WITH two national tennis players in the quarter-finals now, Malaysia have a chance of clinching their first medal in the men’s singles at the Sea Games since 2001.
Unheralded Shamirul Shahril Adam Das was the toast of the squad as he scalped Thailand’s No 1 T. Wishaya, who is also the tournament second seed, 7-6 (7-5), 4-6, 6-3 in the second round at the Rizal Memorial Tennis Centre in Manila yesterday.
Shamirul will face Philippines Jeson Patrombon, seeded fifth, today while Christian Didier Chin, who downed Myanmar’s Paing Min Myu 6-1, 6-1, will play Vietnam’s top seed Daniel Cao Nguyen for a spot in the final four. Shamirul is unseeded while Christian is seeded sixth.
All the semi-finalists are guaranteed at least a bronze. Malaysia’s last bronze in the men’s singles came via V. Selvam at the 2001 Kuala Lumpur Games.
National team manager Datuk Salahuddin Kamal is pleased that Shamirul maintained his composure on the big points.
“Shamirul kept his cool, especially in the first set tie break. He was down 3-4 but came back to win it,” said Salahuddin.
“He played well in the second set but seemed to have lost focus for a while. He was much more relaxed in the third set and his return game frustrated Wishaya.
“Shamirul will play Patrombon today and he will not only be up against the player but also some very loud home fans. The Filipino crowd really support their players well.”
The mixed doubles event yesterday witnessed Jawairiah Noordin-Syed Agil Syed Naguib going down to title favourites C. Patcharin-R. Sonchat of Thailand 6-2, 6-2 in the quarter-finals.