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Not There Yet For Iskandar, Chong Wei Clinches Fifth Title

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GEORGE TOWN – Rising star Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin’s hopes of pulling of an upset against “top gun” Datuk Lee Chong Wei in the men’s singles final of the Malaysian Masters Grand Prix Gold (GP Gold badminton championship at the SPICE Arena here yesterday were dashed when he lost.

Chong Wei, who has won the title four times – 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 – picked up his fifth when he romped home to a 21-18, 21-11 victory.

“Today we could see Iskandar give a good fight. In the first set I was not in full attacking mode and he capitalised on it. By the second set, I had already read his play, and perhaps I am more experienced (in controlling the game).

“I have never played the Malaysian Masters in my hometown. I am very happy to pick up my first title this year here. I am looking ahead to the All-England and Swiss Open next,” said the former world number one.

Iskandar said his world fifth ranked “elder brother” was adept at anticipating his shots which made it difficult for him to have the upperhand.

“Chong Wei’s speed is unbelievable, that was what made it difficult for me to score points. I hope after this I can up my game physically,” said the 24-year-old.

In the men’s doubles finals, Malaysian professional pair Koo Kien Keat/Tan Boon Heong were taken to three sets by Indonesian pair Gideon Markus Fernaldi/Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo but went out in 18-21, 21-13, 21-18 in a match that lasted almost an hour.

“We let them steal points. In the third set the gap was too wide to catch up. We did our best even though we lost,” said Boon Heong.

In the women’s singles final, India’s P.V. Sindhu downed Kirsty Gilmour of Scotland in straight sets of 21-15, 21-9 in 32 minutes to pick up the winner’s purse of US$9,000 (RM37,800).

The women’s doubles top seeds Misaki Matsutomo/Ayaka Takahashi of Japan also lived up to their seeding by defeating Chinese pair Tang Yuanting/Yu Yang 21-18, 22-20.

The singles offered prize money of US$9,000 (RM37,800) and US$4,560 (RM19,152) to the winner and runner-up while for the doubles events it was US$9,480 (RM39,816) and US$4,560 (RM19,152) respectively.



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