KOREA OPEN Day 1 – This youth not wasted

Korea’s Heo Kwang Hee had a few hours of glory on the opening morning of the 2015 Korea Open Superseries, beating the great Lee Chong Wei before falling in his […]

Korea’s Heo Kwang Hee had a few hours of glory on the opening morning of the 2015 , beating the great Lee Chong Wei before falling in his second qualifying match.

By Don Hearn.  Photos: Yves Lacroix for Badmintonphoto (live)

20-year-old Heo Kwang Hee (pictured) is no stranger to lousy draws.  In his previous Korea Open appearance, just a few months after he won his 2013 World Junior Championship title, he had Simon Santoso blocking his path to the main draw.  This time, he was facing none other than Lee Chong Wei, the long-time world #1 who has won this title in Korea three times.  What’s more, Heo had already been schooled by Lee Chong Wei at last week’s qualifiers in Japan.

Heo Kwang Hee is no stranger to upsets, either, though.  At the end of a mediocre first season on the senior circuit, he pushed compatriots Son Wan Ho and Lee Hyun Il to three games.  Then in another domestic event this past spring, he beat his top ten compatriot Son Wan Ho for the first time.  Still, rebounding from a 28-minute lesson last week to beat Lee Chong Wei (pictured) in two games of 21-19 is an incredible turnaround for the young shuttler.

The one thing that could have made Heo’s dream complete would have been to carry the momentum into the main draw.  Unfortunately for him, his next opponent, Ihsan Maulana Mustofa of Indonesia, is also on his own roll, having scored huge upsets of his own last week, against Hu Yun and Marc Zwiebler.  Also, he was extremely close to beating Heo when they played at the recent Chinese Taipei Open.

Sure enough, it was the 19-year-old Indonesian who rained on Heo’s parade and who will proceed to the main draw to take on Marc Zwiebler…again!  For the first time, the two youngsters finished a match in two games and it was Mustofa who emerged the winner 21-17, 21-19.

Korea still had Jeon Hyeok Jin finding some success.  He beat Chinese Taipei’s Wang Tzu Wei, the 2014 New Zealand Open winner, in a close, three-game match that was the first meeting in a senior tournament between the two 20-year-olds, who played one another four times as juniors.

In women’s singles, Japan’s 18-year-old Aya Ohori succeeded where she failed last week and earned the right to play in the main draw, where she will start against Indonesia’s Linda Weni Fanetri.

Click here for complete results

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 @ badzine.net