EASY: Usual suspects clear first hurdle of Malaysia Open
HAFIZ Hashim led eight Malaysians into the second round of the Malaysia Open grand prix gold, hit by the absence of all but two top 15 men's singles shuttlers, in Johor Baru yesterday.
They will be joined by defending champion Lee Chong Wei, Liew Daren and Chong Wei Feng, who received first round byes, in the second round today.
Hafiz defeated Michael Fariman of Australia 21-12, 21-4 and will play South Korean back-up player Lee Dong Keun today.
Misbun Ramdan Misbun thrashed Brandon Morris of Canada 21-6, 21-4 and will meet compatriot Winson Neo, who beat Luke Charlesworth of New Zealand 21-12, 21-16, in the second round.
Should Hafiz and Ramdan survive their second round matches, they will be playing against each other in the third round later in the day.
Zulfadli Zulkifli also cleared the first hurdle after beating Dharma Alrie Guna of Indonesia 21-19, 21-17 and faces Ashton Chen of Singapore next.
Chong Wei, gunning for his fourth title in the tournament, will play Michael Fowke of New Zealand while Daren, the fourth seed, will meet K. Srikanth of India, who defeated Arif Latif 21-14, 21-12, in the second round.
Wei Feng will be up against Japan's back-up shuttler Kento Momota in the second round.
National singles chief coach Rashid Sidek said the tournament is a good opportunity for Daren and Wei Feng to make a strong impact and put up a quality performance now that they have made it to the Thomas Cup squad.
"Chong Wei is the only world class player in the tournament and the other Malaysians must use the opportunity to make a breakthrough. Wei Feng and Daren must make a strong impact here," said Rashid from Johor Baru yesterday.
"Daren never performs in local tournaments and has the tendency to stutter when meeting national back-up players while Wei Feng also struggles against teammates.
"They must show character and survive the two rounds tomorrow (today).
"I feel that at least four players can make it to the quarter-finals and it will be good if a back-up player joins the seniors in the last eight."
Men's doubles Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong and Goh V Shem-Lim Khim Wah advanced to the second round in contrasting fashions.
Kien Keat-Boon Heong beat S. Sanjeet-Jagadish Yadav of India 21-7, 21-5 and have another easy match, against Terry Yeo-Liu Yi of Singapore en route to the quarter-finals.
V Shem-Khim Wah recovered from a horrendous start against Riki Karanda-Muhammad Ullinuha of Indonesia before securing a 12-21, 21-12, 21-15 win and will play compatriots Hoon Thien How-Tan Wee Kiong today.
Thien How-Wee Kiong, reserves in the Thomas Cup squad, also avoided an embarrassing first round defeat when they edged Rahmat Adianto-Berry Angriawan of Indonesia 15-21, 25-23, 22-20 in their opening match.
1st Rd Results — (Malaysia unless stated), Men’s Singles: Goh Soon Huat bt Riyanto Subgja (Ina) 21-17, 21-11; Beryno Wong bt Ajfan Rasheed (Mdv) 21-16, 21-10; Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin bt Sameer Verma (Ind) 21-13, 14-21, 21-11; Zulfadli Zulkifli bt Dharma Alrie Guna (Ina) 21-19, 21-17; Misbun Ramdan Misbun bt Brandon Morris (Can) 21-6, 21-4; Winson Neo bt Luke Charlesworth (NZ) 21-12, 21-16; Hafiz Hashim bt Michael Fariman (Aus) 21-12, 21-4; Lim Fang Yang bt Robin Gonansa (Sin) 21-18, 21-7; Sony Dwi Kuncoro (Ina) bt Kuan Beng Hong 21-11, 21-11.
Doubles: Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong bt S. Sanjeet-Jagadish Yadav (Ind) 21-7, 21-5; Low Juan Shen-Tan Yip Jiun bt Yoshiteru Hirobe-Kenta Kazuno (Jpn) 21-16, 17-21, 21-19; Hoon Thien How-Tan Wee Kiong bt Rahmat Adianto-Berry Angriawan (Ina) 15-21, 25-23, 22-20; Gedeon Markus Fernaldi-Prima Rahmanto Putra (Ina) bt Mak Hee Chun-Teo Kok Siang 21-18, 20-22, 21-13; Zakry Latif-Fairuzizuan Tazari bt Chan Tsz Kit-Lo Lok Kei (HK) 21-7, 21-15; Chao Pak Chuu-Tan Bin Shen bt Ha Young Woon-Lee Hong Je (Kor) 22-20, 21-19; Gan Teik Chai-Ong Soon Hock bt Robin Gonansa-Chau Huang (Sin) 21-16, 21-14; Goh V Shem-Lim Khim Wah bt Riki Karanda-Muhammad Ullinuha (Ina) 12-21, 21-12, 21-15; Nelson Heg-Teo Ee Yi bt Razif Latif-Razif Rahman 21-13, 21-7.
Women’s Singles: Tee Jing Yi bt P.C. Thulasi (Ind) 21-14, 21-16; Kana Ito (Jpn) bt Sonia Cheah 28-26, 21-18; Chan Tsz Ka (HK) bt Lydia Cheah (Sin) 21-19, 21-11; Sayaka Takahashi (Jpn) bt Yang Li Lian 21-11, 21-9.