MALAYSIA OPEN 2010 – Lee Chong Wei Feng through to Quarters

Lee Chong Wei once again leads the Malaysian legion into the quarter-finals, accompanied by top doubles contenders Koo/Tan and Chin/Wong but they will be joined by 22-year-old Chong Wei Feng, […]

Lee Chong Wei once again leads the Malaysian legion into the quarter-finals, accompanied by top doubles contenders Koo/Tan and Chin/Wong but they will be joined by 22-year-old Chong Wei Feng, who also emerged victorious from a roller-coaster day for Malaysian singles.

By Don Hearn, Badzine Correspondent, live in Kuala Lumpur.  Photos: Yves Lacroix, BadmintonPhoto (live)

In all, Day 3 of the 2010 Proton Super Series was not a banner day for the home team.  The day started with the last Malaysian mixed pair falling by the wayside and they were eventually followed by three men’s and two women’s doubles pairs.

Nor was Thursday much easier for Malaysian singles.  The round of 16 started off with three home representatives and all three went to three games.  Wong Mew Choo, was the only one who started strong, dominating Korea Open runner-up Sung Ji Hyun (pictured) 21-12.  Wong became error prone in the next two games, though, and Sung managed to build up big leads in each.

However, in second and third games, sitting pretty at 18-14 and 20-14 respectively,  Sung Ji Hyun seemed to try to coast to the finish, playing very safely but not putting in the effort she needed to secure the crucial points.  In the third game in particular, with the match time approaching the one-hour mark, Sung’s stamina began to waver and she actually incurred a yellow card warning from the umpire for delay of game.

“It was a very tiring three games,” Sung said afterward, “but my opponent’s mistakes were what gave me the match.  I know that Malaysia is the only place where we can play in front of so many excited fans but until this week, I’ve only played here in junior tournaments so it was a very different environment today.”

Wong, too, offered her analysis of her performance: “I played well in the first game but in the next two I made too many mistakes and I lost my focus.  I am very disappointed and I have only myself to blame.  I think I could have won if I had played the way I know I can,” said the Malaysian star, who left the press conference with tears in her eyes.

“My opponent is very tall and her shots are very steep and sharp,” Wong added.  “She still needs to improve her court movement but if she can, I think she will be able to beat the top players.”

Sung Ji Hyun now goes on to play compatriot Bae Youn Joo.  Bae, who lost to Juliane Schenk in the first round at home last week, may be much fresher for her first ever Super Series quarter-final.

Chong Wei Feng (pictured top) was the next Malaysian to draw the crowd’s focus.  Chong, too, went up a game against Chetan Anand, then dropped the second but he managed to nab the third to earn his spot in the final eight.  Wei Feng did taste victory at his last international event at home but that was the Malaysia International Challenge in November, which he says, of course, can’t compare.

“This is so much bigger because it’s the Super Series.  It is wonderful to play in this arena because there are so many spectators.”  Chong will face Thailand’s Boonsak Ponsana on Friday evening.

Only moments after Chong Wei Feng’s win, the decibel-level peaked even higher as Lee Chong Wei (pictured) had managed to pull off his own 21-23 21-17 21-14 victory over China’s new rising star Du Pengyu.

“I started slow today so I will try to improve on that tomorrow against Chen Jin,” Lee said after his match.  “Du was trying to push the pace early on.  He normally plays more defensively so I didn’t expect him to play an aggressive game today.

“It is good for me that Chong Wei Feng has reached the quarter-finals after Liew Daren did that last year.  The Thomas Cup will be very hard for Malaysia so having another strong player in singles is definitely a good thing.”

In doubles, Malaysia is down to their two favourites.  Koo Kien Keat / Tan Boon Heong made quick work of China’s Sun Junjie / Tao Jiaming lost three other pairs, including Hoon/Ong, who couldn’t capitalize on their success in beating the defending champions in the first round.  Hoon/Ong lost in three to Japan’s Hayakawa/Kazuno.

In the quarter-finals, Koo/Tan will face England’s Robertson/Clark, who beat them last June en route to winning the Singapore Open title.  The Englishmen advanced by removing the last threat from Korea in that nation’s traditionally strongest discipline.

Wong Pei Tty / Chin Eei Hui enjoyed an easy win over compatriots Hoo/Woon but Malaysia’s other pair, Abdul Latif/Goh were, of course, even less successful against Olympic champions Du/Yu.  The only seeded pair to lose on the day were Indonesia’s Shendy Puspa Irawati / Meiliana Jauhari, who went down to last week’s semi-finalists Jung Kyung Eun / Yoo Hyun Young (picture) of Korea.  The Koreans thus set up a rematch of that semi-final with Japan’s Fujii/Kakiiwa.

For complete results from Day 3 of the 2010 Proton Malaysia Open Super Series, CLICK HERE

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Don Hearn

About Don Hearn

Don Hearn is an Editor and Correspondent who hails from a badminton-loving town in rural Canada. He joined the Badzine team in 2006 to provide coverage of the Korean badminton scene and is committed to helping Badzine to promote badminton to the place it deserves as a global sport. Contact him at: don @