ALOR STAR: National number one Lee Chong Wei proved he is still the king of the local circuit after an embarrassingly easy 21-10, 21-6 win over Hafiz Hashim in the Proton Kedah Open National Circuit Badminton Championships at the KBA Hall here last night.
The top ranked pair of Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong also put their recent setback in the World Championships behind them to beat second seeds Choong Tan Fook-Lee Wan Wah 21-16, 22-20.
In the men’s singles final, Chong Wei needed just 21 minutes to overcome a lacklustre Hafiz, who could not get his game going at all.
A combination of misjudgements at the baseline and numerous unforced errors eased the way for the top seed to extend his unbeaten streak in local tournaments to six seasons. He has not lost a match since winning the 2002 National Grand Prix Finals.
Despite the easy win, world number four Chong Wei chose not to sound too confident over his prospects of playing his compatriot in the opening round of the Japan Open this week.
For his efforts, Chong Wei won RM4,000 while Hafiz took home RM2,000.
“I would not read too much into this easy victory as Hafiz seemed tired. The Japan Open is a different class tournament altogether and I would not make the mistake of underestimating Hafiz. There is much at stake in the Super Series, with players going all out to secure Olympic qualifying points,” said Chong Wei.
“If given a choice, I would have stayed back in Kuala Lumpur to prepare for the Japan Open. But all the national players were required to play in the Kedah Open. I have not set any targets in Japan, but will be working to get back to my best following the recent (World Championships) setback.”
Unlike the singles final, the high quality and fast paced men’s doubles final provided the spectators with their money’s worth.
All-England champions Kien Keat-Boon Heong needed just eight minutes to wrap up the first game 21-16. But the second seeded veteran pair refused to give in and fought gallantly before going down 20-22 in 11 minutes.
“Although we won, the results in the Kedah Open is not a true gauge of our improvement because we are playing team-mates whom we play daily in training. There was also not much pressure compared to international assignments,” said Boon Heong.
“We are now looking forward to the Japan Open next week.”
Women’s singles top seed Julia Wong ended 16-year-old Tee Jing Yi’s giant killing run with a 21-18, 21-7 victory to bag her first local title this year.
Except for a brief slump midway through the first game, the world number 25 Julia was in total control against her Bukit Jalil Sports School opponent throughout the 35-minute match.
In the mixed doubles, Pahang Open champions Lim Khim Wah-Ng Hui Lin’s hope of securing a second local title was scuppered by Gan Teik Chai-Fong Chew Yen.
Teik Chai-Chew Yen proved their ousting of top seeds Tan Wee Keong-Woon Khe Wei in the semis was not a fluke by taking the title 21-17, 21-13 in the final.
Chew Yen returned to the court later with a different partner, Mooi Ying Hau, to bag her second title of the night.
Chew Yen-Ying Hau, the top seeds, defeated Julia-Anita Raj Kaur 21-15, 21-18 to bag the women’s doubles crown.
Men’s singles: Lee Chong Wei bt Hafiz Hashim 21-10, 21-6.
Men’s doubles: Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong bt Choong Tan Fook-Lee Wan Wah 21-16, 22-20.
Women’s singles: Julia Wong bt Tee Jing Yi (BJSS) 21-18, 21-7.
Women’s doubles: Fong Chew Yen-Mooi Ying Hau bt Julia Wong-Anita Raj Kaur 21-15, 21-18.
Mixed doubles: Gan Teik Chai-Fong Chew Yen bt Lim Khim Wah-Ng Hui Lin 21-17, 21-14.
Boys’ singles: Zulfadli Zulkifli (Sel) bt Mohd Shahrizal Latip (Sel) 21-12, 21-9.
Boys’ doubles: Goh Wei Shern-Ong Jia Guo (BJSS) bt Teo Kok Siang-Iskandar Zulkarnain (BJSS) 16-21, 21-19, 21-19.
Girls’ singles: Tiffany Chase Currier (BJSS) bt Sonia Cheah (BJSS) 16-21, 21-11, 21-18.
Girls’ doubles: Yvonne Ong-Ho Bee Ling (BJSS) w.o. Ong Boon Hui-Yee Li Jin (BJSS)
Mixed doubles: Ong Jian Guo-Yeow Mi Xie (BJSS) bt Cheah Like Hou-Foong Yi Xin (BJSS) 21-17, 21-12.