Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Cilic to play in Malaysian Open

Croatian tennis star Marin Cilic is set to make his debut in the Malaysian Open ATP 250 from Sept 21-29 at the Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil despite being investigated for failing a dope test.
The world No. 18, who lost to world No. 2 Andy Murray in the final of the Queen’s Club Championships in London in June, reportedly failed a drug test last month and subsequently pulled out from the ongoing Montreal Masters.
But the 24-year-old Cilic, who claimed that he failed the test because of high glucose levels, has not been banned by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) or the ATP Tour. He is also set to compete in the US Open, which will be held from Aug 26-Sept 9.
“Cilic is being investigated for the failed dope test but he is not banned by the ITF or ATP ... he is free to enter and play in tournaments,” said Malaysian Open organisers IMG in a statement.
Apart from Cilic, the Malaysian Open can also boast having the likes of world No. 4 David Ferrer of Spain, world No. 9 Stanislas Wawrinka (Switzerland), world No. 15 Nicolas Almagro (Spain), defending champion Juan Monaco (Argentina) and former finalists Marcos Baghdatis (Cyprus) and Julien Bennetau (France).
Monaco is glad to be returning to Malaysia.
“You always want to go back to a place where you have done well, so I’m very happy to come back to KL ... this year, I’m bringing along my Davis Cup team-mates – Carlos Berlocq, Leonardo Mayer and Horacio Zeballos,” he said.
A fifth Argentine – Federico Delbonis – who stunned Swiss maestro Roger Federer in the German Open last month, will also be competing, taking up one of the special exempt slots.
“We are delighted that so many marquee names have decided to come to KL for the tournament’s fifth anniversary,” said tournament director Nick Freyer.
“In addition to the top names like Ferrer and Wawrinka, the likes of Almagro, Cilic, (Andreas) Seppi, (Vasek) Pospisil and Delbonis will make this tournament more exciting.” -

Malaysian Open attracts world class players

AS the US$984,300 Malaysian Open, Kuala Lumpur gears up for its 5th birthday and Visit Malaysia Year celebrations, the tournament, to be played at Putra Stadium, Kuala Lumpur from September 21 to 29, 2013, released its full entry list today.

The line-up is headed by two previously announced top-10 players – world No.4 and French Open finalist David Ferrer, and world No.9 Swiss, Stan Wawrinka. Among the field there are four players who have been either winners (Nikolay Davydenko and defending champion Juan Monaco) or finalists (Marcos Baghdatis and Julien Benneteau) at the Malaysian Open, Kuala Lumpur.

Two top 20 stars have been added to the field.  They are Spaniard Nicolas Almagro, currently ranked 15, but who has spent most of the year in the top 10 and the big serving Croat Marin Cilic, ranked 18, who makes his KL debut. This year Cilic won the Zagreb event and was a finalist at The Queen’s Club, London.

“You always want to go back to a place where you have done well, so I am very happy about coming back to Kuala Lumpur and this year I bring four of my Davis Cup team mates,” said Monaco. “Last year was my first time in Malaysia and I liked it very much, and I won the tournament. I hope it can happen again.”

Italian Andreas Seppi (#21) is enjoying a strong season as part of the resurgence of Italian tennis, Austrian Jurgen Melzer will be playing the tournament for the third straight year, having been a quarter-finalist in 2011, and the giant killing Argentine Federico Delbonis is a new and exciting name to look out for – he recently upset Roger Federer as did another one of the tournament’s entrants, Germany’s Daniel Brands. Delbonis is currently next in on the entry list and would take one of the Special Exempt slots.

The full entry list is included.  The singles main draw features 28 players. There are 19 direct acceptances, three wild cards and four qualifiers. Two “special exempts” slots are held until the week before and can be used, if necessary, for KL qualifying draw players, who have reached the last rounds of the main draw of an ATP World Tour tournament the previous week – otherwise the next two players on the list receive a direct entry.

“We are delighted that so many marquee names have decided to come to KL to celebrate our fifth birthday,” said Tournament Director Nick Freyer, of organisers IMG. “In addition to the previously announced top 10 marquee players, stars of the future and previous finalists, we now welcome three additional top 21 players in Nicolas Almagro, Marin Cilic and Andreas Seppi, plus a host of exciting others that include Jurgen Melzer, Vasek Pospisil, Dimitry Tursunov, and giant killer Federico Delbonis – an exciting field worthy of our celebrations.

Two singles main draw wild cards have been awarded to Wimbledon junior finalist Hyeon Chung of South Korea and Carreno, who also received a wild card into the doubles, where he pairs with budding countryman Roberto Carballes, who received a singles qualifying wild card.

One main draw singles wild card and one doubles pair wild card remain to be confirmed, with the names of the three qualifying wild cards for local players to be announced in conjunction with the Lawn Tennis Association of Malaysia, in early September.   .

Tickets prices remain very reasonable and range from RM 10 to RM 120, and there will be free admission between Saturday, September 21 and Tuesday, September 24.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Perfect birthday gift for Yussyazlin

IT turned to be the proudest day for Yussyazlin Nabila Yusri as she celebrated her 15th birthday along with mother Osmarina Othman, who turned 41 yesterday, by acing a double in the National Circuit second leg at the National Tennis Centre in Kuala Lumpur.
Yussyazlin, the top seed, defeated second seed Alyssa Boey 6-4, 6-2 to win her first ever women's singles title on the circuit before she and Nurin Nabila Roslan overcame Suhana Sofea-Loo Pei Shi 6-2, 6-1 in the doubles final.
"I was motivated today (yesterday). It is always special to achieve something on your birthday. This is my best ever gift for me and my mother," said Yussyazlin yesterday.
Yussyazlin earned RM1,200 for the singles win and RM300 (RM600 per pair) in the doubles.
World No 248 Christopher Rungkat of Indonesia blanked compatriot Elbert Sie 6-2, 6-2 in the men's final. It was his second title on the circuit.
Christopher-Elbert edged Syed Agil Syed Naguib-Ashaari Zainal 4-6, 6-0, 10-6 in the doubles final.
The circuit continues with the third leg on May 31-June 4.

