Liew’s back in form despite injury

  • Badminton
  • Wednesday, 08 Jan 2020

Show must go on: Liew Daren is carrying a back injury picked up two weeks ago.

Independent men’s singles shuttler Liew Daren is not about to let a lower back injury stop him from another strong outing at the Perodua Malaysian Masters at the Celcom Axiata Arena here.The 32-year-old Daren, who sustained the injury two weeks ago, had no problems qualifying for the main draw yesterday as he saw off India’s Dey Subhankar and China’s Zhao Junpeng in 33 and 35 minutes respectively in the qualifying rounds.

“Physically, I’m quite okay but it was in the second match (against Zhao) that I began to feel some strain on my lower back but I managed to play through the pain, ” said Daren.

“Also in the second match, I was a bit slow because I was afraid my back pain might flare up.”

The Malaysian Masters in January last year was Daren’s best outing since the World Championships in Nanjing, China, in 2018 where he earned a bronze with a semi-final outing.

Daren even pulled of a huge stunner when he took out China’s Shi Yuqi 21-12,16-21,21-11 in the quarter-finals before conceding a walkover in the semi-finals due to an ankle injury.

Since then, has suffered recurrent injuries that have hampered his performances, but he hopes to turn things around at this weekend’s Malaysian Masters.

He opens his campaign against Indonesia’s world No. 6 Jonatan Christie in the first round today. And with both players sharing a win in their previous two meetings, Daren fancies his chances against the rising star.

“I hope to get into the semi-finals again but much will depend on my back injury. It will be tough against Jonatan also, so hopefully my back won’t bother me so much and I can play my game.”

World No. 60 Soong Joo Ven, meanwhile, shrugged off last week’s news that he had been axed from the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) set-up by overcoming Hong Kong’s world No. 37 Vincent Wong 21-8,17-21,21-15 in the first round of the qualifying draw.

In the second round, though, he met his match in Japan’s upcoming youngster Koki Watanabe who is ranked 42nd in the world.

Joo Ven battled back from a game down but it was Watanabe who fought for the 21-16,16-21,21-11 win.

Meanwhile, mixed doubles pairs Low Hang Yee-Lim Chiew Sien, Man Wei Chong-Pearly Tan and women’s doubles pairs Anna Cheong-Chiew Sien and Pearly-M. Thinaah all qualified for the main draw.

Independent men’s doubles pairs Shia Chun Kang-Tan Boon Heong and Mohd Arif Abdul Latif-Nur Mohd Azriyn Ayub failed to make it past the qualifying rounds.

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