Rexy wants Sze Fei-Izzuddin to make winning return at US Open

KUALA LUMPUR: National doubles coaching director Rexy Mainaky has issued a challenge to Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin Rumsani to make a triumphant return as a pair at the US Open in Iowa from July 11 to 16.

Sze Fei-Izzuddin, who recently reunited after parting ways in February, will be the sole Malaysian pair in the Super 300 event.

The third seeds are expected to face their first significant test in the semi-finals against France's Ronan Labar-Lucas Corvee or China's Chen Bo Yang-Liu Yi.

Following months of inactivity, Sze Fei-Izzuddin has dropped from No. 12 to No. 35 in the world. The Malaysians could fall out of the top 50 if they do not do well in Iowa.

"We hope Sze Fei-Izzuddin will quickly re-establish themselves in the top 30," said Rexy at Academy Badminton Malaysia in Bukit Kiara today.

"They were fortunate to make the cut for the Korea Open (July 18-23), Japan Open (25-30) and Australia Open (Aug 1-6), and we are hopeful they can get off to a good start by winning the US Open.

"If they can perform well in these events, they should return to the top 30.

"It would be great for the national team to have three pairs in the top 30 behind world No. 4 Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik and No. 23 Man Wei Chong-Tee Kai Wun."

Rexy advised the pair to cherish their second stint as partners.

"The situation is like them getting together after finding that their new 'girlfriends' are not as good as their previous ones, so let's hope they get things right this time," said Rexy, drawing laughter from the media.

Sze Fei-Izzuddin made a request to end their partnership due to poor results after seven years.

The final straw came when they were eliminated in the first round of the Malaysia Open and India Open in January.

However, they did have notable successes before their split.

They won the German Open last year and were finalists in the Swiss Open in March. Sze Fei-Izzuddin also reached their career-best world ranking of No. 9.

After their separation, Izzuddin teamed up with Haikal Nazri, while Sze Fei played alongside Choong Hon Jian.

Their decision to split also resulted in significant changes to other pairings, including Wan Arif Junaidi, who had developed a promising partnership with Haikal.

Known by fans as the "Patatimo Boys", Arif-Haikal reached a career-high ranking of No. 38.

Arif has since established a new partnership with Yap Roy King, with whom he won the Nantes International Challenge title two weeks ago.

Now that Izzuddin and Sze Fei have reconciled, Haikal and Hon Jian are once again forced to start over.

Haikal will be paired with Fazriq Razif, while Hon Jian will team up with Wong Vin Sean.

The newly formed pairs will have their first opportunity at the National Championships from July 4 to 9.

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