By : K.M. Boopathy
THE Malaysians will be greeted with tough first round matches in the Taiwan Open and there is a grim possibility that several players will make early exits today.
For starters, Hafiz Hashim, who has a tendency of losing to unknown players, must be cautious in his first round match where he meets Japan's Koichi Saeki.
And it will be much tougher for his brother Roslin, who opens against Singapore Open champion Boonsak Ponsana.
Another senior player Yeoh Kay Bin needs to come up with something special to stay in the tournament as he will be meeting Singapore's Ronald Susilo.
Project 2010-2012 players Tan Chun Seang, Chan Kwong Beng and Lim Kenn all face uphill tasks in their opening matches too.
Chun Seang takes on South Korean Park Sung Hwan, Kwong Beng is up against Hong Kong No 1 Chan Yan Kit, while Lim Kenn faces the sternest test against top seed Chen Hong of China.
However, second seed Lee Chong Wei and Wong Choong Hann are not expected to face problems in the first round.
Chong Wei gets his campaign going against Indonesia's Ari Yuli Wahyu while Choong Hann plays Thailand's back-up shuttler Pakawat Vilailak.
Chong Wei, on a high after winning the Japan Open on Sunday, will be attempting to make it back-to-back titles which is something he has never achieved in his career.
It will be a hectic day in the men's singles where the shuttlers who advance will have to play their second round matches later in the day.
As for men's doubles starting tomorrow, Zakry Latif-Fairuzizuan and Tan Bin Shen-Ong Soon Hock will be under tremendous pressure as another poor performance from either pair means they will be in cold storage.
Zakry-Fairuz have a tricky first round match against Japan's Tadashi Ohtsuka-Keita Masuda but Bin Shen-Soon Hock should not have a problem against qualifiers in their opening match.
Yesterday's qualifying results – (Malaysia unless stated) Men's doubles, 1st rd: Ong Jian Guo-Goh Wei Shem bt Tsai Jai Lin-Lee Jen Wei (Tai) 21-13, 21-9.
2nd rd: Ong Jian Guo-Goh Wei Shem bt Tan Wee Kiong-Lutfi Zaim Khalid 19-21, 21-17, 21-14.
Women's singles: Chiu Yi Ju (Tai) bt Tee Jing Yi 21-17, 24-22.
Mixed doubles, 1st rd: Yonathan Dasuki-Meiliana Jauhari (Ina) bt Lutfi Zaim Khalid-Goh Liu Ying 24-26, 21-19, 21-15; Wang Pie Rong-Wang Chia Min (Tai) bt Goh Wei Shem-Tee Jing Yi 21-19, 20-22, 21-11.