ODENSE (Denmark): World No. 3 Du Pengyu is loving the fact that he is currently not competing in China … or anywhere in Asia.
The 25-year-old from Hubei is more relaxed competing away from the limelight back home and as such is enjoying his game a lot more.
The Denmark Open third seed was given a scare by Taiwan’s Chou Tien Chen in the first round when he was stretched to three games but finally produced his best in demolishing Holland’s Eric Pang 21-17, 21-11 in the second round on Thursday.
The fact that Pengyu is not feeling any pressure and is in a more relaxed mood certainly spells danger for world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei, as the duo are expected to meet in the semi-finals.
“This is my fourth time competing in the Denmark Open and I love the fact that I’m competing in a stress-free environment,” said Pengyu.
“Back in Asia … and China, there is so much limelight on us and it is really intense at times.
“Thus I really love the fact that I’m out of the limelight for a change … I can enjoy my game a lot more.
“Even though we are players, we just want to have some personal time to chill and relax with friends too.
“It’s quite doable here in Denmark because badminton is not as huge as China and I can be myself without too many people recognising me,” added Pengyu.
The change of pace is certainly much welcomed by Pengyu who has struggled a little on the international stage.
Despite reaching the semi-finals of the World Championships back in August, losing to Chong Wei in three close games, he also suffered early exits in the Indonesia and Singapore Opens this year.
Fatigue certainly played a role too as Pengyu fell flat on his face in the first round of the China Masters last month, losing to Japan’s Kazumasa Sakai.
The energetic Pengyu who has beaten Chong Wei only once in nine meetings, will certainly pose a threat should they meet in the last four.
But first, he will need to get past a tricky challenge in the form of India’s R.M.V. Gurusaidutt.