Malaysia defeated All-Star Europe 3-1 to end their Axiata Cup preliminary round campaign on a satisfactory note at the DBL Arena in Surabaya yesterday.
The Indonesian domination, however, derailed when they drew 2-2 with All-Star Asia while Thailand defeated Vietnam 4-0, and Singapore outclassed Philippines 3-1 respectively. The Thais lead the table chart with 13 points going into the next round followed by Indonesia (12), Malaysia (11), Vietnam, All-Star Europe and All-Star Asia (8), Singapore (7) while the Philippines have just one point to show.
Spain’s Carolina Marin took to courts in the first women singles against Tan Jing Yi. The Malaysian lass showed determination and skills but failed to overpower her opponent, losing 12-21 in the first game. Jing Yi, however, made a comeback by winning the second 21-17 but was too tired in the third and went down 13-21, giving All-Star Europe the much needed boost by taking a 1-0 lead.
In the men’s singles, Irishman Scott Evans’ showdown with Liew Daren went the extra mile – with Evans coming on strongly by taking a 6-0 lead in the first game before Daren closed the gap at 8-13 and then drew level at 15-15.
The serve exchanged hands frequently and both were tied once again at 20-20 before Daren wrapped up the match 22-20. In the second set, Evans raced to take a 13-8 lead but allowed Daren to level at 15-15 before the Malaysian romped home to win 21-19.
With the overall score now tied at 1-1, it was once again left to the mixed-doubles pair of Chan Peng Soon- Goh Liu Ying and men’s doubles of Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong to do damage control. And they did just that. First, Peng Soon-Liu Ying subdued Nathan Robertson-Jenny Wallwork 19-21, 21-16 and 21-15 to give the Malaysians a 2-1 lead.
In the men’s doubles, Kien Keat-Boon Heong, ranked World No 5, pulverised Russian pair Ivan Sozonov-Vladimir Ivanov 21-11, 21-17 to seal victory.
And now the Malaysians look to up the ante during the second round which will be held simultaneously in Surabaya and Kuala Lumpur from March 29-31.
Vietnam, All-Star Asia and Singapore are drawn to meet Malaysia at the Cheras Badminton Stadium for the second round while for the Surabaya second-leg, hosts Indonesia are paired with All-Star Europe, Philippines and Thailand at the DBL Arena..
The top four teams with the highest number of points after the preliminary round will progress to the semi-finals where there will be a re-draw to determine the match-ups. Both the semi-finals and finals will be held in Kuala Lumpur over two days beginning April 13. The winning finalist will take home a whopping US$400,000.
Results: Malaysia 3 All-Star Europe 1
Tee Jing Yi lost to Carolina Marin 12-21, 21-17, 13-21
Chong Wei Feng bt Scott Evans 22-20, 21-19
Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying bt Nathan Robertson-Jenny Wallwork 19-21, 21-16, 21-15
Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong bt Ivan Sozonov-Vladimir Ivanov 21-14, 21-17
Other Results: All-Star Asia 2 Indonesia 2; Thailand 4 Vietnam 0; Philippines 1 Singapore 3