ANAHEIM (California): Shuttler Mohd Hafiz Hashim received a big boost to his title aspirations at the IBF World Championships when his Singaporean nemesis Ronald Susilo limped out of the first round at Arrowhead Pond here Monday.
The Malaysian number two hardly broke sweat against Iranian Kaveh Mehrabi in his opening round match, taking just 32 minutes to score a 15-3, 15-3 win.
Hafiz was on course to meet Susilo in the second round but things did not turn out as expected.
Susilo, his left ankle strapped, took on French opponent Olivier Fossy in their opening round match but there was no joy for the Indonesia-born Singaporean, with his World Championship experience lasting just 23 minutes.
Susilo won the first game 15-9 and was leading 13-3 when he suddenly stopped and bent down to hold his left ankle.
The expression on his face did not give anything away, but the umpire then signalled a stop to the match, and a medical offical later helped Susilo off the court.
Susilo said he felt pain, and pulled out because he did not want to aggravate the injury.
"It is disappointing that my campaign turned out like this after coming all the way here.
"I had a slight sprain after training yesterday, and I was just two points away (from victory) when this happened," said Susilo, who reached the quarterfinals in the Athens Olympics last year.
Hafiz can sleep easy with Susilo out of the way, as he has struggled against him in the past.
He lost to Susilo three times in a row before finally beating the Singaporean in the semifinals of the Thailand Open in March this year.
With a tough rival out, Hafiz should have no reason not to go one better than his second round appearance in the 2003 World Championships in Birmingham.
Hafiz, the reigning All-England champion at the time, was beaten by elder brother Roslin in that match.
Hafiz was pleased with his performance in the first round victory against Mehrabi, and said he was looking forward to his second round match against Fossy on Wednesday.
The 23-year-old is tipped to meet top seed Lin Dan of China if he enters the quarter-finals.
Hafiz was the only Malaysian singles player in action Monday.
National number one Lee Chong Wei and 2003 World Championships runner-up Wong Choong Hann are due to go up later against first round opponents Jan Frohlich of the Czech Republic and Geoffrey Bellingham of New Zealand respectively.
Denmark's top singles player Peter Gade-Christensen also had it easy in the first round, cruising to a 15-0, 15-1 win over Guatemala's Pedro Yang. He will play play Vietnam's Tien Minh Nguyen on Wednesday.
Tan Bin Shen-Ong Soon Hock, the only Malaysian doubles pair in action Monday, cruised through to the second round with a quick 15-2, 15-1 demolition of Guatemala's Pedro Yang-Erick Anguiano.
The following are results of first round matches involving Malaysian players on Monday:
Men's singles:Mohd Hafiz Hashim bt Kaveh Mehrabi (Irn) 15-3, 15-3.
Men's doubles:Tan Bin Shen-Ong Soon Hock bt Pedro Yang-Erick Anguiano (Gua) 15-2, 15-1.
Women's singles:M. Sutheaswary bt Nina Weckstrom (Fin) 11-4, 11-3.
Women's doubles:Fong Chew Yen-See Phui Leng lost to Nina Vislova-Valeri Sorokina (Slo) 15-8, 6-15, 10-15; Ooi Sock Ai-Mooi Hing Yau bt Kirsteen Mcewan Miller-Michelle Douglas (Sco) 15-6, 15-2; Lim Pek Siah-Chor Hooi Yee bt Jamie Subandhi-Cindy Shi (Usa) 15-4, 15-4
Mixed doubles:Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari-Ooi Sock Ai lost to Xie Zhongbo-Zhang Yawen 1-15, 10-15
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