Odense: Two generations of captains who led Malaysia’s 2014 and 2020 Thomas Cup teams respectively, Daren Liew and Lee Zii Jia have cruised through to the 2021 Denmark Open second round, and are scheduled to face each other on Thursday to fight for a spot in the quarter-finals.
The World No.35 Daren Liew defeated the World No. 19 Hans-Kristian Solberg Vittinghus of Denmark 21-18, 23-21 in the opener. Liew successfully reeled off 4 consecutive points when trailed 17-18 in the first game to win 21-18. The Malaysian then saved 5 game points, coming back from 16-20 down to ultimately win the second game 23-21.
In another men’s singles match, meeting for the first time in their career, Malaysia’s World No. 8 Lee Zii Jia dropped the first game to World No. 11 Wang Tzu Wei of Taiwan 12-21. However, Lee was able to win the next two 21-9, 21-18 to set up a second-round meeting with Liew.
Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen also made the perfect start to his first Denmark Open after winning the Olympic gold medal, breaking last week’s Dutch Open champion 21-19, 21-14 Loh Kean Yew in the opening match to face Lakshya Sen of India next. Interestingly, both Loh Kean Yew and Lakshya Sen have sparred with Axelsen in Dubai when the Dane decided to move to Dubai after winning the gold medal at the Tokyo Games.
In men’s doubles, Malaysia’s World No. 8 Aaron Chia/Soh Wooi Yik produced a virtuoso display to prevail over World No. 54 Ruben Jille/Ties Van Der Lecq of Netherlands 21-17, 21-9 in just 23 minutes. Chia/Soh will play World No. 27 Akira Koga/Taichi Saito of Japan in the second round.
Meanwhile, both the World No. 16 men’s doubles pair – Ong Yew Sin/Teo Ee Yi and World No. 13 mixed doubles pair – Goh Soon Huat/Shevon Jemie Lai barely broke sweat as their first-round opponents retired from their respective matches.
Besides players above, other Malaysian shuttlers such as Chan Peng Soon/Goh Liu Ying (mixed doubles), Goh V Shem/Low Juan Shen (men’s doubles), Chen Tang Jie/Peck Yen Wei (mixed doubles) have all suffered first-round exits on Wednesday.
After winning the 2020 Thomas Cup title together with their teammates last Sunday, Indonesia’s World No. 2 men’s doubles pair – Mohammad Ahsan/Hendra Setiawan were dealt with the biggest upset of the day by losing to World No. 18 Mark Lamsfuss/Marvin Seidel of Germany 17-21, 13-21.
The 2021 Denmark Open is a BWF World Tour Super 1000 event, it offers total prize money of USD $850,000.