# Arif Latif turns hero for Cheras BC
# Serdang BC surrender 9-6 lead to lose 160-162 on points
Arif Latif held centre court at the Arena of Stars in Genting as he delivered what was expected of him – a 3-0 win over Serdang BC’s Xia Binyu to enable his team Cheras BC to tie the score at 9-9 in the 5th-8th placing playoff match in the Resorts World Genting Champions Challenge on Thursday.
With both teams tied at 9 all in the number of sets won the match was decided on points difference for the first time in the tournament and Cheras BC won 162-160.
Last year Cheras BC finished fourth in the Champions Challenge but a 12-11 defeat to Ampang Jaya BC in the quarter-finals when Arif lost his singles match to Goh Giap Chin in the last tie of the match knocked them out of contention in the semi-finals.
Cheras BC manager Raezal Hussein was more than happy to be fighting for fifth place and the RM38,000 prize money that comes with it. His team also pocketed RM100,000 in prize money for finishing fourth in the Purple League. Cheras BC were also seventh in the Purple League last year.
“It has been a season of ups and downs for us because we have the same players. But we are not complaining and the players have given their best so far,” said Raezal.
However, Raezal could not hide his disappointment when asked about the performance of Indonesian shuttler Febby Angguni, ranked No 118 in the world, who fell to a straight defeat to Xu Wei of Serdang BC in the women’s singles.
The China-born Xu Wei, ranked No 479, won 11-9, 11-8, 11-8 to tie the score at 3-3 after Zulfadli Zulkifli made shortwork of Lee Zii Jia 11-3, 11-5, 11-8 in the first men’s singles in only 18 minutes.
Cheras BC fell behind 6-9 when their mixed doubles Razif Latif-Joyce Wai and men’s doubles Hafizi Hashim-Azriyn Ayub lost their matches to Serdang BC’s Pei Tianyi-Wu Tianqian (3-11, 8-11, 11-8, 11-8, 6-11) and Ooi Zi Heng-Soh Wooi Yik (4-11, 11-7, 10-11, 7-11) respectively.
It was left for Arif to do the rescue act and he delivered – thanks to his gallant fight in the second set when Xiu Binyu was leading 10-7 but he reeled off four points in a row for a 11-10 win. A win for Xia Binyu, 20, would have won the match for Serdang BC.
Serdang BC manager Ong Ewe Hock took the defeat in his stride and said: “This is something you have to accept in crucial matches. I am happy that our young players are coming on fine.
“My players have shown maturity but the lack of experience showed on them. Xia could have sealed the win for us but he was nervous and succumbed to pressure and lost. But we are not blaming him.”
Last year Serdang BC were knocked out in the first round when the Champions Challenge was played on a knockout format.
Cheras BC will play the winners of the Petaling Jaya versus Petaling BC match for fifth place.