MALAYSIA GPG 2013 SF – Malaysian male madness

Powerhouses Malaysia and Indonesia can be certain to clinch at least one title at tomorrow’s final day.  The men’s doubles will be an all-Malaysian affair between Koo Kien Keat / […]

Powerhouses Malaysia and Indonesia can be certain to clinch at least one title at tomorrow’s final day.  The men’s doubles will be an all-Malaysian affair between Koo Kien Keat / Tan Boon Heong and Goh V Shem / Lim Khim Wah (pictured).  On the other hand the Indonesians have the women’s doubles in the bag while the two powers go head-to-head in mixed doubles and men’s singles.

By Elm Vandevorst, Badzine Correspondent.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (archives)

The biggest winner on semi-finals day at the Malaysia Gold was Vita Marissa.  In fact, Vita had played in two semi-finals on her last visit to Kuala Lumpur, only to fail to reach either of those Superseries final contests.  This time, her luck at the Stadium Juara in Bukit Kiara was considerably better.

Vita Marissa secured her first finals spot alongside Praveen Jordan (pictured below right) in the mixed doubles.  While Malaysians Chan Peng Soon / Goh Liu Ying entered the tournament as top seeds, they were eliminated in a very straightforward manner by their Indonesian opponents 21-17, 21-12.  This should not be a total surprise, even for the top seeds, as Marissa is a class act who has already won several Superseries titles with different partners such as Lilyana Natsir, Flandy Limpele and Muhammad Rijal, and Grand Prix titles with many more.

Vita’s new partnership with the 19-year-old Praveen seems to be going very well too as they already clinched the title at the New Zealand Open two weeks ago.  It is still, no doubt, a bitter pill to swallow for their opponents, however, who excelled at their previous outings on home soil, as defending champions at the Grand Prix Gold and Malaysia Open Superseries runners-up earlier this year.

There was better news for the local fans in the other semi-final, where Tan Aik Quan and Lai Pei Jing overcame another new Indonesian pairing Gideon Markus Fernaldi / Aprilsasi Putri Lejarsar Variella.  It took the fourth-seeded Malaysians three games and almost an hour to defeat their opponents with 13-21, 21-15, 21-13 but it was a great result for the Malaysian duo, who have struggled so far this year.

The good news for the local players continued in the men’s doubles where an all-Malaysian final is scheduled for Sunday afternoon.  However both teams had to fight for their places in the final.  Goh V Shem and Lim Khim Wah needed three games to overcome Alvent Yulianto Chandra and Markis Kido.  Also defending champions Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong had to accept a first game loss opposed to Mohd Zakry Abdul Latif and partner Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari, but in the end prevailed 17-21 21-14 21-16 for another victory against their compatriots, whom they also beat in last year’s semi-final.

The only other addition to the Malaysian good-news show was the expected finalist in the men’s singles, where Goh Soon Huat was able to rise above Iskandar Zulkarnian Zainuddin in  all-Malaysian contest.  Zainuddin, the runner-up at the 2009 World and Asian Junior Championships, is still awaiting his big break-through. Goh Soon Huat, on the other hand, is only one victory away from his first big success.  The 23-year-old, whose best achievement was reaching the quarters of the Grand Prix Gold in India, is hoping to ride on this new-found confidence.

Off course he still needs to defeat Alamsyah Yunus (pictured left), who proved to be too strong for Chen Yuekun, the sole remaining Chinese shuttler on Friday.  In their previous encounter, at the India Grand Prix 2010, the Indonesian athlete already proved to be the strongest and he repeated his win in Malaysia, this time with a 20-22, 21-17, 21-11 win.

Top Seed PV Sindhu (pictured below right), still only 17, stormed into the final of the women’s singles with a straight-game win over Thailand’s Sapsiree Taerattanachai.  She only needed 34 minutes to get the better of her third-seeded opponent 21-17 21-11.  The Indian shuttler is still awaiting her first Grand Prix title ever and is the best junior girls’ singles player who hasn’t won one yet.  If she win one more time tomorrow, she can follow in the footsteps of her peers Nozomi Okuhara, Ratchanok  Intanon and Busanan Ongbamrungphan.

Busanan, whose own Grand Prix Gold title came at this very event almost exactly one year ago, was eliminated by Sindhu’s next opponent: Gu Juan of Singapore.  The third seeded Gu required only two games to beat the 17-year-old Thai and has booked her own first appearance in a Grand Prix final.

Back to the beginning and Vita Marissa.  Already assured of one spot in tomorrow’s final, the experienced athlete also secured the second, this time together with her new women’s doubles partner Aprilsasi Putri Lejarsar Variella.  The twosome lost the first game against the brand-new pairing of Vanessa Neo and Yao Lei 8-21, but secured the remaining two 21-19, 21-13.  If they also surmount first seeded twosome Pia Zebadiah Bernadeth and Rizki Amelia Pradipta, Marissa is at certain of at least one trophy.

Finals line-up
WD: Pia Zebadiah Bernadeth / Rizki Amelia Pradipta (INA) [1] vs.  Aprilsasi Putri Lejarsar Variella / Vita Marissa  (INA)
MS: Alamsyah Yunus (INA) [12] vs.  Goh Soon Huat (MAS)
WS: P. V. Sindhu (IND) [1] vs.  Gu Juan (SIN) [5]
MD: Koo Kien Keat / Tan Boon Heong (MAS) [1] vs.  Goh V Shem / Lim Khim Wah (MAS) [3]
XD: Tan Aik Quan / Lai Pei Jing (MAS) [4] vs.  Praveen Jordan / Vita Marissa (INA)

Click here for complete semi-final results

About Elm Vandevorst