GENTING HIGHLANDS (10 FEBRUARY, 2017): A strong team performance by Puchong United BC saw them crush Muar BC’s hopes of winning the SS Purple League (SSPL) title for the third consecutive season as they ran out 11-4 winners in the first semi-final of the SSPL 2016/17 Stage 2 in Arena of Stars, Resorts World Genting earlier today.
Puchong United who lost to top seed Muar in Stage 1, came straight out of the blocks as they raced to a 6-0 lead courtesy of straight sets wins in the first Men’s Singles and Women’s singles match. It was once again the Chinese Taipei duo, Chou Tien Chen and Tai Tzu Ying doing the damage.
World number 9 Tien Chen breezed past national shuttler, Zulfadli Zulkiffli 3-0 (11-4, 11-7, 11-8) in the first match while world number 1 Tzu Ying came back to haunt her former team by beating Muar’s Chinese import, Shen Ya Ying 3-0 (11-7, 11-8, 11-9) as well.
Muar kept their title defence hopes alive – albeit a slim one thanks to their Men’s doubles pair of Lee Yong Dae and Mohd Arif Ab Latif. The pair, making their first appearance of this season’s SSPL defeated Puchong United’s Lim Khim Wah and Tan Chee Tean 3-2 (11-10, 11-5, 7-11, 9-11, 8-7).
However, needing only to win two matches in the next two games, Puchong United’s Yoo Yeon Seong and Christinna Pedersen performed tremendously under pressure to deliver their team’s winning points. The pair beat Muar’s Lee Hyo Jung and Chan Peng Soon 3-1 (11-9, 11-9, 7-11, 11-4) in the mixed doubles match to secure Puchong United’s spot in the final.
“This is a team event so it’s not about the best team with the best players but the best players with the best team who will win. From the first match to the last, the pressure was very high but we rode each point as a team. The reason we won is because we showed up as a team,” said Puchong United’s team manager, Irina Inozemtseva.
“Based on our performances today, we are the favourite to win the SSPL 2016/17 title. However, we have to be wary of our players’ conditions as they gave beyond their 100% today. Even if I tweak the line-up for the final, our players will still be comfortable with each other,” added the Russian.
Puchong United, who finished third in last year’s edition, will meet either Petaling Jaya BC or BU Dragons BC in this Sunday’s final.
SSPL 2016/17 Stage 2 Semi-finals Result (10 February 2017)
(4pm) Muar BC lost to Puchong United BC 4-11
MS1: Zulfadli Zulkiffli lost to Chou Tien Chen 0-3 (4-11, 7-11, 8-11)
WS: Shen Ya Ying lost to Tai Tzu Ying 0-3 (7-11, 8-11, 9-11)
MD: Lee Yong Dae-Mohd Arif Ab Latif bt Lim Khim Wah-Tan Chee Tean 3-2 (11-10, 11-5, 7-11, 9-11, 8-7)
XD: Chan Peng Soon-Lee Hyo Jung lost to Christinna Pedersen-Yoo Yeon Seong 1-3 (9-11, 9-11, 11-7, 4-11)