PETALING JAYA: National men's singles shuttler Leong Jun Hao has staked his claim for a spot in the Thomas Cup squad after winning the Finnish Open for his first senior title.
In an all-Malaysian final on Sunday, the 19-year-old Jun Hao fought back from a game down to beat Cheam June Wei 12-21, 21-17, 22-20 at the Vantaan Energia Arena in Vantaa, Finland.
It was a sweet revenge for Jun Hao, who lost to June Wei in the semi-finals of the Austrian Open in February.
Although it may be a lower-tier tournament, Jun Hao has done himself a favour as the race for the third and fourth singles berths are still open for the prestigious men's team championship in Bangkok, later in May this year.
Only Lee Chong Wei and Lee Zii Jia are assured of their places so far.
Jun Hao also did well to finish as runner-up in the Thailand Masters in January.
However, women's doubles pair Goh Yea Ching-Yap Cheng Wen failed to make it a double joy for Malaysia as they went down fighting to Japan's Kugo Asumi 24-22, 15-21, 13-21.
Still, it was a commendable outing considering they were competing together for the first time.
At the Osaka International in Japan, Mohd Arif Abdul Latif-Nur Azriyn Ayub also did well ahead of their return to the national team on April 16.
The duo, who emerged runners-up to Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong in the National Championships last month, lost in the final 21-19, 15-21, 21-15 to home pair Hirokatsu Hashimoto-Hiroyuki Saeki.
Arif-Azriyn are among the three former internationals besides Lim Khim Wah who were given a chance to rejoin the national team on a three-month probation.
They are expected to report for training on April 16.
Men's singles: Yu Igarashi (Jpn) bt Kodai Naraoka (Jpn) 14-21, 21-11, 21-12.
Men's doubles: Hirokatsu Hashimoto-Hiroyuki Saeki (Jpn) bt Mohd Arif Abdul Latif-Nur Mohd Azriyn Ayub (Mas) 21-19, 15-21, 21-15.
Women's singles: Ayumi Mine (Jpn) bt Ayaho Sugino (Jpn) 21-14, 21-16.
Women's doubles: Kim Won-ho-Lee Yu-rim (Kor) bt Yunosuke Kubota-Chiharu Shida (Jpn) 21-17, 21-12.
Mixed doubles: Naoko Fukuman-Kurumi Yonao (Jpn) bt Ayako Sakuramoto-Yukiko (Jpn) 17-21, 21-19, 21-16.
Men's singles: Leong Jun Hao (Mas) bt Cheam June Wei (Mas) 12-21, 21-17, 22-20.
Men's doubles: Akbar Bintang Cahyono-Moh Reza Pahlevi Isfahani (Ina) bt Rehan Naufal Kusharjanto-Pramudya Kusumawardana Riyanto (Ina) 21-14, 21-17.
Women's singles: Gregoria Mariska Tunjung (Ina) bt Ruselli Hartawan (Ina) 21-7, 21-13.
Women's doubles: Kugo Asumi-Megumi Yokoyama (Jpn) bt Goh Yea Ching-Yap Cheng Wen 22-24, 21-15, 21-13.
Mixed doubles: Alfian Eko Prasetya-Marsheilla Gischa Islami (Ina) bt Akbar Bintang Cahyono-Winny Oktavina Kandow (Ina) 21-18, 21-16.