Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Badminton News: Razif expects a Malaysia and Denmark tie to go 3-2 either way


A CLIFF-HANGER is on the cards if Malaysia are to meet Denmark in the Tho­mas Cup Finals.
The skipper of the Malay­sian Tho­mas Cup-winning team in 1992, Razif Sidek, said that Denmark would be fighting for every point against Malaysia and the probable outcome would be 3-2 either way.

“They are strong and have a balanced team good enough to challenge Malaysia for every point. I predict that it will go right down to the wire,” he said. “This tie could go into the history books as one of the closest. On paper, both have equal strength. The only ad­­vantage Malaysia has is home support.”
Razif said that world No. 1 and All-England champion Lee Chong Wei should start the ball rolling for Malaysia against Peter-Gade Christensen.

“My money is on Chong Wei to win this match. There is the age factor and I think Chong Wei has the physical and home advantage,” he said.
“And, I do not think Peter has any outstanding stroke or special weapon to take down a much-improved Chong Wei this time.”
The former doubles specialist was also confident that the world No. 1 pair, Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boong Heong, would put Malaysia 2-0 ahead by getting the better of Mathias Boe-Carsten Mogensen.
“The Danes are on fire but the match should favour Koo-Tan if they can stay consistent with their attacking and defensive game,” said Razif.
“Our players should be ready to handle the psychology warfare from the Danes. They will try to irritate them and get them to be emotional. They should stay cool at all times.”
Razif, however, does not think, Malaysia will win points through either Wong Choong Hann in the second singles or Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari-Mohd Zakry Abdul Latif.

Choong Hann will take on Danish rising star Jan O Jorgensen while Fairuzizuan-Zakry will have a giant task to get the better of reigning All-England and European champions Lars Paaske-Jonas Rasmussen.
“Based on statistics, Jorgensen stands a better chance. He has beaten several top players in the world, including Chong Wei and Taufik Hidayat (Indonesia). He will be in a better physical condition,” said Razif.
“But I salute Choong Hann for making a comeback to the national team. I know he will not give up without a fight and we will see him fighting for every point.
“Currently, oldies Lars-Jonas are the favourites. The world champions will be a tough nut to crack. On current form, I don’t see how Zak­ry-Fairuzizuan will be able to beat them.”
And if all goes according to Razif’s prediction, Malaysia will have to bank on Hafiz to save the day. And he hoped that the history would not repeat itself.
When Denmark last played against Malaysia in the 2006 Finals, the semi-final tie went into the decisive fifth match. Kuan Beng Hong failed to live up to expectations and lost to Joachim Persson.
“Hafiz will be the key in this tie. I hope he will deliver. The chances are 50-50 if he were to play against Persson. I hope he will make use of the home ground advantage to prove himself. I hope it will be a 3-2 win for Malaysia.”
Razif does not think that Denmark will field Kenneth Jonassen or Thomas Laybourn unless there are injuries in the team.
The earliest Malaysia are likely to meet Denmark is in the semi-finals and that too will depend on the fresh draw that will take place after the group ties.

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