PETALING JAYA: It was expected to be a smooth ride into the quarter-finals of the Indonesian Open for world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei. But he had to work extra time to make it in Jakarta yesterday.
The top seeded Chong Wei had to recover from a second-game defeat to beat compatriot Mohd Hafiz Hashim 21-7, 19-21, 21-7. He will take on South Korean Park Sung-hwan today for a place in the semi-finals. Sung-hwan advanced with a 21-16, 21-17 win over Indonesian Simon santso.
It all appeared to be a stroll in the park for Chong Wei when he bulldozed Hafiz to win the first game. But the lanky Hafiz had other plans in the second game. He raced to a 7-1 lead and kept piling on the pressure on Chong Wei to force a rubber.
But the fight Hafiz appeared to be capable of throwing in all fizzled out and he surrendered meekly.
National chief coach Rashid Sidek said that Chong Wei lost control in the second game.
“He found it hard to control the shuttle. He was either lifting the shuttle to half court or sending it out at the baseline. Hafiz certainly took advantage of the situation,” said Rashid in a telephone interview.
“I am not too worried with the way Chong Wei won. In fact, I feel that he will get a better grip of himself in the next match.
“He should beat his quarter-final opponent. But I hope he will not be over-confident. He still has a fight in his hand.”
If Chong Wei makes the semi-finals, he can expect to play against archrival Lin Dan of China, who scored an easy 12-21, 12-21 win over Taiwanese Hsieh Yu-hsing yesterday to set up a match against compatriot Chen Jin.
Two other quarter-final matches today will certainly draw the attention of the Indonesian fans.
Home favourites Taufik Hidayat and Sony Dwi Kuncoro will take on Peter-Gade Christensen of Denmark and Hong Kong’s Chan Yan Kit respectively.
Chong Wei is the only Malaysian left in the fray in the men’s singles following the exit of seasoned campaigner Wong Choong Hann in the second round. Choong Hann gave a toothless performance against Sony and was beaten 8-21, 12-21 in just 34 minutes.