KUALA LUMPUR: Rising singles stars Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin and Misbun Ramdan Misbun forged a bond of friendship when they were training under the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) banner last year.
On Friday, however, they will turn foes when they face each other in the men’s singles quarter-finals of the Kuala Lumpur Open at the Kuala Lumpur Badminton (KLBA) Stadium in Cheras.
This is their first meeting in a tournament since Ramdan left the BAM set-up to seek newer challenges under the guidance of his father Misbun as an independent shuttler.
National singles coach Rashid Sidek predicts an evenly-contested match.
“Iskandar is one of my singles players in BAM and Ramdan is my nephew. Both have a bright future,” said Rashid.
“Iskandar was the country’s World Junior Championships runner-up in 2009 ... the same year that Ramdan reached the quarter-finals. Last year, Ramdan won the national title. Both have improved.”
Rashid said that Ramdan had grown up and his game had improved over the last nine months.
“He looks more composed on court and plays with more confidence. Iskandar has his strong points and if he can raise his game and show confidence on court, I believe that the match will go down to the wire,” said Rashid.
Yesterday, Ramdan knocked out Soong Joo Ven 21-17, 21-13 while Iskandar tamed Loo Yik Xiang 21-16, 21-8.
The other quarter-finals will be between top seed Chong Wei Feng and Loh Wei Sheng; Choong Yee Han versus Chong Li Qun; and Tan Kian Meng against second seed Liew Daren.