Chong Wei Feng was not so lucky in Japan Open. He lost 21-14, 21-14 to Lin Dan in the second round. - AFP
PETALING JAYA: World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei fended off arguably the toughest challenge from Germany’s Marc Zwiebler before booking his spot in the quarter-finals of the Japan Open badminton championships.
Chong Wei, who is bidding for his fifth Japan Open crown, needed close to an hour to seal a 21-13, 28-26 victory over the world No. 12. He had defeated the German with ease three weeks ago in the Thomas Cup Finals. It was Chong Wei’s 10th win in 10 matches against Zwiebler.
Chong Wei will face fifth seed Tommy Sugiarto of Indonesia today for a place in the semi-finals.
Malaysian coach Tey Seu Bock said the tough match endured by Chong Wei was due to the slow shuttle.
“I thought Chong Wei did quite okay, but the shuttle was very slow. In fact, most matches here went into long rallies,” he said.
“Against Tommy tomorrow (today), it will be the same scenario. A lot of rallies will be played for sure, so the fittest player will win.”
Chong Wei Feng, however, failed to join Chong Wei in the last eight after going down 21-14, 21-14 to superstar Lin Dan of China.
“Wei Feng did not play badly, it’s just that he found it hard to kill off Lin Dan,” explained Seu Bock.
“Lin Dan was just too good. He was dictating everything. It was a good lesson for Wei Feng.”
Hoon Thien How-Tan Wee Kiong are the other Malaysians to make the last eight.
The others – Tan Boon Heong-Goh V Shem (men’s doubles), Vivien Hoo-Woon Khe Wei (women’s doubles) and Chan Peng Soon-Lai Pei Jing (mixed doubles) – were sent packing.
Seventh seeds Thien How-Wee Kiong marched on by beating Thais Maneepong Jongjit-Nipitphon Puangpuapech 21-13, 21-17 in the second round to set up a quarter-final clash with world No. 1 Mohammad Ahsan-Hendra Setiawan of Indonesia.
V-Shem-Boon Heong was no match against Chinese Wang Yilv-Zhang Wen, losing 21-19, 21-7 in just half an hour.
Peng Soon-Pei Jing lost 21-16, 21-9 to top seeds Zhang Nan-Zhao Yunlei of China while Khe Wei-Vivien succumbed to a 21-18 21-15 defeat at the hands of Japan’s Reika Kakiiwa-Miyuki Maeda.