BUKIT JALIL: Russian Vladimir Ivanov had only five hours of sleep before playing in the qualifiers.
However, that did not stop the tall and valiant Ivanov from making it to the main draw of the Maybank Malaysian Open at the Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil on Tuesday.
The 26-year-old won his two qualifying matches – beating Malaysia’s Mohamad Arif Abdul Latif 10-21, 21-12, 23-21 and Hong Kong’s Chan Yan Kit 21-16, 21-17 – to set up a match against Japan’s Kenichi Tago.
“Both matches were hard for me as I only had five hours of sleep after arriving in Malaysia at 2am. Thankfully, I did not fall asleep on the courts today,” joked Ivanov.
Ivanov is known for being able to compete with the top names despite the lack of training in his country.
“In Russia, we don’t have enough players to represent our country. The full badminton squad consists of only six players. This makes it hard for us to train,” said Ivanov.
Despite the lack of training, he has made a name for himself by upsetting several top players – even Malaysia’s Chong Wei Feng lost to him at last week’s Korean Open.
Ivanov will also take part in the men’s doubles event with Ivan Sozonov. The pair are ranked 12th in the world.
“Badminton is not big in Russia but I hope to change that. We still need to improve and we hope one day we will be on par with the other top countries,” said Ivanov.
Ivanov and Sozonov will meet Maneepong Jongjit-Nipitphon Puangpuapech of Thailand in the men’s doubles.