Justin makes smashing return in Lucknow

KUALA LUMPUR: National men's singles player Justin Hoh is back with a bang.

After spending seven months on the sidelines, following an Achilles tendon rupture, the 19-year-old returned to international action on Wednesday by stunning former Asian junior champion Leong Jun Hao in the opening round of the Syed Modi International in Lucknow.

Touted to be Malaysia's next big name in men's singles, Justin made it look like he never left, as he downed his world No. 38 compatriot 21-13, 21-17 in just under 40 minutes.

It was Justin's second win over Jun Hao in two meetings.

Justin, who slipped to No. 97 in the world after his injury, will play Indonesia's Alwi Farhan next in the second round.

The Indonesian defeated national shuttler Aidil Sholeh Ali Sadikin 21-17, 21-12 in the first round.

"After seven months, this is Justin's first tournament. I can see that his determination and focus on court is very good," said national singles coach K.Yogendran.

"He's very eager to prove that he's back. From his game today, I can see that he's very comfortable on court.

"However, because he hasn't played for so long, he might still be searching for his off court feeling. How he settles before a match, that routine.

"Justin needs to be a little patient and shouldn't be too eager to win too fast. Apart from that, he's good," added Yogendran, who pointed out that coaches and support service staff are still looking into Justin's recovery, stretching and rehabilitation during tournaments.

Justin, who won the Uganda International Challenge in February, reached a career high world No. 48 in May.

Meanwhile, Malaysia's Cheam June Wei cleared the first round after a hard fought 23-21, 15-21, 21-9 win over Indonesia Shesar Hiren Rhustavito. Independent June Wei will play Taiwan's Lee Chia Hao next on Thursday.

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