Singapore: Malaysia's independent shuttler Mohd Arif Abdul Latif who left Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) last July made it to the main draw of the Singapore Open by defeating Siswanto of Indonesia 21-16, 21-11 in his first game, and then scoring a comprehensive win over Singaporean Ashton Chen with 21-18, 21-19 on Tuesday.
Arif once ranked No. 30 in the world has plummeted to No. 89 despite winning the Malaysian International Challenge last November. He is going to play India’s B. Sai Praneeth in the first round of the main draw.
“This is a boost for me, I hope to do well so that I can start climbing up in the rankings,” said Arif.
“My new club and my current coach – Indonesian Nova Armada, have been very supportive and I will try to play well to win more games.”
On the other hand, players such as world No. 3 Kenichi Tago of Japan, world No. 4 and defending champion Tommy Sugiarto of Indonesia, world No. 6 Boonsak Ponsana of Thailand, world No. 15 Sony Dwi Kuncoro (Indonesia) and India’s world No. 30 R.M.V. Gurusaidutt have withdrew from the tournament; these withdrawals benefited players such as Derek Wong, Tan Chun Seang and Misbun Ramdan Misbun with a no sweat free passage into the main draw.
With the absence of these top ranked players, the world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei will have an easy run to the final.
In the women's singles, world No. 97 Yang Li Lian from Malaysia defeated Sweden’s Matilda Petersen 21-16, 21-14 for a breakthrough sail to the main draw. This earned her a chance to learn from the world No. 2 Wang Yihan of China in the main draw.