Malaysia faced unexpected resistance from the United States in their ISTAF SuperSeries INDIA 2013/14 opening match, but did enough when it mattered most to carve out a somewhat scrappy win.
Playing on an elevated court for the first time, the Malaysian first regu of Norshahruddin Mad Ghani, Ahmad Aizat Nor Azmi and Farhan Adam defeated the US trio of Jeremy Nathan, Tanakorn Tony and Tru A Cha 15-9, 15-9, 15-4 in their Group B fixture at the Indira Gandhi Sports Complex here today.
“We really did not have a chance to practice on the elevated court and this was reflected in our first two sets,” said national head coach Jamaluddin Hassan. “We got better from set to set once the players found their footing, but we need to improve even more, especially in our serves, to take on Iran in our next match.”
Calling the elevated court a ‘unique’ experience for his players, Jamaluddin said that the team that adjusted the fastest to its spring-like properties would have a definite advantage over the others.
“We stayed relaxed, positive and ended up giving Malaysia a fight,” said the US’ Nathan. “This is the first time we’re playing as a team at the international level, and we are happy with our performance.”
The US team, who are taking part without any reserves or a coach, paid for their own way to the tournament.
The men’s competition was reduced to 10 teams when Myanmar was declared a no-show, which means that Group A now comprises Japan and defending champions Thailand. Both teams were awarded an automatic 3-0 win against Myanmar and will face one another twice in the first round. Myanmar, meanwhile, was placed 11th in the competition.
In the other opening day match, third seeds South Korea defeated Brunei 15-6, 15-10, 15-6 in Group C.
The women’s competition saw Thailand defeating Japan 15-3, 15-4, 15-10 in their Group B match. In Group A, Indonesia overcame Korea 15-4, 15-11, 15-8.
ISTAF SuperSeries INDIA 2013/14, which ends September 1, kicks-off this year’s ISTAF SuperSeries 2013/14 season. The New Delhi tournament is followed by ISTAF SuperSeries THAILAND 2013/14 in Bangkok from September 26-29 followed by ISTAF SuperSeries MALAYSIA 2013/14 in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah from October 31 to November 3.
Held for the first time in India and the first time outside Southeast Asia, ISTAF SuperSeries is created by Asia Sports Ventures (ASV) and supported by local organisers Sepaktakraw Federation of India (STFI).
* Note to editor: The Malaysian women’s team plays Thailand at 6.15pm (Malaysian time). An updated match report, along with results of other matches of the day will follow.
Thailand bt Myanmar 3-0 (walkover) (Group A)
South Korea bt Brunei 15-6, 15-10, 15-6 (Group C)
Indonesia bt South Korea 15-4, 15-11, 15-8
Thailand bt Japan 15-3, 15-4, 15-10
August 30 Fixtures (Round One):
Men’s: Indonesia vs South Korea; Iran vs Malaysia; Singapore vs India; Japan vs Thailand
Women’s: Malaysia vs Japan; Vietnam vs Indonesia; South Korea vs India