BACK-UP shuttler Tan Chun Seang stayed longest on the court but still there was no triple joy for Malaysia in the men’s singles event of the Malaysian Open Grand Prix Gold championships at Bandaraya Stadium yesterday.
The 23-year-old failed to join seasoned campaigners Lee Chong Wei and Wong Choong Hann in the semi-finals after going down fighting 14-21, 21-12, 16-21 to world junior champion Chen Long of China in a 58-minute quarter-final battle.
World No. 1 Chong Wei continued his fiery form to defeat Kenichi Tago of Japan 21-9, 21-15 in 30 minutes to set up a meeting with Hong Kong’s Hu Yun today.
Choong Hann stayed on top of his game against China’s back-up shuttler Gao Huan for a 21-15, 21-10 win but he will surely have it tougher against Chen Long today.
The day, however, almost belonged to Chun Seang, who stepped onto the court bent on making a breakthrough yesterday.
“I was motivated to do well - especially after Chong Wei had challenged me to prove myself. I gave everything I had out there today,” said a dejected Chun Seang.
Despite taking a 6-1 lead in the rubber game, Chun Seang’s grip on the game weakened as Chen Long refused to roll over.
“I was not as brave as Chen Long at the net. He dared to take risks. I still have to work on this aspect of my game. Overall though I am happy with the good fight today,” said Chun Seang.
The lanky Chen Long praised Chun Seang for making life difficult for him.
“He is a skilful player and knows where to send the shuttle. He is aggressive but I also played my heart out today,” said Chen Long.
Choong Hann, who lost to Chen Long in the German Open this year, is bracing himself for a torrid time in his first semi-final this year.
“This tournament did not attract many strong players and I am happy to take that opportunity to come this far,” said Choong Hann.
“Most of the youngsters know our game well but we have no clue about their style of play. It takes a while before we get used to them. I will give my best.”
Chong Wei, meanwhile, received an unexpected boost yesterday when his coach Misbun Sidek turned up at the stadium. Misbun has been away for almost two months to care for his sick wife, who is down with kidney ailment.
“I missed him (Misbun) a lot. His presence certainly made me happy today. The last time he was there to coach me was at the All-England,” said Chong Wei.
On his next opponent, Chong Wei said: “I have beaten Hu Yun once in the Sudirman Cup this year. He can be a dangerous player and I have to tread with caution.”
The 28-year-old China-born Hu Yun, who migrated to Hong Kong four years ago to boost his badminton career, said: “This is my first semi-final appearance in an international tournament.
“The favourite will be Chong Wei. I will be happy to just give my best.”
Malaysia’s Wong Mew Choo also enjoyed a good day when she stormed into the women’s singles semi-finals with a 21-19, 21-10 win over Singapore’s Xing Aiying.
Mew Choo will take on China’s 24-year-old late bloomer Wang Xin, who pulled off a sensational upset by knocking out Indonesian Open champion Saina Nehwal 21-14, 21-10.
“This is my first international tournament since joining the China national team this year. Hopefully, I can keep my good run going,” said Wang Xin.
* Malaysians unless stated
Men’s singles: Lee Chong Wei bt Kenichi Tago (Jpn) 21-9, 21-15; Hu Yun (Hkg) bt Andre Kurniawan Tedjono (Ina) 21-6, 21-12; Wong Choong Hann bt Gao Huan 21-15, 21-10; Chen Long (Chn) bt Tan Chun Seang 21-14, 12-21, 21-16.
Men’s doubles: Gan Teik Chai-Tan Bin Shen bt Mohd Razif Abdul Latif-Chan Peng Soon 21-14, 21-14; Alven Yulianto-Hendra Gunawan (Ina) bt Hirokatsu Hashimoto-Noriyasu Hirata (Jpn) 21-19, 21-13; Mak Hee Chun-Tan Wee Kiong bt Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari-Mohd Zakry Abdul Latif 20-22, 23-21, 21-11; Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong bt Sun Junjie-Tao Jiaming (Chn) 23-25, 21-8, 21-15.
Women’s singles: Pi Hongyan (Fra) bt Juliane Schenk (Ger) 21-19, 26-24; Wang Shixian (Chn) bt Fu Mingtian (Sin) 21-19, 21-10; Wong Mew Choo bt Xing Aiying (Sin) 21-19, 21-10; Wang Xin (Chn) bt Saina Nehwal (Ind) 21-14, 21-10.
Women’s doubles: Chin Eei Hui-Wong Pei Tty bt Rei Ito-Yu Wakita (Jpn) 13-21, 21-15, 21-10; Frances Liu Fan-Vanessa Neo Yu Yan (Sin) bt Nairul Suhada Abdul Latif-Amelia Anscelly 21-17, 12-21, 21-19; Gao Ling-Wei Yili (Chn) bt Savitree Amitrapai-Vacharaporn Munkit (Tha) 21-9, 21-4; Ma Jin-Wang Xiaoli (Chn) bt Vita Marissa-Nadya Melati (Ina) 21-11, 21-12.
Mixed doubles: Hendra Gunawan-Vita Marissa (Ina) bt V. Diju-Jwala Gutta (Ind) 8-21, 21-14, 21-16; Xu Chen-Zhao Yunlei (Chn) bt Chen Zhiben-Zhang Jinkang (Chn) 21-10, 17-21, 21-17; Zhang Nan-Pan Pan (Chn) bt Flandi Limpele-Anastasia Russikh (Ina-Rus) 21-10, 21-14; Zheng Bo-Ma Jin (Chn) bt Ong Jian Guo-Chong Sook Chin 21-19, 21-7.