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NST Online: Sports

Badminton / Swiss Open: Shaky start for Hafiz, Choong Hann

Posted: 16 Mar 2011 05:16 PM PDT

By Ajitpal Singh

 Hafiz Hashim beat Pavel Florian 21-10, 21-16 in the first round of the Swiss Open in Basel on Tuesday.

Hafiz Hashim beat Pavel Florian 21-10, 21-16 in the first round of the Swiss Open in Basel on Tuesday.

HAFIZ Hashim began his career as an independent player by cruising into the second round of the Swiss Open in Basel on Tuesday.

The World No 26 hardly broke sweat in his 21-10, 21-16 victory over Czech Republic's Pavel Florian in 25 minutes.

Hafiz is now competing under the KLRC banner after quitting the national squad last month. The former All England champion is hoping that a good run in tournaments from now till April will earn him a spot in the London World Championships in August.

Hafiz played Ireland's Scott Evans in a late second round match yesterday.

Veteran Wong Choong Hann, who plays in the German league, also secured a first round victory by disposing Czech Republic's Jakub Bitman 21-19, 21-13 and played Denmark's Rune Ulsing in the second round.

Tan Chun Seang and Chong Wei Feng, who are both members of the elite back-up squad, also recorded easy first round victories on Tuesday.

World No 121 Chun Seang defeated Sweden's Gabriel Ulldahl 21-18, 21-11 while Wei Feng, the World No 127, overcame Switzerland's Yohannes Hogianto 21-14, 21-15.

Denmark's top seed Jan Jorgensen survived a hard-fought first game to beat Finland's Ville Lang 21-19, 21-12 while Indonesia's second seed Simon Santoso blanked out Denmark's Kristian Midgaard 21-9, 21-10 in their respective first round matches.

Chan Peng Soon-Lim Khim Wah and Mak Hee Chun-Tan Wee Kiong were also involved in late men's doubles first round matches yesterday, as were Ong Jien Guo-Choong Sook Chin in the mixed doubles.

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Football: Devan doing well without Safee

Posted: 16 Mar 2011 05:15 PM PDT



SELANGOR coach K. Devan was in a daze when Safee Sali left the club for Pelita Jaya as his game plan for the season was centred around the striker.

Safee's departure meant Devan had to re-organise his team's tactics from scratch in search of the right formula but so far the former Negri Sembilan state player has done well in managing his team to success in the M-League.

Since Safee left, Selangor have stayed unbeaten after a bad start to their season, when they earned only a point from three matches.

Selangor, who are hoping to regain the Super League title and also end their Malaysia Cup drought this season, recorded their six straight win on Tuesday by beating Premier League side Johor 3-1 in the quarter-final first leg of the FA Cup at Shah Alam Stadium.

"Safee's departure was so sudden that I did not have time to re-organise the team. I had to re-shuffle both players and tactics to find the right combination. But things are getting better. My players have settled down quite nicely," said Devan.

On his team's victory over Johor, he said Selangor could have won by a bigger margin if they were sharper upfront.

"We missed a lot of chances, especially in the first half. But we came back strongly in the second half to score three times before we sat back to allow Johor to get a goal. I am not happy with the way my team conceded that goal.

"Johor are a hardworking team and it may not be so easy for us in the return leg on Saturday. We cannot afford to take them lightly," he said

Devan fielded mostly regulars, except for injured striker Fadli Shaari against Johor.

He is also happy that his regular defenders, including Nasriq Baharom -- who featured only for the second time this season upon recovery from an injury on Tuesday, will be available for a hectic April.

"Next month could decide our faith in the Super league as we will be playing nine matches. It is important that I have all my regulars for these matches," Devan added.

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