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Thursday, 19 April 2018 | MYT 12:00 AM

Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin out to impress Thomas Cup selectors

KUALA LUMPUR: Defending champions Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin Rumsani got their campaign in the Celcom Axiata Malaysian Interna­tional Challenge off to a winning start as they began their final push for a spot in the Thomas Cup squad.

The world No. 52 pair were given a run for their money by Taiwanese opponents Lee Chia-han-Yang Po-hsuan before prevailing 21-17, 13-21, 21-12 at the Juara Stadium here yesterday.

The first two slots for the men’s doubles are expected to be filled by Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong and Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi, leaving Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin and Low Juan Shen-Chooi Kah Ming to battle for the last ticket for the Thomas Cup Finals in Bangkok, Thailand, next month.

The contest is still wide open as both pairs have yet to impress this year.

Sze Fei-Izzuddin did not need to be reminded of how crucial this week's tournament would be.

“We are aiming to defend our title but it's important that we take it one match at a time rather than being too eager to achieve our goal. We may end up giving ourselves unnecessary pressure," said Sze Fei.

“We're happy to clear our first hurdle, but performance-wise it could have been much better. We need to step up our efforts if we want to go far this week."

Sze Fei-Izzuddin made their presence felt when they finished runners-up in the Malaysian Masters in Sibu in January last year but their form dipped after that as they suffered early exits in almost every tournament this year.

They did bounce back by capturing the Malaysian International Challenge in Pasir Gudang, Johor, last December.

Izzuddin pointed out that it was his knee injury that halted the pair's progress.

“Just when we wanted to build on our runner-up finish at the Malaysian Masters, I was down with a knee injury and was sidelined for two months. We failed to reproduce the same kind of form since.

“It was really frustrating but we just have to keep trying. Hopefully this week is the turning point for us because coming into the tournament as the defending champions reminds us what we're capable of.”