Defending champion and world No 2 Zhou Mi won through her first match at the US$50,000 KLRC New Zealand Badminton Open with expected ease yesterday and showed no effects of the flu she had been frustrated by over the past week.
Mi, 29, needs to win the title again to take back the top spot in the world and started with an 18 minute 21-5, 21-15 victory over Southland’s Anna Rankin in the first round. In the second round she will play Malaysian Mudukasan Sutheaswari.
Also making short work of things was men’s top seed Sariul Ayob (Malaysia) who accounted for Auckland’s Brent Miller in straight games.
Ayob has set up a quarter-final clash with New Zealand’s best, John Moody, who beat local Delius Tang.
Moody and Ayob have clashed three times with the Malaysian winning on each occasion.
The only upset in the second round men’s singles was Kiwi eighth seed Ethan Haggo losing to Chinese-born Aucklander Hu He Maoni.
Meanwhile, men’s third, fourth and fifth seeds Tsuen Seng Lee (Malaysia), Yu Hsin Hsieh (Taipei) and Tommy Sugiarto (Indonesia) respectively all won through to the quarter-finals over Kiwi opponents in straight games.
In the women’s singles, top New Zealand prospect Jessica Jonggowisastro beat Counties Manukau player Michelle Chan and will now play North Harbour’s Melissa Leviana in the quarters.
Former world champion bronze medallist Dan Shirley had his return to top level badminton in mixed play short-lived as he and Olympian Renee Flavell lost to the top seeds in the first round, Hung Ling Chen and Chia Chi Chou of Taipei.
The match was effectively the No 1 team against the third best combination, but because of a lack of play, Shirley had lost his ranking and he and Flavell were unseeded.
The top pairing took the match 21-14, 21-12.