Thursday, June 13, 2013

France test for Malaysia

MALAYSIA will likely face a rematch with third seeds France in the quarter-finals today after being included in the bottom half of the draw at the Men's World Team Championship in Mulhouse, France.

The national team finished top of Pool E after beating Poland 3-0 on Tuesday without dropping a game and were playing the United States late yesterday in a last-16 tie.

Victory over the Americans would set up the fifth-seeded Malaysians against 2009 runners-up France, who needed to overcome Mexico to reach the last-eight, the stage where they beat Malaysia 3-0 in 2011.

On Tuesday, national coach Peter Genever gave back-up squad member Sanjay Singh Chal his senior team debut and the 19-year-old Sarawakian did not disappoint by beating Lukasz Stachowski 11-5, 11-3, 11-5 in 20 minutes for a 1-0 lead.

With Nafiizwan Adnan given the day off, national champion Ong Beng Hee then defeated Wojtek Nowisz 11-7, 11-6, 11-9 before Asyraf Azan completed the 3-0 scoreline with an 11-9, 11-9, 11-9 win over Przemyslaw Atras.

"This match is already won, so it's nice to play with no pressure and have a bit of fun before the big match against the US, where I should play Chris Gordon," said Beng Hee.

Should Malaysia beat the US, it would mean a sixth quarter-final appearance since 1997 and a chance to improve or better the fifth placing achieved in 2007 and 2011. By Devinder Singh

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