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Thursday November 15, 2012

Wei Feng sends Sasaki packing in China Open first round

PETALING JAYA: National elite shuttler Chong Wei Feng bounced back from a disappointing outing in Europe last month with a stunning win over Japan’s Sho Sasaki in the first round of the China Open in Shanghai.

After a string of impressive performances – reaching the quarter-finals of the Japan Open and semi-finals of the Taiwan Open, Wei Feng could not raise his game in Europe and suffered early exits.

He was beaten in the first round of the Denmark Open by Indonesia’s Simon Santoso and Japan’s Kenichi Tago in the second round of the French Open.

But the 25-year-old Kedah shuttler put those defeats behind him to deliver a masterful performance, stunning the sixth-seeded Sasaki 21-13, 21-16 in just 33 minutes.

It was his first win over Sasaki and also the biggest in his career, which speaks volumes of his improvement.

World No. 26 Wei Feng was clearly delighted after clearing his first round hurdle with ease.

“It was my first meeting against Sasaki, who’s a very good player, and to beat him like that is a great result for me,” said Wei Feng in a text message.

“I think I played fairly well today, much better than I did in Europe and my counter-attack plan worked to perfection.

“I’ll meet Hans-Kristian Vittinghus next. Having lost to him earlier this year, I intend to get my revenge this time. It won’t be easy but l’lI have to be patient.”

World No. 22 Vittinghus, who beat Wei Feng in the India Open earlier this year, defeated Taiwan’s Hsu Jen Hao 21-4, 14-21, 21-17 yesterday.

Wei Feng will be joined by French Open champion Liew Daren in the second round.

However Daren, currently ranked 18th in the world, struggled to beat India’s Ajay Jayaram 21-18, 16-21, 21-14.

Daren will face Gao Huan after the Chinese qualifier stunned eighth seed Jan O Jorgensen 21-15, 21-11.

Indonesian Sony Dwi Kuncoro claimed the biggest scalp of the day when he beat fourth seed and Denmark Open runner-up Du Pengyu 11-21, 21-17, 21-19.

In men’s doubles, third seed Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong almost suffered a similar fate before rallying to beat Thai youngsters Patiphat Chalardchaleam-Nipitphon Puangpuapech 16-21, 21-14, 22-20.

They are joined in the second round by Hoon Thien How-Tan Wee Kiong and the independent duo of Gan Teik Chai-Ong Soon Hock.

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