The Raintree Club of Kuala Lumpur successfully hosted yet another edition of their International Jumbo Doubles competition. The event, into its 19th year this time round, was held over the weekend of 5-7 October 2018.
Whilst the event was not as popular amongst international participants as compared to the likes of events in Tanglin Club or the Royal Bangkok Sports Club, there were many Singapore-based pairs who travelled the 350 kilometres up north to the Malaysian capital. A total 34 pairs took part in the Open category – 12 of them being Singapore-based pairs, while we were represented by 2 pairs in the veteran category.
It was a good event for Singapore as we made a clean sweep of the event. Marcus Phua, who won the jumbo doubles gold at the 2015 SEA Games, paired with national player Benjamin Sim to take the men’s open under the Social Squashers team, while the legendary Zainal Abidin took the veteran’s together with regular partner Yeo Kiang Bee as part of the Court Tech team. Zainal undoubtedly was the most successful participant as he also made it to the last four of the open event.
With many of the national players and regular pairings opting to skip this event, it opened up the draw for the other teams to advance further. The young team of brothers, Shaun and Lucas Low, who last year surprised everyone with a classy display in their quarter final match against eventual winners Elvinn Keo and Marcus Phua, returned this year as the joint third seeds. Their seeding did not come down well with some, who felt there were other stronger and more established teams. But they silenced their critics by making the final after taking out surprise package Zainal Abidin and Sean Ang in the last four. Zainal and Sean had earlier taken out second seeded scratch pair, Luc Tai and Paul Isted, in the last eight.
There were no surprises in the top half of the open draw, as Marcus Phua and Benjamin Sim, and joint third seeds Ng Jo Wen and Satyan Desai, both made it to the last four. The latter pair, however, did not have it easy and were given a good run for their money, first by the experienced pair of former Malaysian international Yap Kok Four and Shaun See in the last 16 and again in the last eight, by SAFRA’s pair of Victor Koh and Jeremy Khoo.
The final of the open category was played to a fairly packed gallery, with many eager to see how the young brothers would fare. The anticipation of a good match did not disappoint as both pairs were made to work hard for almost every single rally. While the younger boys may not have the experience and skills of their more illustrious opponents, they made it up with their speed and agility on court.
Despite a very good spirited display from the Low brothers, it was experience which won at the end of the day. Marcus Phua and Benjamin Sim added a second title to their belt after winning their first earlier in the year at the Tanglin Club, beating Shaun and Lucas Low in 2 close games.
In the veteran final, Zainal Abidin and Yeo Kiang Bee beat Malaysians Francis Gan and Ong Thiam Loong in straight games. The Singaporean pair was simply a class above and there was never a doubt which pair would walk out the winners.