MALAYSIA OPEN 2008 – Withdrawals yet Enthusiasm for Kick-off

This year’s Malaysia Open has been hampered by the withdrawal of top players like Lin Dan, Xie XingFang, Boonsak Ponsana and Peter Gade. However, to most of Malaysian fans, it […]

ImageThis year’s has been hampered by the withdrawal of top players like Lin Dan, Xie XingFang, Boonsak Ponsana and Peter Gade. However, to most of Malaysian fans, it means an extra chance for local players like Lee Chong Wei and Wong Mew Choo to do well.

Ants Kong, Badzine Correspondent. Photos : A. Kong/Badmintonphoto

“It is good to know that Lin Dan withdrew, however I will not take it for granted as I would only have met him in the finals even if he had played in this tournament. His withdrawal will only make it easier for players in the top half of the draw. It really doesn’t concern me anyway at this early stage. This tournament will still be a challenge for me as I’m expected to do well on home ground. Talk about pressure! But I will try my best to play and to satisfy the fans,” said Chong Wei.

Lin Dan wasn’t expected to play in Malaysia Open as he had announced quite early that he would skip the first Super Series of the year to focus on the Korea Open next week. However, other big names were missing from the line up sheet after the managers’ meeting. Peter Gade had to stay home due to personal reasons, while Xie Xingfang, top seed in the women’s singles event, chose not to come, citing injury.

ImageChan and Chew make successful comeback

On the first day of the event, many local spectators were looking forward to seeing the revival pairing of Chan Chong Ming and Chew Choon Eng (pictured above). The two were split up in 2004 and recently announced their wish to play together again. Though notpart of the national squad, they are still sparring with the top shuttlers in the country under Rexy Mainaky’s coaching. The duo had a slow start against the young Indonesian pair of Bona Septano and Ahsan Mohamad, who took the first game from the Malaysians. However both Chong Ming and Choon Eng found their touch in the 2nd and 3rd games. They eventually wrapped up the match 17-21, 21-19, 21-12 in 46 minutes. 1½ hrs later, the pair played their final qualifying match and blasted thru Robert Blair and David Lindley of England by winning in 2 games 21-14, 21-13.

Their match on the opening day didn’t disappoint their fans who came to watch their comeback; however, the have a mighty task at hand as they will be facing Lee Jae Jin/Hwang Ji Man of Korea in the first round fo the main draw.

"It will not be easy for us, but we will try our best to play tomorrow," says Chong Ming.

Earlier in the day, there were some upsets in the qualifying round for women’s singles as local girl Anita Kaur (photo) beat Ardriyanti Firdasari of Indonesia in three thrilling games 16-21, 25-23, 21-19.

“I was nervous, but I managed to calm myself in the final stage of the 3rd set. The crowd’s cheering also made a difference,” added the Malaysian.

However, all is not lost as Indonesia also created an early upset in the women’s singles as Pia Zebadiah beat Salakjit Ponsana of Thailand 21-17, 21-13.

Wednesday promises to be an exciting day as the matches in the main draw begin. Badzine will cover it live for all the fans around the world.

All results HERE

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Raphaël Sachetat

About Raphaël Sachetat

Raphael is the Chief Editor of Badzine International. He is the founder of the website together with Jean François Chauveau. After many years writing for the BWF and many publications around the world about badminton, he now leads a team of young and dynamic writers for Badzine.