Friday, July 08, 2011


Zulfadli Zulkifli showed good match temperament to win his semi final tie against Japan's Kento Momota to qualify for the final in the men's singles of the Asian Under 19 Badminton Championships at Lucknow.

Joining Zulfadli in the final are the women's doubles pair of Chow Mei Kuan/Lee Meng Yean who defeated second seeds Ou Dongni/Xiong Rui from China 21-17,17-21,21-16 in a thrilling semis tie.

They will take on Indonesia's Andini Suci Rizki/Nuraidah Tiara Rosalia in the final.

The 18 year old, sponsored by KLRC, kept his composure to win 21-18,21-19 in a tie that lasted 45 minutes.

This is the first time he made the final in three appearances as he lost in the two previous editions at the quarterfinal and semifinal stages respectively, both on home soil in Kuala Lumpur.

Zulfadli will play either China's Liu Kai or India's Sameer Verma in the final tomorrow.

"I was nervous but did not let it show during the match. I had to engage him in rallies and force him into making mistakes," said Zulfadli.

"Making the final is just the first step as my aim is to bag the title and I will remain focussed on the task at hand.

"There are areas that need to be improved and playing either opponent in the final makes no difference as everyone wants to win and will lift their game."

Zulfadli took a 7-1 lead in the first set but allowed his opponent to draw level at 7-7. And he was faulted at serve with the scores tied 8-8.

However some crafty net play allowed Zulfadli to lead 11-8 at the break. He then pulled away to lead 16-11 but made too many unforced errors that allowed Kento to draw level at 18-18.

But the Malaysian prevailed to take the next three points to sew up the first set 21-18 in 19 minutes.

It was the similar script in the second set as Zulfadli led 6-3 but was caught as the Japanese drew level at 8-8 and he took the lead for the first time at 9-8.

Zulfadli was sending the shuttle out too many times at the base line but engaged Kento to play at the net. That ploy worked as Zulfadli led 11-10 at the break.

It was not more then a point separating the duo as Zulfadli raced away to a 19-16 lead only to make three errors on the trot to allow Kento to draw level at 19-19.

But the lanky Malaysian showed nerves of steel to take the next two points to book a spot in the final, overcoming his semis defeat in Kuala Lumpur last year.

Meanwhile it was heartbreak for men's doubles pair of Teo Ee Yi/Nelson Heg Wei Keat who lost to Taiwan's Lin Chia Yu/Huang Po Jui 16-21,21-11,17-21 in a match that lasted 49 minutes.