Back-up pair move up 23 rungs – but they want more

Back-up men’s doubles pair Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin Rumsani have made good progress, moving up 23 rungs from the beginning of the year to end 2019 as the world No. 26. They feel they have underachieved.

Sze Fei-Izzuddin’s best outings of the season were reaching the semi-finals of the Thailand Masters in January, German Open in March and Macau Open in November – all of which are fourth-tier (Super 300) events on the World Tour.

Sze Fei, however, believes he and Izzuddin were far from fulfilling their potential and hoped to do better when the new season of the World Tour kicks off with the Malaysian Masters at the Axiata Arena in Bukit Jalil from Jan 7-12.

“I really hope we can start performing better in bigger tournaments, ” said Sze Fei.

“This is what we’re lacking of. Our best this year was reaching semi-finals three times but they were all in Super 300 tournaments.

“It’s by breaking through in the Super 500 and higher (including Super 750 and Super 1000) event that will really make a difference to our ranking.

“There’s no point being in the top 32 (to be eligible for all World Tour tournaments) but not making an impact in the big meets.”

Sze Fei said they intend to take it one step at a time. Their first target would be to crack the top 20 first.

“We’re definitely more confident now after a solid year. I believe we can go far this year, but we want to do it in phases, ” added Izzuddin.

“Our immediate goal in early 2020 will be to get into the top 20. Then, we’ll take it from there.”

Sze Fei-Izzuddin certainly have a good opportunity to get their season off to a flying start in the Malaysian Masters.

The draw doesn’t look too intimidating as they face qualifiers in the first round.

If they progress, they will meet either seventh seeds Lee Yang-Wang Chi-lin of Taiwan or Russia’s Vladimir Ivanov-Ivan Sozonov in the last 16.

Sze Fei-Izzuddin have never met the Taiwanese, but they have beaten former All-England champions Ivanov-Sozonov at the Korean Open last September.

Sze Fei-Izzuddin are currently the fourth ranked pair in the country behind Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik (No. 8), Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong (No. 10) and Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi (No. 19).

A string of good results in the first four months of the year will be important for them if they harbour hopes to make their Thomas Cup debut in Aarhus, Denmark in May.

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