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NST Online: Sports

Azlan goes on another revenge mission

Posted: 18 Mar 2011 08:46 PM PDT

Nafiizwan Adnan (left) in action against Mohamed El Shorbagy  yesterday.  Nafiizwan lost 9-11, 12-10, 11-7.

Nafiizwan Adnan (left) in action against Mohamed El Shorbagy yesterday. Nafiizwan lost 9-11, 12-10, 11-7.

AZLAN Iskandar was in cruise control mode yesterday as he reached the CIMB Kuala Lumpur Open men's semi-finals. But a far bigger obstacle awaits today at Berjaya Times Square.

Having disposed of his Asian Games nemesis Aamir Atlas Khan of Pakistan 14-12, 11-6, 11-2 in the quarter-finals, Azlan now faces another revenge mission against second seed Mohamed El Shorbagy, who beat national No 3 Nafiizwan Adnan 11-9, 12-10, 11-7.

"I'm definitely going to give it everything I have. He beat me in New York 3-0 in the first round and it was one of those matches where I could have won 3-0.

"He got me there and he's playing well but with the support of the home crowd, I hope to win," said Azlan, who is seeking to repeat his 2006 KL Open win.

After falling 5-1 behind in the first game, Azlan cut out the errors and closed in on Aamir, who took a medical time out to have his knee bandaged when facing game ball at 13-12.

That was the cue for Azlan to turn the screws on the Pakistani and avenge his defeat in the team final in Guangzhou.

"I got off to a slow start but found my way back and started moving well. He's a confident player, you have to nullify that confidence and his game just deteriorated," added World No 10 Azlan after the 43-minute match.

Poor starts in the first two games left Nafiizwan with too much to do despite a creditable attempt to bridge the gap to World No 9 Shorbagy.

Shorbagy led 7-2 in the first before the 47th-ranked Nafiizwan reduced the deficit to 10-9 and 5-1 in the second as the Malaysian No 3 forced a tie-break.

"That's is probably one of the reasons I lost, starting slow is always a problem for me," said Nafiizwan in making his first KL Open quarter-final appearance.

"I've been working on it in training and trying to get off to a fast start and I'm slowly getting there.

"I'm a little disappointed to lose but I feel that I'm closing the gap and there really is not much difference between me and the top 25 players."

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Kubica on recovery road

Posted: 18 Mar 2011 08:29 AM PDT

PARIS: Formula One driver Robert Kubica is proving to be a model patient as he recovers from injuries sustained in February's horror crash.

The Lotus Renault driver almost lost his right arm and hand from the high speed accident in a rally in Italy, with the Pole requiring four bouts of surgery.

Renault team principal Eric Boullier said on Thursday: "The updates (on the Pole's condition) are very positive.

"He is ahead of schedule on all the forecasts, whether to do with rehabilitation or recovery."

Boullier added: "He is proving an example to the hospital. The doctors are supporting him. He is extremely motivated, he has the morale, even if it's not rosy every day overall he is maintaining exceptional spirits."

With Kubica sidelined for an indeterminate length of time, his place on the grid has been handed to German driver Nick Heidfeld.

The 2011 F1 season opens with the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on March 27. -- AFP

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