INDEPENDENT shuttler Liew Daren kept the Jalur Gemilang flying high when he stormed into the men’s singles quarter-finals at the World Championships in spectacular style.
Labelled as a no hoper, Daren continued to prove doubters wrong after pulling off yet another upset by stunning world No. 5 K. Srikanth of India 21-18, 21-18 in the third round at the Youth Olympic Sports Park Arena.
He’ll face Kanta Tsuneyama of Japan, who ousted Brice Leverdez of France 21-17, 21-15 in the other third-round clash – and his chances of make his first semi-finals looksgood.
His best outing in the world meet was only a third-round finish after losing to Chen Long of China in Guangzhou in 2013.
Yesterday, Daren was in his element as he pulled off all the right tricks to outfox Srikanth.
“This is by far my best achievement as an independent shuttler, but I’m going to make it even better,” said Daren.
“At first, I wasn’t even sure I’ll clear the first round and now I’m in the quarter-finals. I’ll keep fighting – semis, final? You’ll never know.
“There’s no pressure at all.”
Daren, who left the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) in early 2016, reckons his struggle as a professional shuttler has finally paid off.
“It wasn’t an easy journey,” said the 2012 French Open champion.
“As a professional, you have to arrange everything on your own. Besides preparing for a tournament, you have to make your own transport arrangements and hotel bookings.
“When I was in the national team, all were taken care off.
“But the hardest part of all is to source for sponsors.
“I really want to thank AirAsia. They made this trip possible for me and I hope I have repaid their faith with this result.”
Meanwhile, Goh Jin Wei’s gallant run ended in the women’s singles when the 18-year-old went down fighting 21-23, 13-21 in 46 minutes to defending champion Nozomi Okuhara of Japan.
“It was a good experience playing against her. In terms of our standard, I think I trail her by two levels,” said Jin Wei.
“She made me realise that there are so many areas I have to improve to get to where she is now. Overall, I’m quite pleased with my World Championships debut, I have no complaints with how things have panned out.”
THIRD ROUND RESULTS
Men's singles: Viktor Axelsen (Den) bt Angus Ng Ka Long (Hkg) 21-19, 21-18; Chen Long (Chn) bt Kenta Nishimoto (Jpn) 21-18, 21-19; Shi Yuqi (Chn) bt Lin Dan (Chn) 21-15, 21-9; Chou Tien-chen (Tpe) bt Ygor Coelho (Bra) 21-11, 21-7; Kento Momota (Jpn) bt Anders Antonsen (Den) 13-21, 21-17, 21-8; B. Sai Praneeth (Ind) bt Hans-Kristian Vittinghus (Den) 21-13, 21-11; Liew Daren (Mas) bt K. Srikanth (Ind) 21-18, 21-18; Kanta Tsuneyama (Jpn) bt Brice Leverdez (Fra) 21-17 21-15.
Men's doubles: Marcus Fernaldi Gideon-Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo (Ina) bt Vladimir Ivanov-Ivan Sozonov (Rus) 21-19, 21-12; Takeshi KamuraKeigo Sonoda (Jpn) bt Fajar Alfian-Muhammad Rian Ardianto (Ina) 21-17, 21-16; Chen Hung-ling-Wang Chi-lin (Tpe) bt Mathias Boe-Carsten Mogensen (Den) 21-19, 21-10; Takuto Inoue-Yuki Kaneko (Jpn) bt Berry Angriawan-Hardianto Hardianto (Ina) 21- 11, 20-22, 21-16; Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik (Mas) bt Kim Astrup-Anders Skaarup Rasmussen (Den) 21-18, 21-16; Li Junhui-Liu Yuchen (Chn) bt Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong (Mas) 16-21, 21-15, 22-20; Mads Conrad-Petersen-Mads Pieler Kolding (Den) bt Liao Min-chun-Su Ching-heng (Tpe) 21-17, 21-9; Liu Cheng-Zhang Nan (Chn) bt Hiroyuki Endo-Yuta Watanabe (Jpn) 21-15, 21-14.
Women's singles: Tai Tzu-ying (Tpe) bt Zhang Beiwen (US) 21-19, 21-14; He Bingjiao (Chn) bt Nguyen Thuy Linh (Vie) 21-14, 21-11; Saina Nehwal (Ind) bt Ratchanok Intanon (Tha) 21-16, 21-19; Carolina Marin (Spa) bt Sayaka Sato (Jpn) 21-7, 21-13; Nozomi Okuhara (Jpn) bt Goh Jin Wei (Mas) 23-21, 21-13; P.V. Sindhu (Ind) bt Sung Ji-hyun (Kor) 21-10, 21-8; Chen Yufei (Chn) bt Chen Xiaoxin (Chn) 21-11, 18-21, 21-12; Akane Yamaguchi (Jpn) bt Nitchaon Jindapol (Tha) 21-12, 21-12.
Women's doubles: Chen Qingchen-Jia Yifan (Chn) bt Du Yue-Li Yinhui (Chn) 21-8, 21-19; Greysia Polii-Apriyani Rahayu bt Chow Mei Kuan-Lee Meng Yean (Mas) 21-18, 21-13; Mayu MatsumotoWakana Nagahara bt Misaki Matsutomo-Ayaka Takahashi (Jpn) 21-13, 21-15; Jongkolphan Kititharakul-Rawinda Prajongjai (Tha) bt Maiken Fruergaard-Sara Thygesen (Den) 21-19, 21-13; Della Destiara Haris-Rizki Amelia Pradipta (Ina) bt Chayanit Chaladchalam-Phataimas Muenwong (Tha) 21-16, 21-12; Shiho Tanaka-Koharu Yonemoto (Jpn) bt Huang Yaqiong-Yu Xiaohan (Chn) 21-18, 21-19; Anggia Shitta Awanda-Ni Ketut Mahadewi Istarani (Ina) bt Lee So-hee-Shin Sheung-chan (Kor) 21-15, 21-17; Yuki Fukushima-Sayaka Hirota (Jpn) bt Gabriela Stoeva-Stefani Stoeva (Bul) 21-10, 21-11.
Mixed doubles: Zheng Siwei-Huang Yaqiong (Chn) bt Hafiz Faizal-Gloria Emanuelle Widjaja (Ina) 21-15, 21-13; Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Ashwini Ponnapa (Ind) bt Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai Jemie (Mas) 20-22, 21-14, 21-6; Mathias Christiansen-Christinna Pedersen (Den) bt Dechapol Puavaranukroh-Sapsiree Taerattanachai (Tha) 21-15, 21-23, 21-10; Zhang Nan-Li Yinhui (Chn) bt Wang Chi-lin-Lee Chia-hsin (Tpe) 21-10, 21-15; Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying (Mas) bt Marcus Ellis-Lauren Smith (Eng) 21-16, 17-21, 21-18; Tang Chun Man-Tse Ying Suet (Hkg) bt Praveen Jordan-Melati Daeva Oktavianti (Ina) 21-15, 19-21, 26-24; Chris Adcock-Gabrielle Adcock (Eng) bt He Jiting-Du Yue (Chn) 21-16, 21-16; Wang Yilyu-Huang Dongping (Chn) bt Yuta Watanabe-Arisa Higashino (Jpn) 13-21, 21-17, 21-13.