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Wednesday April 3, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Friday April 26, 2013 MYT 12:51:22 AM
by kng zheng guan
PETALING JAYA: World No.1 Lee Chong Wei barely broke a sweat as he eased back into action in the first round of the Australian Open GP Gold in Sydney yesterday.
Making his first competitive appearance since losing the All-England final to China’s Chen Long last month, Chong Wei was ruthless as he demolished India’s Arvind Bhat 21-10, 21-18.
It was a vintage performance from the 30-year-old who is surely the overwhelming favourite to win the title given the lack of quality opponents.
Chong Wei will next face Indonesia’s Prasojo Adi Andrianus for a place in the quarter-finals.
It was also a favourable day for several other Malaysians, who all cleared their first round hurdles.
National back-up shuttler Mohd Arif Abdul Latif, seeded 10th, was among the impressive ones as he came back from a game down before beating South Korea’s Hong JI-hoon 14-21, 21-18, 21-16.
The 23-year-old, however, will have another tough challenge as he will be up against 2009 world junior champion Tian Houwei of China in the second round.
Fellow back-up shuttler Iskandar Zulkar-nian Zainuddin almost pulled off the biggest upset of his career as he took world No. 9 Nguyen Tien Minh the distance before losing 21-17, 9-21, 8-21.
KLRC’s Zulfadli Zulkifli, the 2011 world junior champion, however, got off to a good start by beating New Zealand’s Thomas Ellis 21-14, 21-16.
There were also winning starts by third seed Liew Daren and fourth seed Chong Wei Feng, albeit in contrasting fashion.
Daren, who was under the weather last week, laboured before beating unheralded Marius Myhre of Norway 18-21, 21-11, 21-11.
There were no such problems for Wei Feng who crushed homester Kenny Ng 21-9, 21-11.
In the men’s doubles, top seeds Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong, bidding to win their first title since the Malaysian Open GP Gold last year, will take on China’s Li Gen-Liu Cheng in the first round today.
Two other Malaysian pairs – world No. 14 Goh V Shem-Lim Khim Wah and world No. 16 Mohd Zakry Abdul Latif-Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari – will also look to produce good results in order to strengthen their bid for a spot in the World Championships in Guangzhou in August.
The other pairs in the fray are Chooi Kah Ming-Ow Yao Han and professional pair Gan Teik Chai-Ong Soon Hock.
In women’s singles, the challenge will be led by Sonia Cheah, who performed admirably in the Axiata Cup last week, as well as her sister Lydia, Tee Jing Yi and Yang Li Lian.
First round: Lee Chong Wei bt Arvind Bhat (Ind) 21-10, 21-18;
Chong Wei Feng bt Kenny Ng (Aus) 21-9, 21-11; Liew Daren bt
Marius Myhre (Nor) 18-21, 21-11, 21-11; Mohd Arif Abdul Latif
bt Hong Ji-hoon (Kor) 14-21, 21-18, 21-16; Nguyen Tien Minh
(Vie) bt Iskandar Zulkarnian Zainuddin 17-21, 21-9, 21-8; Goh
Soon Huat bt Gavin Ho (Aus) 21-5, 21-11; Zulfadli Zulkifli bt
Thomas Ellis (Nzl) 21-14, 21-16; K. Yogendran bt Joe Wu (Nzl)
21-7, 21-16; Guo Kai (Chn) bt Chiang Jiann Shiarng 21-8, 21-11;
Tian Houwei (Chn) bt Kuan Beng Hong 21-8, 21-16.
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Others, Sport, Sport, Sport, Australian Open GP Gold, Lee Chong Wei, first round, 2013
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