KUALA LUMPUR: National back-up shuttler Chong Wei Feng pulled off a stunning win over world No. 26 Boonsak Ponsana of Thailand in the first round of the China Masters in Changzhou.
Wei Feng, however, had to battle back from a game down to beat the Thai 11-21, 21-16, 21-12 to set up a second round meeting against seventh seed Wang Zhengming of China.
It will be interesting to see what the 25-year-old Wei Feng has up his sleeves against the world No. 16 Zhengming, who came out triumphant when the two met in the quarter-finals of the Singapore Open in June.
Wei Feng was the only saving grace for Malaysia yesterday as the others – men’s singles players Liew Daren and Mohd Hafiz Hashim and men’s doubles back-up pair Chan Peng Soon-Ong Jian Guo crashed out in the opening round.
Also ousted were two seeded players – Japan’s Kenichi Tago and Dane Jan O Jorgensen.
World No. 28 Daren, touted as a potential replacement for Lee Chong Wei, blamed nerves for his 19-21, 21-17, 21-12 loss to India’s world No. 40 Sourabh Varma.
The 25-year-old, who has been working on his fitness since returning from London where he was chosen as a sparring partner for Chong Wei, simply put it down to his lack of matches played in the lead up to the tournament.
“I think nerves had a bit to do with it. This was my first tournament after three months … so I was a little rusty. I couldn’t really get the tournament buzz,” said the 25-year-old Daren, who has been working on his fitness since returning from London.
“I’m very disappointed. I should have won. I won the first game and was up 14-9 in the second. Suddenly I became jittery,” said Daren.
“I just became too eager to win and my game plan went out of the window. When Sourabh won the second game, my confidence level dropped a notch and I couldn’t find a way back.”
Like Daren, Hafiz also toiled for an hour before finally succumbing to another India player, V. Gurusaidutt, 21-18, 19-21, 21-13.
Peng Soon-Jian Guo were sent packing by Thailand’s Songphon Anugritayawon-Sudket Prapakamol 21-18, 21-18.
First round results
Men’s singles: Chen Long (Chn) bt Viktor Axelsen (Den) 20-22, 21-7, 21-8; Wang Zhengming Chn) bt Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk (Tha) 21-11, retired; Chen Jin (Chn) bt Anand Pawar (Ind) 21-17, 21-12; V. Gurusaidutt (Ind) bt Hafiz Hashim (Mas) 21-18, 19-21, 21-13; Du Pengyu (Chn) bt Takuma Ueda (Jpn) 21-14, 15-21, 21-11, Hsu Jen Hao (Tpe) bt Jan O Jorgensen (Den) 21-13, 14-21, 21-19; Hu Yun (Chn) bt Chou Tien Chen (Tpe) 21-19, 21-18; Ajay Jayaram (Ind) bt Kenichi Tago (Jpn) 21-13, 21-17; Derek Wong (Sin) bt Wong Wing Ki (Hkg) 21-17, 11-21, 21-19; Zhou Wenlong (Chn) bt Brice Leverdez (Fra) 21-10, 21-16; Kashyap Parupalli (Ind) bt Gao Huan 21-13, 14-21, 21-19; Misha Zilberman (Isr) bt Scott Evans (Irl) 24-22, 21-17; Chong Wei Feng (Mas) bt Boonsak Ponsana (Tha) 11-21, 21-16, 21-12; Sourabh Varma (Ind) bt Liew Daren (Mas) 19-21, 21-17, 21-12; Qiao Bin (Chn) by Chen Yuekun (Chn) 21-10, 21-8; Hans-Kristian Vittinghus (Den) bt Ashton Chen (Sin) 21-17, 21-19.
Men’s doubles: Li Gen- Liu Cheng (Chn) bt Phillip Chew-Sattawat Pongnairat (US) 21-14, 17-21, 21-8; Rasmus Bonde-Mads Conrad-Petersen (Den) bt Tarun Kona-Arun Vishnu (Ind) 18-21, 21-12, 21-19; Songphon Anugritayawon-Sudket Prapakamol (Tha) bt Chan Peng Soon-Ong Jian Guo (Mas) 21-18, 21-18; Patiphat Chalardchaleam-Nipitphon Puangpuapech (Tha) bt Pranaav Jerry Chopra-Akshay Dewalkar (Ind) 21-11, 17-21, 21-18.
Women’s singles: Minatsu Mitani (Jpn) bt Wang Lin (Chn) 22-20, 21-17; Busanan Ongbumrungpan (Tha) bt Chen Xiao Jia (Chn) 14-21, 21-15, 22-20; Sapsiree Taerattanachai (Tha) bt Kaori Imabeppu (Jpn) 21-15, 21-17; Eriko Hirose (Jpn) bt Han Li (Chn) retired; Nozomi Okuhara (Jpn) bt Yao Xue (Chn) 13-21, 21-10, 21-11; V. Sindhu (Ind) bt Jamie Subandhi (US) 21-15, 21-12.