by Simon Daish
Iranian no.4 seed Nima Alamian will represent his country with pride in Tokyo after securing top spot in the Central Asia region men’s singles event.
A gruelling affair, Alamian was on the backfoot early on against Zokhid Kenjaev with the no.3 seed from Uzbekistan claiming the opening two games. However, a commanding display from Alamian in game three played a crucial role in the outcome of the match with momentum quickly swinging to the Iranian. Three games later and it was Alamian who left the court with his ticket to the Japanese capital (8-11, 7-11, 11-4, 11-4, 13-11, 11-7).
Central Asia was also the focus of the second singles final of the day as the top seed in the region’s women’s singles draw, Kazakhstan’s Anastassiya Lavrova met the tournament’s surprise package in Uzbekistan’s Markhabo Magdieva, seeded sixth.
Two players aware of the prize on offer, the final proved an exciting contest with all six games decided by no more than a three point margin. Difficult to predict from the start, Magdieva did well to fight back from a 2-0 deficit to pull level at 2-2 but Lavrova kept her cool to complete the job (11-8, 13-11, 11-13, 10-12, 11-8, 11-9).
An all-Singapore encounter decided the fate of the men’s singles South East Asia event with top seed Pang Yew En Koen and no.3 seed Clarence Chew standing opposite one another.
Just four games required to settle the match, but not in the expected direction as Chew produced one of his finest performances of the tournament to steal his colleague’s thunder (11-7, 11-7, 15-13, 11-4). Victory for Chew and with it his successful passage to Tokyo.
There was one further match on the day’s agenda with Korea Republic’s Lee Sangsu and Jeon Jihee taking on India’s Sharath Kamal Achanta and Manika Batra in the mixed doubles final.
The opening two games going to top seeds Lee and Jeon, but the Koreans failed to capitalise on their advantage – second seeds Achanta and Batra hit back with four game wins on the bounce to secure qualification (8-11, 6-11, 11-5, 11-6, 13-11, 11-8).