Monday, 4 March 2013

Kai Chen is the first

A MATCH weary Chang Kai Chen of Taiwan became the first player to successfully defend a title at the WTA BMW Malaysian Open.
She and Shuko Aoyama of Japan sealed a dramatic 6-7 (7-4), 7-6 (7-4), 14-12 win over top seeds Janette Husarova of Slovakia and China's Zhang Shuai in the women's doubles final at Royal Selangor Golf Club in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
Husarova and Zhang Shuai won the first set which saw both pairs exchange breaks on four occasions. They carried their form into the second set and were quick to break their second-seeded opponents in only the second game.
Kai Chen and Shuko, however, regained their momentum and broke back in the seventh game until a hip injury forced Kai Chen to receive medical treatment before the start of the eighth game. She also called for the trainer on another two times in the latter stages of the match.
Husarova and Zhang Shuai had a match point in the 12th game but could not seal the match. They were later made to rue the missed opportunity when their opponents took the second set on tie-break.
Kai Chen and Shuko needed four match points before they could seal a 14-12 win in the decider.
Kai Chen said she was delighted to take the title after a tough week of matches in Kuala Lumpur.
"This is a great win for us. We have had a tough week of matches and I am very happy we managed to come through. It was also mentally tough and I was hurting really badly (due to injury)," said Kai Chen.
"We were down a lot of times but we never gave up and never lost belief in ourselves. We needed a lot of match points in the (deciding) tiebreak and we tried to motivate each other to finish off the match."
The 22-year-old, who took the title with compatriot Chuang Chia Jung last year, said she will definitely be back next year. The title is her second with Shuko, after the pair also won in Washington last year, and her fourth WTA title overall.
Kai Chen and Aoyama received US$11,500 (RM34,025) for their victory while Husarova and Zhang Shuai took home US$6,000 (RM18,559).

Karolina grabs title

LTAM president Tan Sri Abdul Razak Latiff (right) and BMW CEO Dr Gerhard Pils present the trophy and mock cheque to Karolina Pliskova after winning the BMW Malaysian Open singles title yesterday. Pic by Goh Thean Howe

CZECH Karolina Pliskova has finally made her presence felt on the WTA Tour.

The unseeded Karolina, who had never been beyond the quarter-finals of a tour event, bounced back from a first set blemish to overcome American wildcard Bethanie Mattek-Sands 1-6, 7-5, 6-3 in the singles final of the WTA BMW Malaysian Open yesterday.

"I am delighted to win my first career title in Kuala Lumpur. I must thank my mother, Martina, for urging me on after I lost the first set badly," said Karolina at Royal Selangor Golf Club yesterday.

"I play a lot of doubles but now I love singles more. Bethanie was playing much better than me in the opening set as she was retrieving my serves well. However, I served a lot better in the second and went on to win the title."

The win will definitely give a huge boost to Karolina's tennis career. A former Australian Open junior champion, the World No 127 has been struggling to make a perfect transition from junior to senior tennis on the tour since turning professional in 2009.

Karolina, ranked ninth in the Czech Republic, turns 21 with her twin sister, Kristyna, on March 21 and her 200th win as a professional yesterday will be a perfect impending gift for the youngster.

The right-handed player, however, failed to gain a good start in the opening set as she had no answer to Bethanie's efficient play and was broken three times. Bethanie won it in only 23 minutes.

However, Karolina, a winner of nine ITF singles titles, played aggressively in the second and both players held serve before the Czech broke the 12th game to level proceedings.

The third set was halted for 40 minutes at 1-1 due to the rain before play resumed with Karolina immediately hitting the right chord to break Bethanie in the sixth game before sealing the match with an ace to claim victory in 106 minutes.

The aggressive Karolina was dominant, firing 10 aces and hitting 78 winners. She won 67 per cent of points behind her first serve compared to Bethanie's 57 per cent.

Karolina earned her biggest cheque of US$40,000 (RM124,000) while Bethanie, who appeared in three finals before, received US$20,000 (RM62,000). She is projected to surpass her career-high ranking of 107 after this win.

Bethanie said: "I won the first set but in the second, she started serving well and I couldn't break her. I am very happy with the way I played this week."

The Malaysian Open is quickly gaining reputation as a tournament for upcoming players to win their first tour title.

It has produced three first-time winners, also comprising Russian Alisa Kleybanova, who won in 2010 and Taiwanese Hsieh Su Wei last year, in four editions.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Aslina leads team to sixth place

 NATIONAL champion Aslina Chua led the national Fed Cup team to a sixth place finish on their return to the Asia/Oceania Group II competition which ended on Sunday in Astana, Kazakhstan.
   The team, also comprising S. Theiviya, Alyssa Boey and Nurin Nabila Roslan, notched wins over Kyrgyzstan (2-1) Pakistan (3-0) and Iran (3-0) but lost to Indonesia (3-0) and the Philippines (3-0) to finish third in Group B.
   In the play-off match for fifth position, Malaysia were thrashed 3-0 by Vietnam, led by Huynh Trang Phuong Dai.
   Aslina and Theiviya were the team’s best performers, winning three of their six respective matches each.
   Indonesia beat Hong Kong 2-0 to win the competition and promotion to Group I next year.
   Malaysia last played in the Fed Cup, hosted in Kuala Lumpur, in 2010 where the team, led by former World No 329 Khoo Chin Bee, finished fourth.

