ALOR STAR: Wong Choong Hann’s withdrawal has paved the way for the nation’s top two men’s singles players, Lee Chong Wei and Mohd Hafiz Hashim, to stay on course for a final showdown in the Proton Kedah Open National Circuit Badminton Championships at the Kedah Badminton Association Hall.
Yesterday, Choong Hann stepped on the court in the morning to defeat Mohd Ariff Latif 21-18, 21-16 in a second round match.
However, the 30-year-old Choong Hann revealed later that he was playing with a fever and had to forfeit his quarter-final match against Tan Chun Seang in the evening.
Chun Seang will next face second seed Hafiz, who needed three games to beat unheralded Chong Wei Feng 21-16, 18-21, 21-16 in the last eight.
“Choong Hann was already feeling weak when he got up this morning. But he carried on playing in the second round match after taking some medicine. However, he felt worse in the afternoon and had no choice but to pull out,” said BAM team manager Hou Kim Tho.
In the top half of the draw, Chong Wei continued his domination with a 21-17, 21-12 victory over K. Yogendran in the last eight. Earlier, the top seed had beaten a plucky Vountus Indra Mawan 21-16, 21-12 in the round of 16.
“I am happy with my performances so far. It is a shame that Choong Hann had to withdraw, and I am now hoping to play Hafiz in the final as it would be a prelude to our first round meeting in next week’s Japan Open,” said Chong Wei.
Chong Wei will first have to negotiate his way past Yeoh Kay Bin in the semi-finals. Kay Bin beat veteran Mohd Roslin Hashim 19-21, 21-11, 21-6.
In the men’s doubles, top seeds Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong continued their sluggish form, having to go the distance by Gan Teik Chai-Lin Woon Fui before prevailing 21-11, 13-21, 21-18.
The favourites were also stretched to three games in their second round tie earlier in the day, when they defeated Lok Chong Chieh-Poh Chai Boon 21-5, 19-21, 21-13.
Kien Keat-Boon Heong will now play Chew Choon Eng-Hong Chien Hun, who upset national pairing Chan Chong Ming-Hoon Thien How 23-21, 21-11 in the last eight.
In contrast, second seeds Choong Tan Fook-Lee Wan Wah needed just 30 minutes to beat Chan Peng Soon-Mohd Razif Latif 21-10, 21-13.
The veterans’ semi-final opponents will be scratch pair Tan Bin Shen-Ng Kean Kok, who stunned Indonesian Open finalists Mohd Fairuzizuan Tazari-Mohd Zakry Latif 19-21, 21-17, 27-25.