Badminton Life

Qualifier Gives Defending Champion Chong Wei An Early Scare

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 19 (Bernama) -- World number one and defending champion Datuk Lee Chong Wei suffered an early scare before warming up to the tough task ahead by beating Indonesian qualifier Tommy Sugiarto in the first round of the Malaysian Open Super Series at the Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil here Wednesday.

Chong Wei who was trailing 1-6 in the first game and 7-13 in the second, made a lethargic start before coming away victorious in straight sets 21-18, 21-17 and set up a second round match against Hong Kong's Yun Hu.

"It was basically my mistake because I did 'warm up' well. I had thought there were three more matches before mine but when I was called up to play, I had to push myself to get warmed up on court," he told reporters after the match.

Chong Wei, fresh from winning the Super Series Master title in Taipei, two weeks ago, remains the only Malaysian men's singles player standing in the competition as Muhammad Hafiz Hashim and Wong Choong Hann were shown the exit door by their respective opponents.

Hafiz lost to Chen Long of China, 21-14, 21-16 while veteran Choong Hann lost to Marc Zwiebler of Germany 15-21, 21-15, 18-21.

In the women's singles, Wong Mew Choo kept the flag flying after coming from a set down to beat Lu Lan of China 13-21, 22-20, 21-12.

"I did not start well and mid-way I told myself to avoid giving away easy points to Lu Lan. When I started to focus, I saw Lu Lan making numerous errors and I seized the opportunity to pile up the pressure on her and it paid off," said Mew Choo.

However, the win came with a price as she would face World number one Wang Xin of China in the second round.

Mew Choo will also be the sole flag bearer for the country in the women's singles as back up player Tee Jing Yi lost to Juliane Schenk of Germany 23-25, 21-13 in straight sets.

Meanwhile, Hafiz who had lost his match earlier, announced that he too would leave the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) fold although he has a contract until 2012.

Hafiz who was formerly under coach Datuk Misbun Sidek's charge, said he had informed BAM secretary Ng Chin Chai of his intention on Dec 25, but was advised to stay on.

However, even if Hafiz decides to join Misbun who had walked out of BAM on Dec 31 when his contract expired, it is not expected to be a big loss to BAM because he has been a pale shadow of the player who won the 2003 All England.

Source from BERNAMA

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