Seoul: World No. 55 men’s doubles Koo Kien Keat/ Tan Boon Heong had it easy Wednesday afternoon in their opening match of the Korea Open.
The former World No. 1 pair from Malaysia raced to a 21-16, 21-10 finish over world No. 19 Marcus Ellis/Chris Langridge of England in just 37 minutes in front of very small crowds at SK Handball Stadium in Seoul.
Koo/Tan will encounter a stern test from No. 5 seeds Chai Biao/Hong Wei of China on Thursday. Chai/Hong dispatched Kim Astrup/Anders Skaarup Rasmussen of Denmark 21-19, 21-15 in the opener.
Other Malaysian men’s doubles Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong were briefly troubled by Chan Jun Bong/Kim Dae Eun in the first set, before Goh/Tan en route to a 21-15, 21-13 victory over the Koreans in the men’s doubles first round. The Malaysians will next face reigning world champions Mohammad Ahsan/Hendra Setiawan of Indonesia on Thursday.
At the same day, unseeded Angga Pratama/Ricky Karanda Suwardi of Indonesia pulled off a shock in the opener against No. 7 seeds Liu Xiaolong/Qiu Zihan, beating the Chinese 21-14, 21-12 in 26 minutes.
Wednesday was a bizarre day for former women’s singles world champion Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand. She couldn’t hold off the feisty youngster P.V Sindhu of India, fell in three sets 19-21, 23-21, 13-21 to Sindhu in an extremely hard-fought battle that lasted 69 minutes.
On the men’s side, both No. 1 seed Chen Long and No. 5 seed Lin Dan rolled through the first round easily. Chen will play compatriot Wang Zhengming in the second round, while Lin Dan will face Son Wan Ho of Korea on Thursday. It would be interesting to see whether Son who engaged Lin Dan in a 93 minutes hard fought battle at last week’s Japan Open men’s singles first round could give Lin Dan another headache in the second round.
Even though Malaysia’s independent shuttler Zulfadli Zulkiffli was able to put up some solid resistance in the first set against a stronger opponent Tommy Sugiarto in the opener, Zulkiffli eventually succumbing to a 21-14, 21-8 loss as the Indonesian booked his spot in the second round to face Kento Momota of Japan.