# Iskandar beats Jun Hao men’s singles crown
# Sze Fei-Izzuddin nail the men’s doubles
World No 73 Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin’s patience and experience at senior level made it count for the 26-year-old as he beat 18-year-old Leong Jun Hao in an all-Malaysia men’s singles final in the Celcome Axiata Malaysia International Challenge at Stadium Perbandaran in Pasir Gudang on Sunday.
Iskandar, bogged down by a nagging back injury which curtailed his badminton career this year, including the 29th KL Sea Games in August, walked away with a 21-11, 21-13 in 30 minutes for his first title this year.
Without hestitation Iskandar admitted that his victory over Jun Hao – the Asian Under-19 champion – was helped to a certain extent by his opponent’s hip injury – which restricted Jun Hao’s movements on the court.
Jun Hao, who also won the silver medal in the World Junior Championships in Yogjakarta in October, was playing in his first senior final and reaching the final speaks of his immense potential in the sport.
Malaysia also clinched the men’s doubles crown in another all-Malaysia final. Second seeds Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin, needed just 32 minutes to beat compatriots Shia Chun Kang-Tan Wee Gieen 21-19, 21-12 for their first title this year.
Iskandar’s next stop is the South Korea Masters from later this month and would not have asked for a better motivation and inspiration to rebuild his badminton career after a series of injuries. Iskandar was once hailed as the successor to former world number one Lee Chong Wei.
The women’s singles title went Indonesia’s way with Ruselli Hartawan continuing her fine run in Pasir Gudang. Boosted by her upset 21-16, 21-19 win over top seed and favourite Vu Thi Trang in the semi-finals Ruselli outplayed Lin Ying Chun of Chinese Taipei 21-14, 21-13 in 28 minutes.
Japan won the women’s doubles and the mixed doubles. In the women’s doubles Misato Aratama-Akane Watanabe defeated Thailand’s Kittipak Dubthuk-Natcha Saengchote 21-18, 21-15 while Hiroki Okamura-Naru Shinoya upset the Malaysia-India combination and top seeds K. Yogendran-Prajakta Sawant 21-10, 24-22 for the mixed doubles crown. – BY RIZAL ABDULLAH
Iskan Zulkarnain Zainuddin (Mas) beat Leong Jun Hao (Mas) 21-11, 21-13
Ruselli Hartawan (Ina) beat Lin Ying-chu (Tpe) 21-14, 21-13
Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin (Mas) beat Shia Chun Kang-Tan Wee Gieen (Mas) 21-19, 21-12
Misato Aratama-Akane Watanabe (Jpn) Kittipak Dubthuk-Natcha Saengchote (Tha) 21-18, 21-15
Hiroki Okamura-Naru Shinoya (Jpn) beat K. Yofendran-Prajakta Sawant (Mas/Ind)