MALAYSIA GPG 2011 Day 2 – Fifty-fifty for locals

With many home players surviving the qualifications yesterday, they were now up for the real work. After today’s first round, almost half of the Malaysian players made it into the […]

With many home players surviving the qualifications yesterday, they were now up for the real work. After today’s first round, almost half of the Malaysian players made it into the round of 16, starting tomorrow at 2:00 PM local time. A few local youngsters surprised, while a far more experienced compatriot was ousted immediately.

By Elm Vandevorst and Wilson Chew, Badzine Correspondents. Photos: Badmintonphoto (archives)

It was a short day for veteran Wong Choong Hann. His opponent Anup Sridhar showed no mercy, claiming victory 21-15, 21-15. Malaysia nevertheless still has some other capable players around, with Lee Chong Wei being the absolute player. Due to the large entry list, all shuttlers in the men’s singles had to win two matches today in order to advance to the second round.

One of Chong Wei’s fellow citizens still in the game is Beryno Wong (photo). The former Malaysian national back-up player joined his national team in 2005, but left it after two years. Today he was too strong for both Gurusai Datt and Tam Chun Hei.

In yet another Indian-Malaysian clash twelfth seeded P. Kashyap defeated Lok Chong Chieh in his first rounder 22-20, 21-7, but had to accept defeat against Brice Leverdez from France. Beryno Wong will meet the Frenchman tomorrow.

In the women’s singles, all favourites survived their first round matches in fairly straightforward fashion, except for eight seeded Yao Jie (photo). The Dutch shuttler had no luck with the draw and lost after three thrilling games with Japan’s Ai Goto, who prevailed 22-20, 19-21, 21-13 after more than 45 minutes. Also the seeded teams in the women’s doubles convinced, or at least won their matches, except for sixth seeded duo Yao Lei / Shinta Mulia Sari. The Singapore Open Champions were beaten by Indonesians Anneke Feinya Agustine / Nitya Krishinda Maheswari 21-19, 21-10.

The most anticipated mixed doubles encounter for Thursday is bound to be the match between the two siblings Markis Kido and Pia Zebadiah.  Pia and Kurniawan, while runners-up in India on Sunday, struggled to beat their Thai opponents in the first round but brother Markis, playing with Lita Nurlita, came through in two quick games.

The biggest upset in the mixed doubles came from the hand of Indonesians Riky Widianto and Shendy Puspa Irawati, halting All England champions Ma Jin and Xu Chen 21-18, 21-18. Double specialist Widianto has already played with many different partners – both before and after returning to his homeland  in early 2009 from a long period on the Singapore national team – but can for now focus on his new partnership.  New partner Irawati had her most successful period between 2008 and 2009 playing women’s doubles together with Meiliana Jauhari. That pair advanced to the semi-finals at the Super Series in Malaysia and Indonesia. Widianto and Irawati have their next test against Thai twosome Maneepong Jongjit / Savitree Amitapai.

The newly formed mixed doubles paring of Tan Aik Quan / Lai Pei Jing, who were crowned champions at the Thailand International, teamed up at the Malaysia Satellite tournament last November and are just playing their fifth tournament on the international stage. Today they showed the crowd they’re still in great form, beating Wong Wai Hong / Chau Hoi Wah 21-18 22-20.

What’s more, some other Thailand International Series victors, men’s doubles youngsters Nelson Heg / Teo Ee Yi, had to give it their best. In spite of their recent victory in Thailand, the two were stopped in the first round on home soil up against compatriots Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari / Ong Soo Hock 16-21 21-12 21-19.

Some other local favourites, Koo Kien Keat / Tan Boon Heong (photo), took a better start than their young team members and had few problems to overpower Yoshiteru Hirobe / Kenta Kazuno 21-18 21-13.

Both of us thought it would be a tough battle, but probably we prepared and planned our strategy well. We were able to win convincingly,” explained Koo Kien Keat. Their next opponents, 2009 Junior World Champions Ow Yao Han / Chooi Kah Ming, have already beaten the more experienced compatriots at the Proton National Circuit KL Open a month ago.

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