PETALING JAYA: National singles shuttler Chong Wei Feng has been playing with an extra spring in his step lately.
His rise to No. 27 in the world rankings has made him the national No. 2 and boosted his confidence ahead of the Taiwan Open GP Gold, which starts in Taipei today.
The 25-year-old Wei Feng is one of the most improved shutlers this year and has been playing with an air of confidence since coming through the qualifiers to make the second round of the All-England in March, before losing to world No. 2 Lin Dan.
He has also achieved several creditable results of late, notably making the quarter-finals of the Japan Open last month and the Singapore Open in June.
Wei Feng’s performance in Japan is certainly laudable as he recovered from a terrible start to produce a stunning finish in beating home favourite Kenichi Tago in the first round.
The Kedahan is quietly confident of his chances in Taipei, where he will face seventh seed Alamsyah Yunus of Indonesia, who is now ranked lower than him at No. 29.
“I have played Alamsyah once and lost in three close games. He will still be the favourite because of his experience but I am out for revenge and I believe I can take him out,” said Wei Feng.
“It’s great to finally climb up the rankings ... it has given me more confidence.
“But what matters most is not about being ranked second in the country because my main focus is to continue playing well. I am seeking to do that in Taipei.”
If he beats Alamsyah, Wei Feng will face local lad Chun Shih Kuei in the second round, with Hong Kong’s Chan Yan Kit a potential third round opponent.
Besides Wei Feng, the other Malaysian shuttlers in the fray are Liew Daren, Mohd Arif Abdul Latif, Misbun Ramdan Misbun, Iskandar Zulkarnian Zainuddin, Goh Soon Huat and KLRC’s Zulfadli Zulkifli.
Of the lot, world No. 28 Daren has a clear shot at making the semi-finals at least following the withdrawals of several top players, including world No. 10 Tago and world No. 19 Dionysius Hayom Rumbaka. The only other recognised top player in his half is in-form world No. 15 Hu Yun of Hong Kong, seeded fifth here in Taiwan.
In the men’s doubles, the Malaysian pairs competing are Mohd Lufti Zaim-Teo Kok Siang, Chooi Kah Ming-Ow Yao Han, Nelson Heg-Teo Ee Yi. The professional duo of Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari-Mohd Zakry Abdul Latif are also taking part in the tournament.