By : K.M. Boopathy
ZAKRY Latif-Fairuzizuan Tazari can now stake claim to be one of the elite combinations in world men's doubles after securing their second straight Super Series title at the Indonesia Open in Jakarta yesterday.
Zakry-Fairuz, the World No 13, came back from a game down to beat former Olympic champions Candra Wijaya of Indonesia and Tony Gunawan of the United States 19-21, 21-18, 21-14 in 53 minutes at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium.
They are the second Malaysian pair to claim back-to-back Super Series crowns after Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong as they had won the Singapore Open last week. Kien Keat-Boon Heong clinched the All England and Swiss Open back-to-back last year.
Victory did not come easy for the Malaysian pair as Fairuz was carrying a slight knee strain but they were solid enough to deny Candra-Tony their second Indonesia Open crown in three years.
There were also some anxious moments as Zakry-Fairuz allowed Candra-Tony to reduce the deficit from 19-12 to 19-18 in the second game but closed the door on their opponents by securing the next two points. The Malaysians then took complete control of the deciding third game to win 21-14.
Not only did Zakry-Fairuz earn their biggest purse to date, US$18,000 (RM58,500), yesterday, but will also break into the top 10 when the weekly world ranking is released by the Badminton World Federation (BWF) on Thursday.
National doubles coach Rexy Mainaky said in Kuala Lumpur yesterday the pair's latest win will be a major boost and they must aim to win more Super Series titles and also target the World Championships in India next year.
"They have proved that they can be consistent by winning their second consecutive title and beating one of world's top pairs. Zakry-Fairuz must aim for other Super Series titles and also the World Championship," said Rexy.
"The positive change was evident especially with Fairuz, who is very serious in training and focused in tournaments. They must not let the momentum slip as this is just the start for better things to come.
"Remaining level-headed at all times is something they must remember and if they continue to work hard, they can keep on winning and also beat other pairs in the world."
"Zakry-Fairuz have shown they are successors to Choong (Tan Fook) and Lee (Wan Wah). I also hope that their success will motivate Koo-Tan and Choong-Lee to do well in the Beijing Olympics (in August)," Rexy added.
Zakry and Fairuz have withdrawn from the Thailand Open which begins on Wednesday in order to help the latter recover from the knee strain he suffered in Indonesia.
Hosts Indonesia captured two titles through Sony Dwi Kuncoro in the men's singles and Vita Marissa-Lilyana Natsir in the women's doubles.
Sony beat compatriot Simon Santoso 19-21, 21-14, 21-9 while Vita-Lilyana beat Japan's Miyuki Maeda-Satoko Suetsuna 21-15, 21-14.