TheStar BANGKOK: A pumped-up Mohd Hafiz Hashim defeated Singaporean Ronald Susilo for the first time in his badminton career to reach the men's singles final of the US80,000 Thailand Open here yesterday. Hafiz bounced back from the brink of defeat to eliminate Susilo 13-15, 17-15, 15-9 in a 72-minute semi-final match. The Malaysian had lost to the Athens Olympic Games quarter-finalist in all their three previous meetings - 2003 Indonesian Open (third round), 2003 Thailand Open (semi-finals) and 2002 Malaysian Open (second round). Hafiz's win yesterday earned him his third appearance in a final of an Open tournament for the year. He lost to China's Lin Dan in the German Open but bounced back to beat Denmark's Peter Gade-Christensen to win the Swiss Open title two weeks ago. Hafiz, who trains under former international Misbun Sidek, will take on top seed Kenneth Jonassen of Denmark in the final. Yesterday, the 31-year-old Dane dashed the hopes of the local crowd when he defeated defending champion Boonsak Ponsana of Thailand 15-10, 15-6 in a 63-minute encounter. Hafiz, the 2003 All-England champion, will start off as the underdog in the final against Jonassen, as he lost to the Dane in their last two meetings. Jonassen won in the semi-finals of the Singapore Open in November last year and in the third round of the Korean Open in January. And if Hafiz gets the better of world No. 4 Jonassen it will certainly help him break into the top eight in the world rankings which will boost his seedings for the World Championships in August in Los Angeles. Currently, Hafiz is ranked ninth in the world. Malaysia's challenge however ended in the men's doubles when both Choong Tan Fook-Chew Choon Eng and Gan Teik Chai-Mohd Zakry Abdul Latif crashed out in the semi-finals. Tan Fook-Choon Eng went down tamely 6-15, 7-15 in just 30 minutes to South Koreans Jung Jae-sung-Lee Jae-jin, who continued to make their mark as the new threat in the men's doubles. Youngsters Teik Chai-Zakry put up a better fight but it was not good enough against the top seeds Jonas Rasmussen-Lars Paaske of Denmark. The Malaysians lost 7-15, 12-15 in 50 minutes. n Men's singles: Mohd Hafiz Hashim (Mas) bt Ronald Susilo (Sin) 13-15, 17-15, 15-9; Kenneth Jonassen (Den) bt Boonsak Ponsana (Tha) 15-10, 15-6. n Men's doubles: Lars Paaske-Jonas Rasmussen (Den) bt Gan Teik Chai-Mohd Zakry Abdul Latif 15-7, 15-12; Jung Jae-sung-Lee Jae-jin (Kor) bt Choong Tan Fook-Chew Choon Eng 15-6, 15-7. n Women's singles: Xu Huaiwen (Ger) bt Pi Hongyan (Fra) 11-3, 8-11, 13-12; Yao Jie (Ned) bt Kanako Yonekura (Jpn) 11-7, 11-4. n Women's doubles: Zhang Dan-Zhang Yawen (Chn) bt Jiang Yanmei-Li Yujia (Chn) 15-10, 15-3; Lee Hyo-jung-Lee Kyung-won (Kor) bt T. Saralee-C. Sathinee (Tha) 12-15, 15-8, 15-11. n Mixed doubles: Thomas Laybourn-Kamilla Rytter Juhl (Den) bt Sudket Prapakamol-T. Saralee (Tha) 15-10, 14-17, 17-16; Lee Jae-jin-Lee Hyo-jung (Kor) bt Xie Zhongbo-Zhang Yawen (Chn) 15-11, 15-4.