New Delhi: World No. 45 Chong Wei Feng of Malaysia was stunned by Japan’s World No. 42 Kenta Nishimoto while former world junior champion Zulfadli Zulkiffli was also sent packing in the second qualifying match of the India Open in New Delhi, India on Tuesday.
Chong Wei Feng won a tough first qualifier 24-22, 21-19 against Kaushal Dharmamer from India, then seemed to lose steam in the second qualifier by going down 18-21, 11-21 to Japan’s Nishimoto.
Zulfadli Zulkiffli also notched his opening qualifying match by beating Pratul Joshi of India 21-9, 21-13, but lost his second qualifying match to Japan’s Kazumasa Sakai 18-21, 17-21.
With the exits of Chong and Zulkiffli, as usual, Malaysia’s burden falls primarily on World No. 3 Lee Chong Wei in the men’s singles competition. The top seeded Lee will play Kazumasa Sakai in the first round of main draw on Wednesday.
After a stunning first round defeat to India’s B. Sai Praneeth at the 2016 All England 3 weeks ago, a good showing at India Open will definitely help Lee Chong Wei to recover from the All England disappointment.
In men’s doubles, Koo Kien Keat/Tan Boon Heong face steep challenges as they will play their opener against No. 2 seeds Kim Gi Jung/Kim Sa Rang of Korea. Malaysia’s independent pair Hoon Thien How/Teo Kok Siang facing China’s Liu Chen/Lu Kai while Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong will meet D. Chandra Kumar/Brijesh Yadav of India on Wednesday.
With just over a month to go for the Olympic qualification ‘cut off’ date of May 5, the $300,000 India Open has attracted many badminton stars as all of them are trying to consolidate their claims in the limited spot in Rio Olympics.