Bangkok: Predictably, Malaysian World No. 38 men’s singles shuttler Zulfadli Zulkiffli made safe passage through to the third round of the Princess Sirivannavari Thailand Masters Badminton Championships in Bangkok, Thailand on Tuesday.
The fourteenth-seeded Zulfadli, chasing his first ever singles title in the senior level, defeated Indonesian Andre Marteen 21-11, 21-19 in 43 minutes to set up a third round clash with No. 2 seed Son Wan Ho on Wednesday.
In other men’s singles competition, 35-year-old top seeded South Korea Lee Hyun-il also reached the third round after proving too strong for Malaysia’s Zulhelmi Zulkiffli in round two, beating him 21-13, 21-16 at the Nimibutr Stadium. Lee will play Kantaphon Wangcharoen of Thailand for a place in quarter-finals.
Thailand’s most decorated women’s singles badminton star and World No.6 Ratchanok Intanon capped the afternoon session with a 21-10, 21-12 win over Lee Jang-Mi of South Korea, facing compatriot and qualifier Supamart Mingchua in Wednesday women’s singles second round.
In men’s doubles, former World No. 1 men’s pair Koo Kien Keat/Tan Boon Heong barely had to break a sweat as their opponents Vatannejad-Soroush Eskandari/Farzin Khanjani from Iran conceded a walkover while trailing 9-11 in the opening set. Koo/Tan will take on South Koreans Choi Solgyu/Kim Jae-Hwan next. Another Malaysia pair Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong also breezed past Or Chin Chung/Tang Chun Man of Hong Kong 21-16, 21-10 in their opening match, to square off with qualifiers Inkarat Apisuk/Sutichon Pol-gul of Thailand in the men’s doubles second round.
Tuesday was a day of contrasting fortunes for the Malaysian women’s doubles as Vivian Hoo/Woon Khe Wei were in complete control and advanced without much resistance coming from the other end, beating Komal Antil/Lalita Dahiya of India 21-5, 21-5; On the other hand, the 2015 Singapore SEA Games gold medalists Amelia Alicia Anscelly/Soong Fie Cho were forced to retire against Jongkolphan Kititharakul/Rawinda Prajongjai while leading 15-11 in the second set due to injury.
Meanwhile, Malaysia’s Chan Peng Soon/Goh Liu Ying strolled to a difficult first round win when they reeled off three straight points in the second set after trailing 18-19 to edge scratch pair from Singapore and Thailand Chayut Triyachart/Natcha Saengchote 21-17, 21-19.
The Thailand Master tournament offers US$120,000 (RM498, 267) as prize money and is being held to honor HRH Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana, a former Thailand national team player.