Gwangju: Malaysian men’s singles players Lee Zii Jia, Soong Joo Ven, women’s singles player Goh Jin Wei, and men’s doubles pair Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong have all advanced to the Korea Masters second round.
Lee Zii Jia survived an tough opening on Wednesday, fighting past Taiwanese Lin Yu Hsien 23-21, 22-20 in 43 minutes while Soong Joo Ven had to dig deep to bounce back from a roller coaster 58-minute tussle with Ha Young Woong of Korea, notching a hard-fought 18-21, 21-12, 21-14 victory to book his spot in the Korea Masters second round.
The 20-year-old Lee will meet qualifier Yang Chih Chieh of Taiwan next and Soong will take on No. 5 seeds Khosit Phetpradab of Thailand on Thursday.
In women’s singles competition, reigning world junior champion Goh Jin Wei, needed only 25 minutes to beat Soraya De Visch Eijbergen of Netherlands 21-7, 21-13 at Gwangju Women’s University Stadium. She will next face Zhang Yiman of China.
After being knocked out of the second round of Hong Kong Open two weeks ago, men’s doubles No. 3 seeds Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong rallied from 6-13 in the second set and held off a late surge to beat Taiwan’s Lee Sheng Mu/Yang Po-Hsuan 21-19, 24-22 to storm into the second round.
Goh/Tan will play Huang Kaixiang/Wang Zekang of China for a place in the quarter-finals.
Malaysia’s men’s doubles coach Paulus Firman told reporters after the match that he was hoping Goh/Tan could end the 2018 season on a high note in Gwangju.
“Yes, 2018 has been a bad season for them. Since they didn’t make it to the World Tour Finals after losing in Hong Kong Open, they are now trying to improve and rebuild their confidence through this tournament,” said Firman.
Meanwhile, Malaysia’s former national player, Tan Boon Heong who partnered with Kim Sa Rang of South Korea, pulled off a big upset in the first round by outlasting top seeds, Fajar Alfian/Muhammad Rian Ardianto of Indonesia, who just won the Syed Modi International last Sunday 21-13, 18-21, 21-12.
Tan/Kim are set to clash with Malaysian pair Mohamad Arif Ab Latif Arif/Nur Mohd Azriyn Ayub Azriyn on Thursday.