Double blow dampens states’ enthusiasm to develop tennis

KUALA LUMPUR: Tennis is an Olympic sport, offers lucrative prize money and is hugely popular globally.
In Malaysia though, the sport is being completely ignored. It has not been selected as a programme in the Malaysia Games (Sukma) in Bukit Jalil from June 28-July 7.
The sport also suffered a double disappointment when it was recently dropped from this year’s SEA Games in Myanmar.
And a frustrated Johnson Koh, the Sabah Tennis Association (SBA) president, feels that the double blow has dampened the enthusiasm shown by the various states to develop the sport.
“Most of us at the state level are very frustrated with this. We’ve put in so much effort to groom the youngsters, who have trained hard and were looking forward to these Games. But now, we do not have a competitive platform to gauge their standards,” he said.
“Sukma is held on alternate years. States hold it one year and Putrajaya the other. We were made to understand that if the states do not choose tennis, it will then be hosted in Putrajaya. Unfor­tunately, it was not hosted last year (in Malacca) and it is not in this year’s programme either.
“How are we to convince parents to encourage their young ones to take up the sport when they have nothing to look forward to. The national body (LTAM) have their age-group tournament but we are short of competitive tournaments.”
He was also disappointed that the national players have now also lost another platform to gauge themselves following Myanmar’s decision to drop the sport at the biennial Games this year.
“This is sad. For a sport that is so popular worldwide, it doesn’t get much of a chance here in Malaysia or this region. I hope our local authority will review their decision and give these aspiring youngsters a break ... give them a shot to make tennis a career,” said Johnson, who is also an exco member of LTAM.-

Kuching dominates MSS Sarawak Tennis Championship

KUCHING: Defending champions Kuching made a successful defence of their crown when they dominated the MSS Sarawak Tennis Championship again by winning nine out of 12 categories at the Sarawak Lawn Tennis Association Centre yesterday.

National Boys Under 15 number one player Alvin Teng achieved more success this week when he clinched the U-15 singles title by edging Adrian Lim 8-6 in the all-Kuching final.

The joint third place winners were Farith of Kuching and Charles Runyaam of Miri.

En route to the final, Teng received a first round bye and thumped Satreenraj of Samarahan 8-0 in the second round.

He followed up with a 3-0 victory over Mohd Irfan from Bintulu in the last eight and went on to beat Charles of Miri 8-5 in the semi-finals.

Last week, Teng won the Boys U-15 singles title in the MSSM Kuching Tennis Championships.

He had also captured the Boys U-15 singles and doubles titles at the Lawn Tennis Association of Malaysia (LTAM) Sportexcel Under 14 Tennis Circuit 1st Leg in Kuala Lumpur on Jan 23.

In the Boys U-18 singles final, state MSSM player Augustine Chang suffered an injury on his right ankle and conceded the title to his teammate Kenneth Tan.

Tan was leading Chang 6-5 when the latter retired.

The injury also affected Chang’s performance in the Boys Under 18 doubles final when he and partner Kenneth Tan went down lost 6-8 to another Kuching pair Ricco Soh-Shane.

The Boys U-12 singles final saw Isaac Noah beating Mohd Aiman 8-0 in an all-Kuching final.

Kuching also won the Boys U-15 doubles title where Adrian-Mark beat their teammates Sean-Farith 8-6.

The Boys U-12 doubles title went to Md Aiman-Mitchell of Kuching who beat teammates Nicklaus-Nurhadzmi 8-6 in the final.

Kuching’s other titles came from national Girls U-18 singles player Choo Lyn Yuen of Kuching who blanked Amanda Sim of Miri 8-0 in the Girls U-18 singles final, Goh Qing who beat Isabella Sim of Sibu 8-0 in the Girls U-12 singles final, and Angeline-Brigita who defeated Miri’s Nur Irdina -Esther 7-3 in the Girls U- 12 doubles final.

Miri finished second overall by winning three titles while Sibu came in third.

Belinda Chai gave Miri their first title when she thumped Linda Leong of Bintulu 8-0 in the Girls U-15 singles final.

Belinda then partnered Virvienica to win the Girls U-15 doubles title by beating Kirstin Leong-Alia Azman of Kuching 8-6.

Miri’s Amanda-Annabella then beat Andrea-Charlene 8-2 in the Girls U-18 doubles final.

The three-day competition organised by MSS Sarawak and hosted by MSSM Kuching saw 84 players including 35 girls from Kuching, Samarahan, Sibu, Miri and Bintulu taking part.

Kuching District Education Officer Mahli Rosli closed the event and gave away the prizes.

The top five players from each category will represent Sarawak in the MSSM Tennis Championships to be hosted by Sarawak this year from Mar 23-27 at the same

Daniela and Jelena enter the fray

SLOVAKIAN Daniela Hantuchova (picture courtesy of and Serbian Jelena Jankovic will join former Danish World No 1 Caroline Wozniacki in the WTA BMW Malaysian Open, on Feb 25-March 3, in Kuala Lumpur.

Daniela, the World No 58 and a winner of four Grand Slam mixed doubles titles, has a good record in Asia, having won the Pattaya Open in 2011 and 2012 as she aims for her sixth career singles title on her debut.

The 30-year-old, however, has yet to reach her peak following a string of average performances this season.

Jelena, a former World No 1 and a grand slam mixed doubles champion, will feature in a tournament in Kuala Lumpur, where she reached the semi-finals last season, since the Australian Open.

China's Zheng Jie, a two-time grand slam doubles winner, has been offered the third wild card but the World No 46 has yet to confirm her availability.

Caroline, who reached the last-16 in Melbourne, will need to produce something special in Kuala Lumpur to become the first top seed to win the Malaysian Open on her debut.

The former World No 1 has won 20 tour titles, including five in Asia.

Taiwan's Hsieh Su Wei, a two-time tour champion, has switched her focus to singles this season as the World No 25 aims to become the first player to retain a title in Kuala Lumpur.

