KUALA LUMPUR, (MARCH 7, 2013): Malaysia set up a semifinal meeting with Brunei in the ISTAF SuperSeries FINALS 2013/14 after easily seeing off Japan 15-1, 15-9 in the quarterfinals at Titiwangsa Stadium here today.
The first team of tekong Izurin Refin, feeder Muqlis Borhan and striker Hanafiah Dolah played a near-flawless game in the first set, applying pressure from the start to race to a 9-0 lead. A service fault gave the Japanese a point, but a string of spikes and blocks from Hanafiah sealed the set for the hosts in nine minutes.
The fourth-seeded Japanese came back stronger in the second and were level with Malaysia at 3-3 at one point. But a solid showing by Izurin, who had a lacklustre outing in the group match against France, saw the 23-year-old take the spotlight away from Hanafiah and lead the second seeds to a comfortable 15-9 victory.
“We put the pressure on Japan and didn’t give them any space in the first set,” said coach Jamaluddin Hassan. “But there was less urgency in the second and we also made some mistakes to allow our opponents to take points.”
On Brunei, Jamaluddin said the team playing in the finals was the best side the country has fielded in this season’s ISTAF SuperSeries.
“They are improving from match to match and have a physical advantage over us, but we can win if we set the pace,” said Jamaluddin, adding that his side would have to tighten their game and be more consistent with their service.
The other semifinal will see Thailand taking on Korea. The top-seeded Thais defeated Indonesia 15-2, 15-10 in their quarterfinal match while Korea beat India 15-10, 15-3. Brunei resisted a stiff challenge from Singapore to prevail 15-11, 15-6 and book their slot.
In the women’s competition, Malaysia will take on Myanmar while unseeded Indonesia, who stunned second seeds Vietnam 15-11, 15-9 in the second round, will face defending champions and top seeds Thailand.
The ISTAF SuperSeries FINALS 2013/14 is organised by Persatuan Sepaktakraw Malaysia and supported by the International Sepaktakraw Federation (ISTAF). The ISTAF SuperSeries platform was created by Asia Sports Ventures, ISTAF’s exclusive global commercial and developmental partner.
The ISTAF SuperSeries FINALS 2013/14 will be televised on ASTRO Arena, ASTRO SuperSports and SuperSports HD (all in High Definition) and RTM. Selected matches including the men’s quarter-finals, third-fourth placing match and both men’s and women’s finals are to be aired live.
The tournament will also be telecast to 70 countries worldwide.
ISTAF SuperSeries 2013/14 kicked off with ISTAF SuperSeries India in New Delhi (August
29-September 1), followed by ISTAF SuperSeries Thailand in Bangkok (September 26-29) and ISTAF SuperSeries Malaysia in Sabah (October 30-November 3).
Men’s quarterfinals results
Malaysia bt Japan 2-0 (15-1, 15-9)
Thailand bt Indonesia 2-0 (15-2, 15-10)
Korea bt India 2-0 (15-10, 15-3)
Brunei bt Singapore 2-0 (15-11, 15-6)
Semifinals (March 8)
Thailand vs Korea (2.00pm)
Malaysia vs Brunei (3.10pm)
Malaysia vs Myanmar (4.20pm)
Thailand vs Indonesia (7.00pm)
More information on ISTAF SuperSeries
Alongside the ISTAF World Cup, the elite, internationally-recognised ISTAF SuperSeries is the only sepaktakraw tournament acknowledged by ISTAF and therefore plays a key role in deciding the official ISTAF World Rankings.
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