KUALA LUMPUR, July 5 — National men’s doubles pair Muhammad Haikal Nazri-Muhd Fazriq Mohd Razif Sidek passed the first hurdle when they successfully advanced to the second round of the 2023 National Badminton Championships which is taking place at the Stadium Juara, Bukit Kiara here today.

Competing on a Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) ticket, the duo had no problem eliminating the Zulfaiz Zulkifli-Zulhelmi Zulkifli brothers from Putrajaya, 21-17, 21-6, in just 23 minutes.

Muhammad Haikal when met by reporters said the change in their game pattern in the second set of the match was a factor in their victory as they were paired for the first time in the tournament.

“Alhamdulillah everything went smoothly even though in the first set we were a bit slow because we didn’t get the rhythm yet. So when we entered the second set we played fast to win.

“For myself, the change I made was that in the first set I only smashed without following up on the shuttlecock l, but in the second set I did so to get points,” he said.

He, however, admitted that the winners of the Mongolia International Challenge 2023, Low Hang Yee and Ng Eng Cheong, will be the main challengers with the expectation of meeting the pair as early as the quarter-finals if they win in the second round tomorrow.

Tomorrow, Muhammad Haikal-Muhd Fazriq will meet Goh Shao Tang-Ng Jhi Hao (Perak/Johor representatives) in the second round.

Meanwhile, Muhd Fazriq said the victory in the first match could be a catalyst for them to continue their winning momentum in the next round.

He also expressed confidence that the combination with Muhammad Haikal can continue if they have good compatibility on court. — Bernama