KUALA LUMPUR: World No 1 and defending champion Lee Chong Wei did not allow the resignation of his coach Rashid Sidek affect his game as he marched into the men’s singles quarter-finals of the Japan Open in Tokyo on Thursday.
Top-seeded Chong Wei took only 34 minutes to tame Anand Pawar of India with a 21-12, 21-16 win to set up a match against qualifier Jun Takemura.
The unheralded Takemura caused a stir in the tournament when he dumped eighth seed Hu Yun of Hong Kong 21-18, 21-17.
On Thursday, the Indian shuttlers continued to show their prowess when three of them – H.S. Prannoy, Ajay Jayaram and K. Srikanth marched into the last eight. Prannoy pulled off the biggest upset of the day when he sent Denmark’s Jan O Jorgensen packing with a 21-14, 13-21, 21-17 win.
If Chong Wei wins, he will meet the winner of the match between Ajay and World Championships bronze medallist Nguyen Tien Minh of Vietnam for a place in the semi-finals.
Two-time Olympic Games silver medallist Chong Wei is determined to go all out to win the title in Japan as a parting gift for his coach.
Rashid quit the national team Thursday citing that he no longer enjoyed doing his job under the new Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) management.
Meanwhile, Chong Wei is the only Malaysian left in the tournament following the defeats of defending champions Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying and independent shuttlers Ng Hui Ern-Ng Hui Lin in their respective second round matches.
Fourth seeds Peng Soon-Liu Ying lost to unseeded Chinese pair of Liu Cheng-Bao Yixin 8-21, 16-21 in just 34 minutes while Hui Ern-Hui Lin were beaten 13-21, 15-21 by Misaki Matsutomo-Ayaka Takahashi.