Serbian Bojana Jovanovski and Japanese Ayumi Morita are the other top draws hoping to get their hands on the singles title after previous failed attempts.

Bojana, a first round casualty last season, is looking forward to a good season after achieving her career-high ranking of 38 on Jan 28 while Ayumi, a finalist in the inaugural edition in 2010, is aiming to emulate her idol and teammate Kimiko Date-Krumm on the tour.

Others in the main draw, barring withdrawals, are Greece's Eleni Daniilidou, Taiwan's Chan Yung Jan, Australia's Casey Dellacqua, Japan's Misaki Doi and the Pliskova sisters, Kristyna and Karpolina of the Czech Republic.

On the local front, Aslina Chua has accepted a wild card for the qualifiers while the second spot is expected to go to S. Theiviya.-

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Karosi battles stomach upset to win title

AUSTIN KAROSI won the men’s singles title in the BMW Malaysian National Circuit Leg 1 after defeating second seed Si Yew Ming 6-1, 5-7, 6-4 in today’s final.

The Singaporean, who made his debut this year at the BMW Malaysian National Circuit, also bagged prize money of RM4,000.

But things didn’t come easy for the world No. 920 as he was battling a stomach upset and a resilient Yew Ming.

The 22-year-old hard hitter dominated the first set before finishing it off at 6-1.

The momentum shifted to Yew Ming in the second set when Karosi held the lead at 4-2, as the Singaporean found it hard to focus on the match with the stomach upset.

Yew Ming took full advantage of the situation to come back and seal the second set at 7-5.

“It might be because of something I had in the morning; I could feel it acting up and I didn’t know what to do.

“I was hitting well throughout the match until then and Yew Ming took full advantage,” Karosi said.

“He was hardly making any mistakes from the start and he got the better of me in the second set,” said Karosi who called for a toilet break before going into the third set.

His condition was so bad that he vomited in the final set but that helped settle his stomach.

“It was troubling me and I had to get it out and things eventually got better from there on,” added Karosi.

The Singaporean took some time to get himself into the match before sealing the final with a 6-4 victory.

“It has been a long and tiring week for me and I am glad it ended this way. The plus point is that I served really well today, something which I lacked the past few months when I was playing in the Futures tournaments,” said Karosi.

The women’s single finals saw Theviya Selvarajoo defeating Yus Syazlin Nabila Yusri 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 to take home the prize money of RM1,200.

(All Finals) 
Men’s Singles Tier 1: Austin Karosi bt Si Yew Ming 6-1, 5-7, 6-4
Tier 2: Jonathan Nathar bt Bryan Lim 7-6 (7-2), 6-2
Doubles Final: Mohd Ashaari Zainal-Syed Mohd Agil Syed Naguib bt Khoo Er Yang-Mohd Faeez Said 6-1, 7-6 (7-5), 10-6
Womens Singles: Theviya Selvarajoo bt Yus Syazlin Nabila Yusri 6-3, 3-6, 6-4
Doubles: Aslina Chua-Thviya Selvarajoo bt Alyssa Boey-Nurin Nabilah Roslan 6-2, 6-4

Theiviya overcomes pain to enter final

S. THEIVIYA had blisters on her fingers but it did not stop the teenager from reaching the women's singles final of the BMW Malaysian Circuit first leg at the National Tennis Centre in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

The top seed overcame a sluggish first set to edge Aslina Chua 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 in two hours.

It was a painful experience for Theiviya but the 19-year-old rallied on to set up a final against second seed Yussyazlin Nabila Yusri, who defeated former national champion Alyssa Boey 6-1, 6-4 in the other semi-final, today.

"The blisters had little effect on me as I was too focused on the match. The match could have gone either way but an early break point in the third helped me regroup and win."

On the final, Theiviya said Yussyazlin will be a tough opponent as she is playing well.

"I have beaten her before but she has improved so much. It is good for local tennis that many players are now making progress in their game."

Theiviya and Asline will pair up against Alyssa-Nurin Nabila in the doubles final.

In men's singles, American-born top seed Austin Karosi eased past Asean University gold medallist Syed Aqil Syed Naguib 6-2, 6-0 in a one-sided semi-final match.

Syed Agil could not last the tempo as he was nursing a shoulder injury.

Second seed Si Yew Ming was given a huge fight by former international Abd Hazli Zainuddin before prevailing 6-4, 7-5 for a spot in the final.

Yew Ming, 34, is hoping to regain his status as the national No 1 following his defeat to Ariez Elyaas Deen Heshaam in last month's Masters final.

"Karosi is playing well here but I believe I have a good chance of winning it tomorrow (today)," said Yew Ming.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Karosi to meet Yew Ming in final

SINGAPORE’S Austin Karosi (picture) made light work of third seed Syed Mohd Agil Syed Naguib as he booked his place in the final of the BMW Malaysian National Circuit Leg 1 with a resounding 6-2 6-0 victory over the Malaysian.

The American, who currently resides in Singapore, will face off against second seed Si Yew Ming in tomorrow’s final.

“I performed much better today. My movement and shots around the court yesterday were rather tight and there was a lot of difference today.

“I was more relaxed and it certainly helped. My serves were near perfect and so was my forehand but Syed Agil gave me a stern challenge and was unlucky on a few occasions,” said Karosi who is ranked 920 in the world.

Syed Agil, who is nursing a shoulder injury, was off to a perfect start but as Austin pushed him on the rallies, the 19-year-old ended up losing his momentum.

“Everything was okay at the start but after a while, my shoulder began to ache and I was finding it hard to serve and hit my forehands,” said Syed Agil.

National No.1 Si Yew Ming, meanwhile, was given a stern challenge by Abdul Hazli Zainuddin but the 34-year-old held his nerves to overcome his opponent 6-4, 7-5.

“It was tough but I managed to pull it off. He was returning almost every shot and that made things difficult but eventually I found my rhythm to get the better of him,” said Yew Ming.

