Goh Sze Fei-Flandy Limpele-Nur Izzudin
The All England will offer the opportunity for Malaysia to build on more of their breakthrough as the world No. 17 seek to pick up where they left off at Mulheim at the Birmingham Arena tomorrow. Sze Fei/Izzuddin, both 24 years old, making their second appearance in the world's oldest tournament, face a tough opening match with world number 19 pair He Ji Ting/Tan Qiang of China, silver medalists at the World Championships last December. Sze Fei/Izzuddin will definitely not lack confidence after beating two impromptu Chinese pairs en route to their maiden World Tour victory on Sunday. In addition to their 23-21, 16-21, 21-14 victory over Liu Yuchen/Ou Xuanyi in the German Open final, they also beat Ji Ting/Zhou Hao Dong 21-12, 21-18.
But one thing that remains to be seen is their consistency. Sze Fei-Izzuddin was let down by their inability to maintain their form in the previous tournament. One of the most prominent examples was at the Indonesia Open last November. After defeating defending Olympic champion Lee Yang/Wang Chi Lin of Taiwan in the second round, their challenge fell through the next day. Sze Fei / Izzuddin, who was first paired by former coach Cheah Soon Kit in 2016, were touted as stars in the build-up after they reached the final of the Malaysia Masters in Sibu in 2017 but ultimately failed to live up to their potential.
But thanks to Soon Kit's successor, Paulus Firman (now coaching the mixed doubles department), the duo are starting to knock on the door of the long-awaited breakthrough they really deserved on Sunday. Previously, they had reached four World Tour semifinals at the Thailand Masters, German Open and Macau Open 2019 as well as last year's Denmark Open.
The head coach of the Malaysian national team from Indonesia, Rexy Mainaky believes Sze Fei-Izzuddin can get better from now on. “This is a very positive development for the two boys. This shows that they always had the desire and ability within them to make it big, and their persistence finally paid off at the German Open,” said Rexy. "The title will boost their confidence and motivate them to push themselves even more in training.
"I hope they can continue their form last week at the All England. This is what they are capable of when they are able to play to their true potential and with courage." Fans will expect Malaysia's last 16 clash between Izzuddin/Sze Fei and Aaron Chia/Soh Wooi Yik to take place in Birmingham. Aaron/Wooi Yik have an easier path as they will face the lower ranked pair, who replaced Ivan Sozonov/Vladimir Ivanov of Russia, in the first half.
The world number 7 couple who are also 2019 edition finalists will be eager to make up for their absence in Germany last week after Wooi Yik tested positive for Covid-19 prior to their departure. Malaysia was also represented by Ong Yew Sin/Teo Ee Yi, Man Wei Chong/Tee Kai Wun and Tan Kian Meng/Tan Wee Kiong in the men's doubles competition. Five pairs will try to reclaim the glory last achieved by Koo Kean Keat/Tan Boon Heong at the 2007 All England.