PETALING JAYA: Rising doubles stars Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong did not have much trouble booking their place in the main draw of the Korean Open but veteran Wong Choong Hann found the going too tough in the qualifying tournament at the Olympic Gymnasium in Seoul yesterday.
After receiving a walkover from the Kiwi pair of Daniel Shirley-John Gordon, the newly-crowned Malaysian Open champions made short work of Mongolias Batkhurel Ochirpurev-Enkhbat Olonbayar 21-10, 21-9 to check in.
However, Choong Hann found it difficult in three matches. He overcame Japans Yousuke Nakanishi 21-11, 24-22 and South Korean Ahn Hyun-suk 9-21, 21-8, 21-15 but faltered at the final hurdle against another Korean, Shon Seung-mo.
The 2004 Athens Olympic silver medallist proved to be the fitter one on court, coming back from a game down to beat Choong Hann 23-25, 21-14, 21-12.
Choong Hann also had to play in the qualifying rounds in the preceding Malaysian Open to earn his place in the tournament proper and he was beaten by Chinas Chen Jin in the second round.
National back-up squad player Tan Chun Seang also failed to make the grade. He lost to Korean Kim In-woo 17-21, 17-21 after having beaten Kennevic Asuncion of the Philippines 11-21, 21-12, 21-16 in the first round of the qualifiers.
Two other Malaysian mens doubles pairs made it to the main draw at the expense of Korean opponents.
Tan Bin Shen-Ong Soon Hock, who eliminated world champions Fu Haifeng-Cai Yin of China in the second round of the Malaysian Open, overcame Yeon Seong-yoo-Jeon Jun-bum 21-18, 21-17 while Chew Choon Eng-Hong Chieng Hun edged Kang Myeong-won-Kim Yong-hyun 21-18, 18-21, 21-1 in their respective final matches of the qualifiers.
There are six Malaysian pairs in the same half of the main draw and all eyes will be on Kien Keat-Boon Heong, who will be bidding for their third consecutive title. The newly-forged Malaysian pair, who were the gold medallists at the Doha Asian Games last month, open their campaign today against Roman Spitko-Michael Fuchs of Germany.
In the same quarter of the draw are veterans Choong Tan Fook-Lee Wan Wah and Choon Eng-Chieng Hun.
Based on current form, Kien Keat-Boon Heong are tipped to reach the semi-finals for a match against second seeds Jens Eriksen-Martin Lundgaard Hansen of Denmark or the second ranked Korean pair of Lee Jae-jin-Hwang Ji-man.
In the same quarter as the Danes and Koreans are Malaysians Gan Teik Chai-Mohd Zakry Latif, Bin Shen- Soon Hock and Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari-Lin Woon Fui.
(source: The Star Online)