Karosi, on his debut here, has never played against Yew Ming but has seen the veteran on court a few times.

“He has tons of experience and I hope to be at my best tomorrow. Things have got tougher since the quarterfinals and I certainly can’t take things lightly,” said Karosi.

Semifinals (Malaysia unless stated)
Men’s singles: Austin Karosi (Singapore) bt Syed Mohd Agil Syed Naguib 6-2, 6-0; Si Yew Ming bt Abdul Hazli Zainuddin 6-4, 7-5.

Women’s singles: Theviya Selvarajoo bt Aslina Chua 3-6, 6-4, 6-1; Yus SyazlinNabila Yusri bt Alyssa Boey 6-1, 6-4.

Women’s doubles: Aslina Chua-Thviya Selvarajoo bt Michelle Khoo Li Sha-Yus Syazlin Nabila Yusri 6-2, 6-1; Alyssa boey-Nurin Nabilah bt Siti Aisyah Idris-Rose Shamiza Badrul Hisham 6-3, 6-1. -

Syed Aqil into semis

SYED Aqil Syed Naguib secured his place in the men’s singles semi-finals of the BMW Malaysian Circuit first leg with a 6-2, 6-1 thrashing of Marco Setipu at the National Tennis Centre in Kuala Lumpur on Monday.
Syed Aqil, a gold medallist at last month’s Asean University Games, plays American-born top seed Austin Karosi, who beat Ashaari Zainal Abdin 5-7, 6-1, 6-2 in the quarter-finals, for a spot in the final today.
Second seed Si Yew Ming was taken the distance in the first set before prevailing 6-4, 6-2 over Khoo Er Yang to set up a semi-final encounter against Abd Hazli Zainuddin, who upset national player Ahmad Deedat Razak 7-6 (7-2), 7-6 (7-1).
In the women’s section, top seed S. Theiviya earned a ‘dream’ semi-final match against national champion Aslina Chua, following a 6-1, 7-5 win over Nurin Nabila Roslan yesterday,
Aslina  defeated Thailand’s Konmawan Thongsaner 6-1, 6-2. The other semi-final pits second seed Yussyazlin Nabila Yusri against former national champions Alyssa Boey.-

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Theiviya scores double 'bagel' wins

S. THEIVIYA recorded back-to-back double ‘bagel’ wins to reach the women’s singles quarter-finals of  the BMW Malaysian Circuit first leg at the National Tennis Centre in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
   Theiviya, the daughter of former national champion S. Selvarajoo, was in near perfect form as the 19-year-old hammered Aida Hereena Hairy Anuar and Rose Shamiza Badrul Hisham with identical 6-0, 6-0 scores.
   Selvarajoo said Theiviya is determined to make a huge impact on the tournament.
   “She missed out of being the national champion last month due to illness. It has made her more eager to win this title,” said Selvarajoo yesterday.
   The top seed, who turned professional last month, is expected to face national champion Aslina Chua in the semi-finals.
   “Theiviya should reach the last four for the likely match against Aslina. She is looking forward to this encounter,” Selvarajoo added.
   Second seed Yussyazlin Nabila Yusri, Alyssa Boey and Thailand’s Konmawan Thongsaner also won their respective first-round matches yesterday.
   In the men’s section, top seed and World No 969 Austin Karosi won his opening three matches to qualify for the fourth round.
   The 23-year-old American-born, representing Singapore, started his campaign with a 6-1, 6-1 thrashing of Amirul Aiman Abd Halim, followed by impressive wins over Lee Vun Tsir (6-1, 6-3) and Ahmad Faizal Mansor (6-1, 6-0).
   Karosi was due to play Jordan Quek in their fourth round match late yesterday.
   Second seed and former national champion Si Yew Ming safely negotiated past Bryan Lim (6-1, 6-1), Danial Anuar Hayes (6-1, 6-0) and national Under-14 champion Koay Hao Sheng 6-4, 6-3 to make the fourth round. The 35-year-old was due to play M. Damien Rocky in a late match yesterday.
   Asean University Games champion Syed Aqil Syed Naguib, Abdul Hazli Zainuddin, Ashaari Zainal Abidin, Khoo Er Yang and Ahmad D

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

RSGC is ready for Malaysian Open

WITH more than RM1 million being spent on venue  preparations, both  players and fans can expect a top-class  tournament at the upcoming BMW Malaysian Open  which  will this year be held for a first time at  the Royal Selangor Golf  Club (RSGC) on Feb 25-March 3.
  RSGC president Admiral (Rtd) Tan Sri Mohd Anwar Mohd  Nor said the club  is confident it will live up to expectations  after the Bukit Kiara Equestrian & Country Resort suc cessfully hosted three editions of the tournament.
“ Besides golf, we  also have a strong history of tennis at the  club and are the only club in the country to offer grass courts  since the club was established in 1893,” said Mohd Anwar,  who is also the president of the Malaysian Golf Association.
 “We are celebrating our 120th anniversary this year and  are happy to be hosting a world class event such as the  Malaysian Open. We are definitely eager to put on a good  show.
“A lot of upgrade works have been done to meet and  hopefully exceed WTA specifications.
 “At the moment we are putting on the final touches and  expect all to be completed by early next month.
“Five courts are being resurfaced and have also had their  lighting upgraded.
“We have also upgraded numerous facilities which in cludes the players lounge, physiotherapy rooms as well as  public areas which will be very spacious. 
“I can also assure fans they will have a good time here as we  have gone to great lengths to ensure they will be comfortable  from the moment they park their car.
Mohd Anwar urged fans to come and experience for  themselves top-class tennis at the club and hoped the  organisers of the tournament will be able to rope in more big  names for the event.
“This is a great chance for Malaysian fans to catch world- class players in action.
“With the proximity of the club to the heart of the city I hope  they will take this opportunity.
“(Caroline) Wozniacki will be a big draw and I understand  the organisers are also in talks with a number of big  names.
“If we can get a few more (stars) it will be the icing on the  cake to what we are sure will be a great tournament.-

KL gives her boost

ON THE RISE: Hsieh Su Wei, the highest ranked Taiwan player on the WTA Tour at World No 26 and reached the second round of the ongoing Australian Open. Su Wei, who will compete in the BMW Malaysian Open on Feb 25-March 3, speaks to Timesport’s Ajitpal Singh and Fadhli Ishak.
Question: You achieved your career high ranking of World No 25 last October. Can you  break into the top-10 soon?
Answer:  Well, I don't put pressure on myself about achieving targets. I put this pressure on my coach (Paul McNamee) to ensure I make progress. Of course everyone wants to break into the top-10 and hopefully, I can achieve it.

