PETALING JAYA: National elite shuttler Liew Daren (pic) insists that he is not at all disappointed after missing out on the recently-ended Japan Open.
Instead, he is looking forward to the Indonesian Open GP Gold, which begins today.
Daren, who has shown good improvement to climb to No. 42 in the world rankings, had qualified for the Japan meet last week but was not given the green light to compete by the BA of Malaysia (BAM).
And the 24-year-old Daren, who reached the quarter-finals of the Vietnam Open last month, believes that “it is actually a blessing in disguise”.
“I’m not really disappointed about not going to Japan because I have been competing in a lot of tournaments lately,” said Daren, who also competed in the Taiwan Open and China Masters earlier this month.
“That deprived me of the opportunity to train and I’m actually glad I didn’t go because I finally got the last week to catch up on some training.”
For the Indonesian Open, Daren has been drawn against sixth seed Simon Santoso of Indonesia in the first round and is aware that it will not be a walk in the park.
If Daren can score an upset win over the 2009 SEA Games champion, he could face an easy path into the quarter-finals.
He could meet compatriot Misbun Ramdan Misbun in the second round and possibly Singapore’s Robin Gonansa in the third.
“It will not be easy because Simon is a good player and I’m just hoping to focus during the match and aim for an upset,” said Daren.
“If I can do that, I may actually have a good chance to reach the quarter-finals.”
Besides Daren, the other Malaysians in the singles event are Mohd Arif Abdul Latif, Chong Wei Feng, Chan Kwong Beng, Goh Soon Huat, Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin and Asian junior champion Zulfadli Zulkifli.
Meanwhile, Mak Hee Chun-Ong Soon Hock, who stunned top Japanese pair and world No. 10 Hirokatsu Hashimoto-Noriyasu Hirata en route to reaching the Vietnam Open semi-finals last month, will face the same pair in the first round of the men’s doubles event.
If they can repeat the feat, they should face Singapore’s Ashten Chen-Derek Wong in the second round.
The other Malaysian pairs in the fray are Mohd Lufti Zaim-Vountus Indra Mawan, Ow Yao Han-Tan Wee Kiong, Gan Teik Chai-Tan Bin Shen and the reunited pair of Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari-Mohd Zakry Abdul Latif of KLRC.
In the qualifying rounds yesterday, the mixed doubles pair of Hee Chun-Lim Yin Loo and Wee Kiong-Woon Khe Wei did well to reach the main draw after dispatching their Indonesian opponents respectively.