FIRST SINGLES
WONG CHOONG HANN vs SONY DWI KUNCORO
MALAYSIA will have to win the first singles to have a real shot at beating Indonesia. And Choong Hann will be shouldering this big task.

The good news is that the 27-year-old Choong Hann has beaten Sony in three of four meetings and the Malaysian will start as the favourite.

But the bad news is Sony that is all fired up to make up for his painful defeat by Lin Dan in the group tie against China on Monday. And he will work extra hard to give Indonesia a winning start against Malaysia.

Choong Hann, who is competing in his third Finals, will have to stay very focused and not the let the crowd intimidate him. He has a tendency to lose his way if his opponent sends everything back to him.

The 20-year-old Sony, a two-time Asian champion, is an attacking player.

FIRST DOUBLES
CHOONG TAN FOOK-LEE WAN WAH vs ALVEN YULIANTO-LULUK HADIYANTO or FLANDI LIMPELE-ENG HIAN

Veterans Tan Fook-Wan Wah will be heavily depended on to deliver a point.

Indonesia may opt to make a change for the first doubles following the uninspiring performances of their top ranked pair, Alven-Luluk, against China.

The Malaysians lost to Alven-Luluk in the Swiss Open this year. In an earlier meeting, the young and fast Indonesians blew away Tan Fook-Wan Wah in the team event of the Vietnam SEA Games last December.

Indonesia could field Flandi-Eng Hian for this match. They are vastly experienced and reliable even though they are playing in the Finals for the first time.

The Malaysians have played against Flandi-Eng Hian seven times, winning the last three matches – at the Open tournaments of Singapore, Hong Kong and China last year.

Malaysia have a 50-50 chance to win this match and they will be hoping that Tan Fook-Wan Wah won’t muff up another crucial one.

The duo were a big let down in the final against Indonesia in 1998 and 2002.

SECOND SINGLES
MOHD ROSLIN HASHIM vs TAUFIK HIDAYAT

IF Malaysia opt for experience, Roslin will see action. Two years ago, Roslin failed to deliver the winning point in the deciding match of the final against Indonesia. If he is given the chance to play, he will be out to make amends for that failure.

Roslin has lost all three matches against Taufik and the last meeting was two years ago.

China’s Bao Chunlai cracked Taufik’s image of invincibility at home on Monday and Roslin can take that as an inspiration to turn the tables on the Indonesian.

When Indonesia won the Cup two years ago, Taufik failed to win a point – suffering a shock defeat by Lee Tsuen Seng in the final.

Malaysia, may be tempted to field youngster Chong Wei if they are thinking of the future. The youngster has nothing to lose and will go all out. The only fear is that Lee Chong Wei could be easily distracted as evidenced by his 2-15, 9-15 defeat by Taufik in the Asian Badminton Championships last month.

SECOND DOUBLES
CHEW CHOON ENG-KOO KIEN KEAT vs CANDRA WIJAYA-TRI KUSHARYANTO

FOR Malaysia, the weak link is in the second doubles. With Chong Ming not having regained his form, the scratch combination of Choong Eng-Kien Keat have an uphill task to win a point here.

They may be able to take the fight to the scratch pair of Candra-Tri but they are unlikely to pull the rug from under these two formidable and very skilful doubles players.

Candra-Tri were beaten in three games by the young Chinese pair of Sang Yang-Zheng Bo on Monday.

And the Malaysians, who upset world number 13 Pramote Teerawiwatana-Tesana Panvisvas of Thailand on Sunday, will be inspired by the Chinese victory.

THIRD SINGLES
LEE CHONG WEI vs SIMON SANTOSO

IF the tie goes into this match, Malaysia have the better chance to win it.

The 22-year-old Chong Wei, who has never played against Simon, is a difficult player to beat if all his strokes fall into place.

And he may have a slight edge over the 19-year-old Simon, who has been a bundle of nerves in this Finals. Simon struggled to beat Kevin Han of United States and was totally outclassed by China’s Xia Xuanze.

Malaysia have the option to field Mohd Hafiz Hashim. He has the experience of playing in the Finals and he has beaten Simon in two encounters. In their last meeting, Hafiz was stretched before chalking up a 15-10, 7-15, 15-4 victory.

But based on current form, Chong Wei is seen as a better bet to play this match.



PAST ENCOUNTERS
1957-58: Lost 3-6 (final)

1966-67: Won 6-3 (final)

1969-70: Lost 7-2 (final)

1975-76: Lost 9-0 (final)

1984: Lost 5-0 (Group B)

1986: Lost 1-4 (semi-finals)

1988: Won 3-2 (semi-finals)

1990: Won 3-2 (semi-finals)

1992: Won 3-2 (final)

1994: Lost 3-0 (final)

1998: Lost 1-4 (Group B) and lost 2-3 (final)

2000: Did not meet

2002: Lost 1-4 (Group B) and lost 2-3 (final)


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