MALAYSIA OPEN 2012 Qualifying – Of beneficiaries and revenge

Right after the players waved goodbye to the freezing winter of Seoul, they have all arrived in Malaysia, possibly with a culture shock of the scorching weather of Southeast Asia. […]

Right after the players waved goodbye to the freezing winter of Seoul, they have all arrived in Malaysia, possibly with a culture shock of the scorching weather of Southeast Asia. Hong Wei / Pan Pan and Jenny Wallwork / Gabrielle White are among the lucky beneficiaries of the last minute withdrawals of pairs from the main draw. Meanwhile, Liew Daren (photo) and Tee Jing Yi both took revenge for their losses to their respective opponents who had, coincidentally, beaten them back in 2009.

By Ooi Ee Lyn, live in Kuala Lumpur. Photos: Yves Lacroix, Badmintonphoto (live)

The day of the qualifying rounds has always been rewarding – like getting free flow of a favourite drink at a luxurious party – for Malaysian fans, as entrance into the stadium is free of charge for the entire day. With interesting names listed for the qualifying rounds of the 2012 Maybank , fans were gathered at the Putra Stadium in hope of catching their favourite badminton stars in action – without having to pay for the tickets.

Apart from Jung/Lee’s withdrawal in the men’s doubles due to Jung’s shoulder injury, Denmark’s mixed doubles pair of Joachim Fischer Nielsen / Christinna Pedersen were the other big names seen vanishing off the tournament layout for Wednesday. Hong Wei / Pan Pan, who were scheduled to play Malaysia’s Tan Aik Quan / Lai Pei Jing (photo) for a spot in the main draw, thus profited with direct entry into round one. Tan/Lai, too, benefitted from the Danes’ withdrawal as they joined Hong and Pan at the entrance of the first round.

Tao Jiaming / Xia Huan then joined their fellow comrades as they, along with Yoo Yeon Seong / Jang Ye Na and Vitalij Durkin / Nina Vislova, booked themselves spots to show up on Wednesday.

On the other hand, in the women’s doubles, Jenny Wallwork / Gabrielle White covered up the empty spot from where Netherlands’ Lotte Jonathans / Paulien Van Dooremalen pulled out. Malaysia’s Amelia Alicia Anscelly / Soong Fie Cho, however, didn’t earn much from their opponents’ luck as they allowed newly-crowned World Junior Champions Lee So Hee / Shin Seung Chan of Korea to proceed further into the draw.

Fortunately, two other Malaysian pairs lived up to local expectations as they came out of the qualifying swirl successfully. Tagging along are Cheng Shu / Pan Pan, who have had sufficient experience in the past year and had no problem making their way through without much sweat.

In the women’s singles, Tee Jing Yi was the sole Malaysian to make it into round one by successfully collecting on an old debt from Indonesia’s Lindaweni Fanetri (photo). Lindaweni had beaten Tee in the Indonesia Challenge 2009 on home ground. Maria Febe Kusumastuti and Adrianti Firdasari, however, made up for their fellow Indonesian’s loss by advancing into the main draw, along with Chan Tsz Ka of Hong Kong.

Malaysia grabbed three of four tickets for Wednesday’s men’s doubles show while Chinese Taipei’s hopeful pair of Liao Min Chun / Wu Chun Wei confiscated the last pass from Patipat Chalardchaleam / Nipitphon Puangpuapech of Thailand.

Being one of Malaysia’s most favourite men in badminton besides Lee Chong Wei, Wong Choong Hann made the day on home soil as he ousted Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk and fellow comrade Mohamad Arif Abdul Latif to advance into the main draw. Liew Daren then joined the celebration as he steamrolled pass Gurusaidutt and Hsueh Hsuan Yi – who had stopped him in the same event in 2009 – to meet Lee Chong Wei in the first round on Wednesday.

Elsewhere, Viktor Axelsen (photo) secured his place for a game against Lin Dan by beating Derek Wong Zi Liang of Singapore who earlier got the better of his fellow Dane, Joachim Persson, while Chinese Taipei’s Chou Tien Chen became the last man who passed the entrance before the day ended.

Badminton has never been too easy for any player and no one promised an easy road ahead after the already challenging qualifying rounds, but they who have made their way through today are all determined to proceed as far as they think they are capable of.

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About Ee-Lyn Ooi