kok, Badzine Correspondent live in Kuala Lumpur.  Photos: Kennee Wong (live)

The first match in the Malaysian edition of Saturday’s Axiata Cup proceedings, was between Hafiz Hashim and Boonsak Ponsana. As things got underway at Kuala Lumpur’s Stadium Badminton Cheras, Hafiz was struggling to find his form, which Boonsak exploited and took the lead at the interval. The Malaysian eventually got into his groove and played himself to win the first game.  In the second game, neither player gave any room to the other as the scores stayed close. Eventually the confident Hafiz ploughed his way to victory.

“I had a slow start to the first game, but I was able to bring out my game. There was pressure on me to win this match; however, the lead gave me the confidence to win the match,” said Hafiz.

It was all smooth sailing for Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong but things began to change as they begin to commit more errors when they deuced with their Thai opponents Maneepong Jongjit and Patiphat Chalardchalaem. The Thais did not lift their foot off the pedal and were constantly on the attack, which Koo and Tan found difficult to suppress, causing them to drop first game.

The Malaysian pair began to apply more speed into their game to force more errors from the Thais. The strategy worked well to force the match in a rubber game. The Thais fought fiercely in the rubber game but it did not have an effect on composed Koo and Tan, who went on win the match.

“There was not enough focus put into the game,” Koo said afterward, “but I am glad that we pulled through together.”  Their coach also commented that he is working with the pair to work on their closing.

Liew Daren found himself up against Suppanyu Avihingsanon, the man to whom he had lost the third singles that could have kept Malaysia on track at the Guangzhou Asian Games.

This time, however, Daren won his first game with ease as he dominated the court. Things began to get bumpy for him in the second game as the Thai injected more pace in to the game. The Malaysian made many errors, which cause him to lose the lead. In the press conference, he admitted that he lost focus at one point in the match. However, he was able to regain his focus to win the second game.

It was a one-sided affair for Tommy Sugiarto as he defeated Paul Jefferson Vivas from Philippines with much ease, opening up a one point lead for Indonesia Rajawali in the other team tie in Kuala Lumpur. Tommy showed no signs of fatigue and blasted his way through both games. Vivas played his heart out but it was clear that it would be a tall order to beat his more experienced Indonesian opponent.

The scratch pair of Mathias Boe / Ronel Estanislao played with Angga Pratama / Ryan Agung Saputra. The India Open Super Series runners-up hammered their way to victory by targeting their smashes at Ronel, who was the weak link in this match. Two-time Super Series champion Boe tried to avoid lifting the shuttle but the young Indonesian pair was always one step ahead.

The last match of the day was between Dionysius Hayom Rumbaka and Antonio Benjamin Gadi. It was a walk in the park for Hayom in the first game. Antonio was not warmed up properly and made many unforced errors. The Filipino bounced back in the second game, giving Hayom a hard time to catch up. Eventually, Antonio ran out of steam, allowing Hayom to seal the match in straight games.

Saturday Results – Group K

Malaysia Tigers 3, Thailand 0

Mohd Hafiz Hashim bt Boonsak Ponsana 21-19, 21-16
Koo Kien Keat / Tan Boon Heong bt Maneepong Jongjit / Patiphat Chalardchalaem 25-27, 21-9, 21-16
Liew Daren bt Suppanyu Avihingsanon 21-14, 21-18

Indonesia Rajawali 3, Philippines 0

Tommy Sugiarto bt Paul Jefferson Vivas 21-13, 21-8
Angga Pratama / Ryan Agung Saputra bt Mathias Boe / Ronel Estanislao 21-16, 21-7
Hayom Rumbaka bt Antonio Benjamin Gadi 21-9, 21-18


About Adrian Kok