Eighthseed Boonsak Ponsana yesterday beat Hong Jihoon 2118 2116 in convincing fashion to set up a daunting quarterfinal against top seed and world No 1 Lee Chong Wei in the Korea Open Super Series badminton in Seoul.
Boonsak's victory over the Korean in a 45minute secondround clash gave the world No 13 a chance to renew his rivalry with the Malaysian superstar, who beat him twice last year, including in the second round of the Japan Super Series.
Taking advantage of the absence of world and Olympic champion Lin Dan from China, Chong Wei began the quest for his first title of the year with an exceptional opening win over Englishman Andrew Smith. The world No 1 then showed he had lost none of the accuracy and aggression that brought him six titles last year by thrashing German Marc Zwiebler 2111 2116 in the second round yesterday.
Elsewhere, fourth seeds and world No 8 mixed doubles partners Songphon Anugritayawan and Kunchala Vorawichitchaikul maintained the form that won them Japan Super Series and Thailand Grand Prix Gold titles last year. The Thais survived a sturdy challenge from Hwang Ji Man and Jang Ye Na to knock out the South Koreans in three dramatic games 2113 1321 2113. They next take on Indonesian Flandy Limpele and Taiwanese Cheng Wen Hsing in the quarterfinals.
Sixth seeds Sudket Prapakamol and Saralee Thoungthongkam also tasted victory yesterday when the world No 10 pair tamed Koreans Kim Kijung and Eon Hyewon 2115 2114. They next play Japan's Noriyasu Hirata and Miyuki Maeda.
Thailand had mixed fortunes in the women's doubles event, with seventh seeds Savitree Amitapai and Vacharaporn Munkit going down to South Koreans Choi Hyein and Lee Sohee 2220 1321 1421, but third seeds Duang Anong Aroonkesorn and Kunchala beating Taiwan's Cheng Wen Hsing and Tsai Pei Ling 2114 2118.
The Korean Open is the first meet of the 2010 Super Series and will be followed by the Malaysia Open next week at Putra Stadium from January 19 to 24.