VietNamNet Bridge – Vietnam No 1 Nguyen Tien Minh suffered a first-round defeat in the Proton Malaysia Open Super Series to Poland's top player Przemyslaw Wacha in three sets yesterday.
The country's only representative in Malaysia reached the main round after outplaying three opponents in the qualifying stages on Tuesday.
It took Minh (ranked 42 in the world) three sets to beat Indian Chetan Anand, who is eight places behind him in the world rankings, in the first qualifier – 16-21, 22-20, 21-12.
The two-time Top Players Championships winner, who became the first Vietnamese player to break into the International Badminton Federation (IBF) top 100 in 2004, was also untroubled in the next two qualifiers, clinching both matches at the Stadium Putra Bukit Jalil in straight sets.
Minh defeated Thailand's 47th ranked Poompat Sapkulchananart, who lost to him in the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games last December, 21-18, 21-7 in just 32 minutes, before ousting another Indian Arvind Bhat, who is three places behind in the world rankings, 21-10, 22-20 in 24 minutes.
But Minh could not extend his winning streak yesterday, losing in 39 minutes to the world No 14, whom Minh defeated in the 2006 Singapore Open.
Wacha claimed the first set 21-19 but Minh recovered brilliantly in the second beating the Pole by 18 points. However, Minh couldn't sustain his form and lost the third set 21-16.
Despite his first-round exit, Minh performed better than last year when he failed to get through the qualifying stages of the Malaysia Open, which is the first Super Series tournament of the year.
Minh's chief success last year was a bronze medal at the 24th SEA Games in Thailand. In other competitions last year, he only managed to reach the first round of the Philippines Open and Indonesian Open. Minh also lost his opening games in the World Championships and the Hong Kong Super Series.