# Purple League champions Muar City BC overcome gritty Serdang BC 11-8
# Tan Chun Seang rides on experience to deliver crucial points
Purple League champions Muar City BC can thank their lucky stars and Tan Chun Seang’s experience to book their place in the last four in the Resorts World Genting Champions Challenge with a nail-biting 11-8 win over Serdang BC in the quarter-finals at the Arena of Stars in Genting on Tuesday.
Playing in the men’s second singles in the last match of the tie Chun Seang, 29, a former Thomas Cupper rode on his vast experience to defeat Lee Zii Jia 11-8, 9-11, 11-5, 11-10 in 30 minutes.
It was certainly not an easy win for Chun Seang but took full advantage of Zii Jia’s inexperience. The 17-year-old Zii Jia held a four point advantage in the fourth set but could not deliver the devil’s point to force a rubber as he fumbled easy opportunities at the net.
Despite the defeat Serdang held their heads high against the favourites and two-time Purple League champions who had beaten them 15-3 in the league encounter.
They two teams had also crossed paths in the first round in last year’s Champions Challenge.
“There is no shame in our defeat. We lost against the favourites but we gave them a run for their money this time. Muar had players with Olympic experience but we did not surrender meekly.
“We lost because of inexperience. What is pleasing is that our ‘groom them young’ policy with our young players is paying dividends. I am proud of my players for fighting till the end,” said Serdang team manager Ong Ewe Hock, himself a former Thomas Cupper.
“In the league encounter against Muar we lost to them 15-3. But today we took them the full distance…we could have turned the tide in our favour if only we had experienced players like them.”
For the first time Muar lost their mixed doubles match when Serdang’s Pei Tianqi-Wu Qianqian stunned former Korean Olympians Hang Sang-hun-Lee Hyo-jung 11-10, 11-8, 5-11, 11-9 in 26 minutes.
South Korean veteran Lee Hyun-il gave Muar a flying start with a 11-5, 11-5, 11-8 win over 20-year-old Chinese Xie Binyu. However, Serdang were back in the picture when Xu Wei outplayed Muar’s Rusydina Antardayu 11-3, 11-2, 8-11, 11-8 in the women’s singles.
Muar won the men’s doubles through Chow Pak Chuu-Tan Bin Shen but the cheers were for Serdang’s 17-year-olds Ooi Zi Heng-Soh Woo Yik who won over the fans with a gritty performance. The Muar pair won 11-7, 9-11, 11-8, 11-6 in 25 minutes.
The league champions celebrated their win against Serdang with high fives but team manager Huan Woon Han was quick to admit that “it was a touch and go affair” that could have either way.
“Without doubt Chun Seang delivered when it mattered. His experience came in handy and he made up for his disappointing 3-0 defeat to Liew Daren at the same court in a league match against Puchong (United) last week.” said Woon Han.
Muar lost to Kepong BC in last year’s Champions Challenge final.
Muar City BC beat Serdang BC 11-8
Men’s singles: Lee Hyun Il beat Xie Bingyu 11-5, 11-5, 11-8
Women’s singles: Rusydina Antardayu lost to Xu Wei 3-11. 2-11, 11-8, 8-11
Mixed doubles: Hang Sang-hun-Lee Hyo-jung lost to Pei Tianqi-Wu Qianqian 10-11, 8-11, 11-5, 9-11,
Men’s doubles: Chow Pak Chuu-Tan Bin Shen beat Ooi Zi Heng-Soh Wooi Yik 11-7, 9-11, 11-8, 11-6
Men’s singles: Tan Chun Seang beat Lee Zii Jia 11-8, 9-11, 11-5, 11-10