Malaysian players continued to display impressive form in the second round of the Victor China Open 2013 today.
The absence of Men’s Singles top seed Lee Chong Wei from the draw appears to have galvanised his younger team-mates. A day after upsetting French Open champion Jan O Jorgensen, Liew Daren wriggled out of a tight spot against Japan’s Takuma Ueda. The match stretched to 81 minutes as Liew saved three match points before clinching it 14-21 21-17 24-22. Liew faces a formidable challenge next in the form of second seed Chen Long (China).
Liew’s compatriot Chong Wei Feng too kept the country’s flag flying by beating Chinese qualifier Tian Houwei in 74 minutes. Tian won the first game but Chong Wei Feng asserted himself early in the second and clinched the match without conceding the lead again, 14-21 21-13 21-16.
In Men’s Doubles, Malaysian fifth seeds Koo Kien Keat/Tan Boon Heong were laid low by Russian pair Vladimir Ivanov/Ivan Sozonov 21-18 21-18, but their younger colleagues Hoon Thien How/Tan Wee Kiong (above; left) continued to march ahead. After their opening round victory over world No. 3 Mathias Boe/Carsten Mogensen (Denmark), Hoon and Tan surprised Ko Sung Hyun/Shin Baek Choel (Korea) 17-21 21-17 21-18. They have a chance of avenging the defeat of their seniors when they take on Ivanov/Sozonov for a spot in the semi-finals.
Chan Peng Soon and Goh Liu Ying (above; right) also lived to fight another day with a gritty victory over Germany’s Michael Fuchs and Birgit Michels. The Malaysians took the Mixed Doubles encounter 22-20 30-28.
Meanwhile, Saina Nehwal’s bleak year continued as she was eliminated in the Women’s Singles second round. The sixth seed from India was involved in a long battle with China’s emerging prospect Sun Yu (below), who recovered from a first game deficit to win 16-21 21-15 21-17. Sun is among five Chinese quarter-finalists: the others are Li Xuerui (1), Han Li, Wang Yihan (3) and Wang Shixian (7). The non-Chinese contenders are Korea’s Sung Ji Hyun (a 21-17 21-15 winner over Busanan Ongbumrungpan), Thailand’s Porntip Buranaprasertsuk (BWF home page; 21-13 21-15 over Japan’s Sayaka Takahashi) and her compatriot Ratchanok Intanon (21-16 21-10 over Xirui Hui of China).
* The biggest surprise in Men’s Singles was the exit of fourth seed Kenichi Tago (Japan) at the hands of veteran Sony Dwi Kuncoro. Tago was runner-up at the French Open Superseries last month, but he was packed off in just 35 minutes by Kuncoro, 21-13 21-17.
* Husband-wife pair Chris Adcock/Gabrielle White (England) took an hour to battle past Yoo Yeon Seong/Jang Ye Na (Korea) 21-13 21-23 21-18, earning the right to play Olympic champions Zhang Nan/Zhao Yunlei in the quarter-finals.
* Women’s Doubles second seeds Christinna Pedersen/Kamilla Rytter Juhl (below) ran into stiff resistance from Indonesia Open GP Gold winners Luo Ying/Luo Yu (China). The Danes came through 18-21 21-17 21-17 and will face another Chinese pair, Bao Yixin/Zhong Qianxin, in the quarter-finals.