Daren Liew enters Malaysia Open main draw

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Daren Liew is going to have a tough fight against Viktor Axelsen in the Malaysia Open opener. (photo: Abdullah Yusof)

Kuching: Former Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) men’s singles player Daren Liew have qualified for the main draw of the Axiata Malaysia Open 2017 after beating current BAM player Soo Teck Zhi and China’s Zhao Junpeng in two qualifying rounds on Tuesday.Daren Liew is going to have a tough fight against Viktor Axelsen in the Malaysia Open opener. (photo: Abdullah Yusof)

Liew produced a vintage performance as he got off to a comfortable 21-15, 21-10 win over the 2013 Asian Junior Champion Soo Teck Zhi in 29 minutes. Liew didn’t have things all his own way as he got past spirited Chinese qualifier Zhao Junpeng 17-21, 21-15, 21-18 to reach the main draw of Malaysia Open.

“I could have beaten Zhao in the first set, but somehow I lost my focus. I was happy to regain my focus in the second and third and was able to defeat him,” said Liew.

Liew will kick off his Malaysia open against No. 4 seed Axelsen Viktor of Denmark on Wednesday. Surprisingly, Liew got the upper hand against Axelsen, in which Liew defeated the Dane in the 2012 French Badminton Open final, winning 21-18, 21-17.

Meanwhile, two other Malaysians, both Chong Wei Feng and Cheam June Wei fizzled out after losing to their respective opponents in the second qualifying round.

Chong went down to Takuma Ueda of Japan 19-21, 11-21 while Cheam crashed out after losing to France player Brice Leverdez 12-21, 19-21.

In men’s doubles, the Indonesia/Malaysia pair of Hendra Setiawan/Tan Boon Heong also headed to the main draw on Tuesday.

Setiawan/Tan overcame Kim Jae Hwan/Yoo Yeon Seong of Korea 21-14, 21-17 in their first qualifying match, and then saw off Lee Jian Yi/Lim Zhen Ting of Malaysia 21-15, 21-17 to face Setiawan’s former partner Mohammad Ahsan and Ahsan’s new partner Rian Agung Saputro on Wednesday.

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