Question: You made a breakthrough in singles last season by winning your first title in Kuala Lumpur as a qualifier and then in Guangzhou. Do you feel you can do better this year?
Answer:  It was quite tough for me last season as I was not really focused on singles... I did not try very hard. The win in Kuala Lumpur was a great achievement as I had to qualify for the main draw as my ranking was low at 123. It gave me the confidence to win a second title in China. I am working on my singles game this season.

Question: China's Li Na and yourself are role models for Asian women tennis. How far can Asia go in the sport?
Answer: We have many players with potential in Asia. I believe Asia stands a better chance in the women's game as we share similar body types and strengths with players from other continents. We can sustain the pace and play a powerful game like them. I believe Asian tennis will achieve greatness soon.

Question: You achieved World No 25 ranking last October. How do you feel about it?
Answer: It was exciting and also the proudest moment for my family and friends. However, I need to work harder and win tournaments to move up the rankings.

Question: What are your expectations in Kuala Lumpur? Caroline Wozniacki, at World No 10, is the top seed here. Will you also play doubles?
Answer:   I will focus on singles. I love Kuala Lumpur and want to do many things here off the court. I am, of course, focused on defending my title successfully. This is my first ever experience, playing in a tour tournament as defending champion in singles. It will be something new for me.

Question: What are your targets for this season?
Answer: My focus last season was only in doubles as I wanted to win a grand slam. I did not really train for singles but my coach pushed me to play the event in tournaments. Things happened so quickly then. I hope to win titles in singles and doubles this year.

Question:  What are your hobbies?
Answer: I play a lot of sports, especially football, in my free time but I don't like watching it. I also listen to music, snap pictures of flowers, write on something interesting and read on fashion.

Question: You were introduced to tennis at five by your father, Hsieh Tze Lung. Did your father play tennis actively?
Answer: My dad was not a tennis player. He held a racquet for the first time a couple of days before I did. He then tried coaching me, using training manuals of professional players. Despite his limited experience, I achieved a lot as a youngster. If not for my Dad, I wouldn't be a good tennis player.

Question: You lost 6-2, 6-1 to Russia's Svetlana Kuznetsova in the second round of the Australian Open and you also bowed out in the doubles third round. Did you play well?
Answer: I like playing in grand slams but I did not get the results in Melbourne. Anyway, I am happy with my performance.

Hao Sheng on cloud nine

The Raja of Perlis, Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin Putra Jamalullail, congratulates Koay Hao Sheng who retained the boys’ Under-14 singles title at the 32nd Tuanku Syed Putra-Milo-Perlis Open International Juniors age-group tennis tournament recently. Pic by K. Kandiah

GEORGE TOWN: Defending champion Koay Hao Sheng won back-to-back titles when he retained the boys' Under-14 singles title by defeating South Africa's Richard Thongoana 6-2, 6-1 in the 32nd Tuanku Syed Putra-Milo-Perlis Open International Juniors age-group tennis tournament recently.
The Perlis-born then partnered Indonesian Christian Alvin Edison to defeat the South African pair of Bertus Kruger and Hugh Morgan 6-2, 6-3 to capture the boys' Under-14 doubles title at the Tennis Complex in Kampung Pondok, Kangar.
This was the second time the national junior had defeated the South African in as many weeks, as earlier at the 29th Penang Open International Juniors Age-Group championship, Hao Sheng had thrashed Richard 6-1, 6-0 at the Universiti Sains Malaysia Tennis Complex in Minden.
The 14-year-old Perlis ace teamed up with Selangor's Adam Ahmad Farid to defeat Muhd Khairil Anas Abd Rahim and Ranveer Singh Ryan of Kuala Lumpur 6-3, 6-4 for the doubles title in Penang.
Hao Sheng, the defending champion for both the singles and doubles titles in Penang and Perlis, has now won back-to-back titles in both the states' international juniors age group championships for the second consecutive year.
The lanky SM Derma, Kangar schoolboy, who aspires to be a professional tennis player, will be sitting for his PMR examination next year. He is ranked third in the junior category in the country.
Perlis Lawn Tennis Association vice president Cheng Joo Chong said the response to the tournament this year was overwhelming as for the first time, the tournament received more than 400 participants.
He said almost half of the participants were foreigners, and they came from the United States, South Africa, Uzbekistan, South Korea, Japan, Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore.

RESULTS (all finals) -- Boys' Under-10 Singles: Redjepov Marsel (Uzb) bt Chaiyward Phettani Am (Per) 6-4, 6-0.
Doubles: Jung Hwi Jin-Caleb Tay Kai Wei (Kor-Sin) bt Christian Liew-Ishan Devin Nair (HK-KL) 6-7, 6-1, 10-8.
Under-12 Singles: Lim Seung Jun (Kor) bt Lee Won Seok (Kor) 6-0, 6-2.
Doubles: Lim Seung Jun-Lee Won Seok (Kor) bt Danial Ahmad Farid-Christian Didier Chin (NS-Sab) 7-5, 6-2.
Under-14 Singles: Koay Hao Sheng (Per) bt Richard Thongoana (SA) 6-2, 6-1.
Doubles: Christian Alvin Edison-Koay Hao Sheng (Ina-Per) bt Bertus Kruger-Hugh Morgan (SA) 6-2, 6-3.
Under-16 Singles: Ahmad Faiz Shamsuddin (NS) bt Muhammad Asykal Azhar (Pg) 6-2, 6-4.
Doubles: Ahmad Faiz Shamsuddin-Nor Faeezam Said (NS) bt Ong Wei Yao-Trevor Phua (Sin) 6-4, 6-4.

