Sydney: Malaysia’s national champion shuttler Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin was in ruthless form on Wednesday in Sydney as he surged through to the second round of the Australian Open with a 21-12, 21-14 victory against Brice Leverdez of France in just 30 minutes. Zulkarnain will play Japanese player Sho Sasaki in the second round. Sasaki defeated Taiwan’s Hsu Jen Hao 21-14, 21-12 in an earlier match.
Former World Junior champion and World No. 38 men’s singles shuttler also cruised into the Australian Open second round after beating Australian shuttler Anthony Joe 21-13, 21-6.
However, tough path awaits Zulfadli as he will face World No. 1 Chen Long on the court in the second round.
Meanwhile, Malaysia’s 16-year-old World Junior Champion Goh Jin Wei was off to a solid start at the Australian Open after she enjoyed a straight-sets win over 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games gold medalist and current World No. 21 Michelle Li of Canada with 21-18, 21-10 at the Olympics Sports Centre in Sydney on Wednesday.
The World No. 58 Goh who is playing in her first ever Super Series tournament, will take on No. 7 seed Saina Nehwal of India next.
Indian badminton ace Saina Nehwal who won the Australian Open in 2014, edged past local challenger Joy Lai 21-10, 21-14 in just 29 minutes.
Two Malaysian men’s doubles pairs also advanced to the second round, as Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong spearheaded the Malaysia squad by beating India’s independent men’s pair Nikhar Garg/M.Anilkumar Raju 21-12, 21-10.
Koo Kien Keat/Tan Boon Heong also progressed to the second round after seeing off the resilient Belgium pair Matijs Dierickx/Freek Golinski 21-16, 16-21, 21-13.
Malaysia’s sole women’s doubles pair Vivian Hoo/Woon Khe Wei and two mixed doubles pairs Tan Kian Meng/Lai Pei Jing and Chan Peng Soon/Goh Liu Ying also stormed into Australian Open second round.