Lee moves into Malaysia Badminton Open finals

Updated 20 January 2013
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Lee moves into Malaysia Badminton Open finals

KUALA LUMPUR: World No.1 Lee Chong Wei dropped his first game of the tournament yesterday as he overcame Denmark’s Jan O Jorgensen to secure a place in the finals of the Malaysia Badminton Open.
The home favorite, bidding for record ninth Malaysia Open title, dropped the second game to the determined and energetic 26-year-old emerging Dane, but eventually won through 21-13, 17-21, 21-12.
“It was indeed a tough match and Jan pushed me hard,” said Lee, 30, who will now face Indonesia’s Sony Dwi Kuncoro in the final.
“I haven’t faced him in over a year but he has bounced back from his injuries to break into the top five in the world. So I’m expecting another tough match.” Kuncoro, a three-time Asian champion, was ranked as low as number 79 in the world ten months ago but is now in top form after battling back from back and leg injuries.
The 29-year-old, a bronze medalist in the 2004 Athens Olympics, will move up to number four when the new world rankings are announced next week.
Kuncoro advanced to the final by beating Japan’s Kenichi Tago 21-12, 19-21, 23-21.
“I’m delighted to be back in the mix of a Superseries final. A year ago, my career was in jeopardy due to all my injuries but I’ve buckled down and I’m happy with my progress,” he said.
In the women’ singles, China’s Yao Xue will be in her first Superseries final after beating South Korea’s Bae Yeon-Ju 21-15, 21-18 in 34 minutes.
Yao, who turned 22 on Thursday, will take on 18-year-old Tai Tzu-ying of Taiwan, who stunned Indian top seed Saina Nehwal 22-20, 21-14.
“I never expected to come this far in this tournament. I had to come through the qualifying rounds and to reach the final is a big bonus for me,” Yao said.
Chinese pair Bao Yixin/Tian Qing beat Indonesia’s Lejarsar Variella Aprilsasi Putri/Marissa Vita 21-13, 21-17 to book a berth in the women’s doubles finals.
The Chinese pair will face Japan’s Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi. The Japanese players had earlier defeated Singapore’s Shinta Mulia Sari and her partner Yao Lei 22-20, 21-14.


What now for Saudi Arabia’s big four teams?

Updated 19 April 2018
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What now for Saudi Arabia’s big four teams?

  • Al-Hilal won their 15th top-flight title this season.
  • Big summer for Saudi Arabia football with the Green Falcons at the World Cup.

Now the Saudi Professional League season is over for another year Arab News can look back at their title tilts and what the big four clubs have to do over the coming months ahead of the next season.

 



AL-HILAL

Finished: Champions

Coaching situation: Ramon Diaz was in charge for much of the season, but was fired in February after setbacks in the Champions League.
Assistant Juan Brown did Okay in the final stretch, but a top-class coach could get more out of this team.

Squad priorities: A reliable goalscorer to support Omar Khribin and with veteran defender Osama Hawsawi leaving for pastures new, a replacement center-back with leadership qualities. Welcoming back the major stars — Carlos Eduardo, Khribin, Nawaf Al-Abed and Salem Al -Dawsari — will be a major boost.

Aim next season: Win the AFC Champions League

 



AL-AHLI

Finished: Second

Coaching situation: Sergiy Rebrov is out of contract at the end of June. His future is likely to depend on how the team fares against Al-Sadd in the second round of the AFC Champions League in May.

Squad priorities: There is not much wrong. The Jeddah giants were the highest scorers in the league last season and had the second best defense. Keeping star midfielder Leonardo fit will help as will a little cover in the center of defense. Star striker Omar Al-Somah fell out with the coach in a public way in the penultimate game of the season. It may be that one of them has to go. The Syrian has been player of the year for three years and has a longer contract than Rebrov.

Aim next season: Win the league. Maintain good performances in Asia.


 
AL-NASSR

Finished: Third

Coaching situation: Krunoslav Jurcic arrived in January and the former Croatian national team boss produced an upswing in results. May just be a temporary appointment and it needs to be sorted quickly.

Squad priorities: Looks good with the Saudi Arabia national team keeper, a strong center-back pairing of Omar Hawsawi and Bruno Uvini and the full-back position seemingly sorted with the January signing of Saad Suhail. They probably need a defensive midfielder and have to keep Junior Kabananga. The DR Congo striker has shown enough in his few weeks at the club to suggest that he could be a real star next season, especially with Leonardo pulling the strings behind him.

Aim next season: A genuine title challenge and getting through the play-offs into  the 2019 AFC Champions League.

 


AL-ITTIHAD

Finished: Ninth

Coaching situation: A bottom half finish is unacceptable for a team with Al-Itithad’s stature and history. Chilean coach Jose Luis Sierra may find that winning domestic cups is no substitute for challenging for the title.

Squad priorities: There is too much reliance on players such as Carlos Villanueva, a creative spark in the team, and Fahad Al-Ansari, the midfield engine, who are the wrong side of 30. The possible return of star winger Fahad Al-Muwallad will help, but an introduction of energy is needed.

Aim next season: Top three and, if the team wins the King’s Cup, a good showing in the 2019 AFC Champions League.