Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia’s Daren Liew would have to do things the hard way if he hoped to advance to the second round of Indonesia Open that will be held at Istora Gelora Bung Karno from July 16 to July 21.
The World No. 24 was handed a tough draw as he will face World No. 1 Kento Momota of Japan in the first round. He has lost to Momota twice including in last year’s World Championships semi-finals. Liew surged into the World’s semi-finals after ousting Kanta Tsuneyama in a pulsating 80-minute battle. However, his win over Tsuneyama also cost him a right ankle injury. And of course, he was no match for Momota by surrendering 21-16, 21-5 in the last four while Momota then went on to win the World Championships.
He suffered another injury in January this year when an MRI scan revealed that his left heel was severely bruised during the Malaysia Masters.
“This is definitely a difficult draw, but I have no other choice. I’m just hoping I can create some trouble for him. My movement is much better now. I hope I can create a surprise against Momota,” said Liew.
Due to suffering two major injuries in the span of five months, Liew had failed to clear the second round in all his past five tournaments.
In addition to Indonesia Open, Liew will also participate at the Japan Open (July 23 to July 28) and also the Thailand Open (July 30 to August 4) so that he can collect sufficient qualification points for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
“I will be playing at a lot of tournaments, and each of them is crucial. The most important thing for me right now is to avoid injuries,” said Liew.
After the Malaysian badminton legend Lee Chong Wei had retired from the sport, Liew will now compete with World No. 18 Lee Zii Jia to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. They can both qualify for the Olympics if they are ranked World’s top 16 before the end of April, 2020.