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Iskandar looking to stay positive at Indonesian Open

Sunday, 29 May 2016 | MYT 8:49 PM


PETALING JAYA: Shuttler Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin (pic) should be able to qualify for the main draw of a Superseries Premier event again at this week’s Indonesian Open.

The 25-year-old qualified for his first Superseries Premier event at the Malaysian Open last month. The national No. 2 did well to reach the second round before losing to Jan O Jorgensen of Denmark.

Iskandar, the world No. 33, has a fairly easy draw in the qualifying rounds which begin at the Istora Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta on Tuesday.

He is expected to get past Estonia’s Raul Must in the opening match. After that, he could face either Indonesian youngster Firman Abdul Kholik or Singapore’s Derek Wong in the second and final qualifying match.    Iskandar is eager to pick himself up after the Thomas Cup heartbreak in Kunshan, China, last week.

Iskandar was tipped to shine in the semi-finals against Denmark after having won all his previous three group matches. But he was beaten by Hans Kristian-Vittinghus in the second singles as Malaysia fell to a 3-2 loss despite being 2-0 up.

Also looking to join world No. 2 Lee Chong Wei in the men’s singles main draw of the lucrative US$800,000 (RM3.27mil) championships are Zulfadli Zulkiffli and Goh Soon Huat.

World No. 38 Zulfadli will take on B. Sai Praneeth of India in the first round. If he wins, he has to play either Soon Huat or Dane Rasmus Fladberg in the final qualifying match.

Chong Wei, the second seed, will open his campaign against India’s Ajay Jayaram of India on Wednesday. The five-time Indonesian OPen champion is likely to meet world No. 4 Viktor Axelsen of Denmark in the semi-finals.

The other Malaysians taking part are Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong and Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong (men’s doubles), Vivian Hoo-Woon Khe Wei (women’s doubles) and Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying (mixed doubles). All of them will play in the main draw.

V Shem-Wee Kiong face a daunting task against world No. 4 Kim Gi-jung-Kim Sa-rang of South Korea in the first round. Veterans Kien Keat-Boon Heong have also been handed a tricky tie against Indone­sia’s Berry Angriawan-Ryan Agung Saputra.

Vivian-Khe Wei will take on home­sters Della Destiara Haris-Rosyita Eka Putri Sari while Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying take on world No. 1 Zhang Nan-Zhao Yunlei of China.

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