2007 Yonex Welsh International
Gary Baker on 06/12/2007
WELSH-based Indonesian Irwansyah came agonisingly close to a successful defence of his Yonex International men's singles at the Institute of Sport, Cardiff, on Sunday (December 2).
And the Principality's top doubles pair managed to reach the quarter-finals of their tournament before going out.
Even though he won the title last year with a two-sets victory over England's Nathan Rice, Irwansyah was unseeded for this weekend's tournament at Sophia Gardens.
But, as Rice went out in the second round to England's Rajiv Ouseph, the number one seed, Irwansyah came through some long, tough matches to reach the final.
He beat Bulgaria's Alexandre Paixao, the sixth seed, 21-14 in the last set, having dropped the opener 21-13.
And his second round match also went all the way to the third set before he won a breathtaking match 21-19.
He made light work of Dutch qualifier Lester Oey, taking the quarter-final 21-13, 21-8, before Iranian semi-final opponent Ali Shahhosseini was despatched in another close match 21-16, 20-22, 21-14.
It left Irwansyah with German Marc Zwiebler, seeded fifth, in the path of his title defence but he could not raise his game one last time and Zwiebler lifted the trophy after a 21-16, 21-13 straight sets victory.
Meanwhile, Llanelli's Joe Morgan and his men's doubles partner James Phillips were eliminated at the quarter-final stage to Jakub Bitman, of the Czech Republic, and Croatia's Zvonimir Durkinjak.
However, the fourth seeded partnership put up an enormously brave fight before going out of the tournament.
They lost the first set 21-19 but fought back to level matters via a 21-18 second set verdict. The decider went all the way as the two pairs were tied at 20-20.
The East European's, however, came through and won the match 22-20.
Welsh interest in the women's singles ended when Harriet Johnson lost to English qualifier Panuga Riou in three sets but it was unfortunate for home fortunes that Johnson had been drawn against another Welsh woman, qualifier Sarah Thomas, in the opening match.
Johnson and Carissa Turner had a bye through to the second round of the women's doubles but were fairly beaten by number three seeds Linda Sloan and Jille Cooper, from Scotland.
And Rachel Thomas, who teamed up with Sweden's Karolina Kotte, was also a second round casualty as Polish pair Agnieszka Wojtkoska and Malgorzata Kurdelska won through to the quarter-finals.
Wales had a few representatives in the mixed doubles but those who got through their first match fell in the second.
Rachel Thomas and Michael Lewis took Austrian duo and number three seeds Claudia Mayer and Heimo Gotschi close in their second set, having lost the first, but lost it 25-23.
Caroline Harvey and Nic Strange were also aganst a seeded pair and, after tamely losing the opening set 21-9, they rallied but just failed to win the second as Valaria Rivero and Andres Corpancho took it 23-21.
Meanwhile, Matthew Sprake and England's Helen Davies won the first set 21-19 against number five seeds Jillie Cooper and Watson Briggs, of Scotland, but then fell away to lose the next two 21-15, 21-7.
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