Girls' Under-10 Singles: Oh Yu Gyeong (Kor) bt Kim Yoon A (Kor) 6-1, 6-4.
Doubles: 1 Jittakoat Yingluk-Pirada Suwanarak, 2 Uma Annika Nayar-Alexei Santos, 3 Rawiphon Phatch-Sara Alisha Nayar
Under-12 Singles: Lee Ji Youn (Kor) bt Kurahashi Natsumi (Jpn) 6-1, 6-2.
Doubles: Kurahashi Natsumi-Aina Oigawa (Jpnp) bt Jeon Seon Joo-Shin Eun Sae (Kor) 6-2, 6-1.
Under-14 Singles: Shevita Aulana (Ina) bt Umarova Kamilia (Uzb) 6-1, 6-1.
Doubles: Hanna Levina-Shevita Aulana (Ina) bt Kim Veronica-Umarova Kamilia (Uzb) 7-6, 3-6, 10-8.
Under-16 Singles: Michelle Khoo Li Sha (Pg) bt Sabrina Tan Hui Ling (Sin) 6-0, 6-1.
Doubles: Berlinda Lim Yih Chyng-Sabrina Tan Hui Ling (Ked) bt Nur Ameerah Azman-Nur Tasnim Muhammad (Per) 7-6, 6-3. -

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

National tennis ace Ariez to study in the US

KUCHING: National men’s tennis ace, Ariez Elyaas Deen Hesham had been accepted to further his studies at University of Comberland, Kentucky in USA.

The 19-year-old Sarawakian lad will be pursuing a degree in Business Administration at the university on a scholarship.

“I am very happy to be accepted by the university where I shall be both furthering my studies and playing tennis,” Ariez told the Borneo Post in a telephone interview from Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

He was due to fly to the US later in the evening.

“One of the conditions attached with the scholarship is to play for the university at the inter-university tennis competitions,” said Ariez who will be trained by a Malaysian coach now residing in the US.

“This is a back-up plan for me in case that if I am not able to succeed as a professional player, I shall at least hold the qualification to get a job,” he said while expressing the desire to return home and compete in international competitions like SEA Games or the Davis Cup if his services are required.

“During the summer holidays in the US which is about three months, I will also play in a few Men’s Futures events which are near Kentucky in order to gain more ATP points,” he said.

Ariez earned his ATP singles point at the 2011 F1 event in Laos and ATP doubles point by reaching the semi-finals at the F3 event held in Thailand with the highest ATP singles and doubles rankings he earned then was 1,498 and 1,378 respectively.

He became country’s top men’s singles player after he defeated Si Yew Ming of Perak 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 in the final of last year’s RM30,000 National Circuit at Jalan Duta Tennis Complex in Kuala Lumpur.

He defeated Si again at the recent BMW Malaysian National Circuit 2012 Masters also held in Kuala Lumpur enroute to winning the 1st National NSTP Men’s Circuit title last year.

He also played in the ATP Malaysian Open 250 and lost in the first round 2-6, 1-6 to ATP No. 70 Igor Sijsling and was a member of the Malaysian team that finished third in the Davis Cup held in Iran.

Ariez who first represented Malaysia for Davis Cup in 2010 at the age of 17 helped the country to finish fourth placing in 2011 Davis Cup held in Sri Lanka.

His highest ITF junior rankings reached 309 and he was selected by the ITF Federation for the 16 Under European Tour that was played in Italy and France.

He came in third in the Under 14 ATF tournament.

Other Sarawakians now studying in US on tennis scholarships include sisters Wena and Aileen Tsan, Zhong Zhia Hwa, siblings Kevin and Eileen Lee.

Those who have graduated are Michelle Liew, Lindsay Woon, Liew Meang, Liew Sheau Shan and Keng Pei Ying.

“They all belong to the elite group of tennis performers who not only excel in tennis but also in tennis. They are also able to fit in with the US higher education system where emphasis is both on sports and academics,” said Sarawak Lawn Tennis Association president Dato Patrick Liew.

“At the age of 19, he must be intellectual to seek a qualification and at the same time pursue his tennis career. The qualification is something that he can fall back on if he cannot soar to higher heights in tennis,” said Liew.-

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Tennis Ace to play in India

KUCHING: Sarawak tennis ace Mohd Assri Merzuki will be seeking his first Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) singles ranking points in India next month.

Sarawak Lawn Tennis Association (SLTA) president Dato Patrick Liew said yesterday that Assri, who turned 18 years old last month, has been entered to play in 3 back-to-back Men’s Futures events in Chennai, Madurai and Trichy from Feb 25 to Mar 17.

Describing the three events as very tough and highly competitive, Liew said Assri may have to play in the qualifiers to get to the main draw.

“I have called Asian Tennis Federation (ATF) president Anil Khanna to get a wild card entry for Assri and hopefully he can play in the main draw,” he added.

“All the top 300 ranked players will be there including some very good Indian players.”

On Assri’s readiness to face challenges in the men’s competition, Liew said: “ Physically, he is very strong and he is free from injury. He is also prepared mentally. He will need to be very strong both physically and mentally to play against the men,” added Liew.

He said Assri’s performance for the first months would be very important for SLTA to assess his capability and make adjustments for him.

