HOON Thien How and Lin Woon Fui caused the biggest upset in the Asian Championships when they upset German Open champions Lee Yong Dae-Shin Baek Cheol of Korea in the men’s doubles first round in Suwon, South Korea yesterday.
Thien How-Woon Fui won 21-18, 21-16 and will next meet Korean qualifiers Kwan Yi Gao-Chung Eui Seok. Yi Gao-Eui Seok upset Yohan Hadikusumo-Wong Wai Hong of Hong Kong 16-21, 21-17, 24-22 in their opening match.
The win is certainly a confident boost for Thien How-Woon Fui, who are competing in only their second tournament together.
At the India Open, which was their first, the duo were shown the door in the quarter-finals by Indonesia’s Alven Yulianto-Hendra Gunawan.
National doubles coach Rexy Mainaky said Thien How-Woon Fui turned in a powerful display to win the match.
“It is a good victory but I hope they can continue their momentum into the second round,” said Rexy yesterday.
As for Yong Dae-Baek Cheol, the surprise defeat to the Malaysians is a huge setback to the Korean squad, who are hoping to do well in the Asian meet.
Yong Dae-Baek Cheol won their debut tournament as a pair at the German Open and continued their momentum with semi-final appearances in the All England and Swiss Open, all last month.
Meanwhile, Hafiz Hashim has put his World Championships aspirations in jeopardy when he was shown the exit by Chen Long in the second round of the men’s singles.
Hafiz, who defeated Nepal’s Raju Paneru 21-6, 21-7 earlier, lost 21-14, 14-21, 21–14 to the China player.
Hafiz, the World No 24, who needed to stay in the top-24 bracket, will hope to stay there following yesterday’s defeat.
The qualifiers for the world meet ends on April 31.
Kuan Beng Hong is the only Malaysian left in the men’s singles competition. He defeated Japan’s Kazushi Yamada 21-15, 21-13 in the first round, and then thrashed the Philippines’ Kennevic Asuncion 21-14, 21-13 in his second match. Beng Hong, who is also at risk of being dropped from the national team, next plays China’s fourth seed Bao Chunlai.
National back-up players — Arif Latif, Liew Daren, Tan Chun Seang and Chong Wei Feng — all exited in the first round.
In the women’s singles, Wong Mew Choo, in her second comeback tournament, and Julia Wong won their respective first round matches.
Mew Choo showed no signs of her knee problem as she cruised to a 21-8, 21-9 win over Hong Kong’s Mong Kwan Yi and will next face third seed Wang Lin of China today.
Wang Lin, the World No 5, edged Hong Kong’s Yip Pui Yin 17-21, 21-7, 21-12 in her opening match.
Julia, the India Open finalist, blanked Korea’s Jang Soo Young 21-18, 21-11 to set up a second round clash with All England champion Wang Yihan of China. Wang Yihan, also the German and Swiss Open winner, led 3-0 against Hwang Hye Youn before her Korean opponent retired with an injury.
However, Lydia Cheah’s hopes of qualifying for the world meet were dashed when she lost 18-21, 22-20, 21-13 to Taiwan’s Chen Hsiao Huan.
The World No 26 needed a good result in Suwon to make the top-24 bracket for a spot in the world meet.