“I am quite confident he can stand up to the challenge and repay the time and money that we have invested to groom him into a top calibre player,” he said.

The only Sarawakian player now who has one ATP point is national junior singles number one Ariez Elyaas Deen Hesham.

The SLTA president said he is negotiating with Lawn Tennis Association of Malaysia with the hope of hosting three events in the US$10,000 category in Kuching this year.

“Hopefully that will materialise in the third quarter of the year. Our intention is to provide a platform
for players like Assri and Ariez as well as a few other upcoming players in Semenanjung Malaysia to play at a higher level,” said Liew.-

System to choose only the best

THE National Elite Training Programme is into its third year and candidates shortlisted from last month’s BMW Malaysia National Circuit Masters will be assessed based on their fitness in the next three days.
“The candidates were chosen based on their performance at the national circuit; their scores from the tournament were put through a system and based on the percentage, we have made the call-up.”
“Finishing on top does not guarantee you a spot in the elite squad as we have opted to let the system pick out the best performer,” said national head coach Deen Heshaam.
The squad will be narrowed down to four players in each category (Boys, Girls and 16 Under) who will represent Malaysia in the Junior Davis Cup and Fed Cup.
Then there will the World Junior Team Championship which will be a team of three each for boys and girls below the age of 14.
“Selecting the right players is very important as time is not on our side and tennis is not something that can be learned overnight.
“Some of the players already have the basic technique which is very important, hence allowing us more time to build on their skills on court,”added Deen Heshaam. -

Saturday, 5 January 2013

A busy but fruitful year for Sabah Tennis Association

Sabah Tennis Association (STA) had a busy and fruitful year, according to its President Johnson Koh in a statement released on Wednesday.

He said the juniors especially are working well towards progress and improvement after almost a year under STA appointed coach Tito Latoja.

In November Christian Didier Chin and Stefan Alex managed to enter the quarterfinals of the Penang International Open Juniors tournament and Chin went on to the finals in the doubles in Penang , Perlis and Langkawi as well but eventually lost to the top seeds.

The BIMP-EAGA tennis tournament also saw them coming back with five bronzes and one silver and he believed given more time and with more support from the Sabah Sports Council these juniors will be groomed into better players.

He said the State body started the year with the staging of the inter-affiliate tournament, which was hosted and won by KKLTA.

A coaches dialogue session was also held in Tawau, which proved to be very fruitful and beneficial for tennis in the State.

The 5th Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor Team Tennis Invitational tournament, which was held in July continued to be a success and Lakeview team from Kuala Lumpur successfully defended their title for the third year in a row.

STA also made a courtesy call to the Head Of State Tun Juhar Mahiruddin in April to seek consent to organise the inaugural TYT Birthday Cup, which was simultaneously held in October to commemorate the TYT's birthday.

And the doubles event with commercial sector versus Government sector was successfully held with very much enthusiasm and participation from both sides.

He also disclosed that STA was also formally registered under the Sabah Sports Commissioner Act with the name of " Persatuan Tenis Negeri Sabah".

This year the State body also mourned the loss of its two prominent past staunch supporters due to old age, the late David E Morris, the former President of SDTA and Dr. Joe Yap, former SLTA President.

Meanwhile, Koh also expressed his thanks to the Youth and Sports Ministry, Sabah Sports Council, Sabah Forestry Director Datuk Sam Mannan and other sponsors for their part in supporting the association.-

Best Sports Association award for SLTA

KUCHING: The Sarawak Lawn Tennis Association (SLTA) created a history of sorts when it became the first sports association to win the Best Sports Association award for three times at the Youth and Sports Ministry’s Sarawak Sports Awards on Dec 22.

SLTA was named the Best Sports Association for 2012 and it had also won this award from the Sarawak State Sports Council in 2011 and 2003.

The award comes with a cash prize of RM5,000 Apart from that, SLTA president Dato Patrick Liew received the Youth and Sports Exemplary Award in August 2008. Its assistant secretary Wee Guan Seng received the BBS award this year, Secretary Bernard Chin won the same award last year, and treasurer Kho Siak Khoi was the award recipient in 2009.

“We feel honoured for the recognition and acknowledgement as the “Best Association” by the Youth and Sports Ministry,” said Liew. He said it was a clear demonstration that the award was due to SLTA’s committed, passionate, hardworking and dedicated committee.

“In fact as a leader in the association, I’m very proud and grateful of the our committee members who are from very high professions such as doctor, banker, educationist, former top civil servant and graduates from overseas and locally who have demonstrated unselfishly their volunteerism.”

“None of them are receiving any remuneration or other monetary benefits but they all love tennis and love to help our youths and junior players,” Liew spoke of the committee members’ volunteerism.

“They have also performed and discharged their duties very consistently for the past 15 to 18 years.”

Liew said SLTA organised several junior and junior international as well local national tournaments since 1999 consistently.

“We are not only creating a scenario that SLTA tennis centre and Kuching is the preferred tournament venue by ATF and ITF but also putting the city and Sarawak on the world map since then. We had created a great impact in sports tourism by bringing in about RM2.5 to 3.5 million in foreign revenue annually,” said Liew.

He added that SLTA had always believed in managing the organisation professionally (without sports politics), transparently, with accountability and creativity in organising events and activities.

Liew said SLTA has since 2011 gone beyond tennis as the core activity, adding that “We were involved in organising many youth activities such as futsal, basketball, volleyball, badminton, sepak takraw, skateboarding and running activities as well as musical concerts and cultural performances with the support from the state government.”

He said SLTA do have the perfect venue such the Kuching Integrated Recreational Centre (KIRC) which comprises the necessary facilities that had given opportunities to the youths to participate and get involved in organising various activities.

“I would like to dedicate this award to my hardworking, committeand passionate committee, you all deserved it,” cncluded Liew.- /