KUALA LUMPUR: if anyone had expected the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) Invitational Championships to be a routine affair, they were mistaken. There were surprises galore on the first day.
A third independent, reigning national champion Soong Joo Ven, lost to junior Ng Tze Yong and had to come from behind to beat Leong Jun Hao, who qualified from Division Two, 21-11,13-21,27-25.
The 25-year-old Joo Ven was on the brink of his second defeat of the day but staged a remarkable comeback to beat Jun Hao to keep his hopes of a Thomas Cup call-up alive.
Joo Ven, who was 11-17 down, caught up to win 27-25 after his tame 18-21,12-21 defeat by Tze Yong.
Two straight defeats could have seriously jeopardised national No. 3 Joo Ven's chances of finishing in the top two in the round-robin stage to qualify for Sunday's final.
"The win was very important for me. I didn't play well against Tze Yong match and am quite upset about it," said Joo Ven.
The Joo Ven-Jun Hao battle was a rematch of last year's National Championships final in Ipoh. Then, Jun Hao had retired in the second game through a hip injury, giving Joo Ven the national crown.
Jun Hao still had reason to be happy. The 21-year-old former Asian junior champion had earlier upset national No.2 Liew Daren 15-21,21-14,21-16 in a thrilling encounter.
"The win against Daren has given me a lot of confidence," said Jun Hao.
"It was my goal coming into this week not only to take the game to my seniors, but to try and beat them.
"Against Joo Ven, I was too eager and got carried away. With one win from two matches, I am on track to finish in the top four.
The biggest upset of the day came in the men's doubles event when unheralded youngsters Chang Yee Jun-Chai Wei Jie upstaged V Shem-Wee Kiong 16-21,21-12,23-21 in Group B.
V Shem-Wee Kiong, however, are still in the running, having beaten Chen Tang Jie-Nur Firdaus Azman 21-8,21-19.
Men's singles: Cheam June Wei bt Adil Sholeh Ali Sadikin 21-18,21-16; Ng Tze Yong bt Soong Joo Ven 21-18,21-12; Leong Jun Hao bt Liew Daren 15-21,21-14,21-16; Liew Daren bt Ng Tze Yong 21-19,21-14; Soong Joo Ven bt Leong Jun Hao 21-11,13-21,27-25; Lee Zii Jia bt Lim Chong King 21-14,21-9; Cheam June Wei bt Lim Chong King 21-9,21-19.
Group A: Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik bt Choong Hon Jian-Loo Bing Kun 21-17,18-21,21-13; Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi bt Choong Hon Jian-Loo Bing Kun 21-16,21-16; Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik bt Ooi Jhy Dar-Yap Roy King 21-11,21-16; Ooi Jhy Dar-Yap Roy King bt Ching Kai Feng-Lwi Sheng Hao 21-12,21-18.
Group B: Chang Yee Jun-Chia Wei Jie bt Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong 16-21,21-12,23-21; Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin Rumsani bt Chang Yee-Jun-Chia Wei Jie 21-19,21-12; Low Hang Yee-Ng Eng Cheong BT Chen Tang Jie-Mohd Nurfirdaus Azman 21-16, 21-14; Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong bt Chen Tang Jie- Mohd Nurfirdaus Azman 21-8,21-19;
Women's singles: Eoon Qi Xuan bt Lee Ying Ying 21-15,21-9; Soniia Cheah bt K. Letshanaa 21-13,21-11.
Women's doubles: Pearly Tan-M. Thinaah bt Teoh Mei Xing-Yap Ling 21-12,22-20; Chow Mei Kuan-Lee Meng Yean bt Anna Cheong-Toh Ee Wei 21-16,21-11.
Mixed doubles: Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying bt Hoo Pang Ron-Cheah Yee See 21-15, 21-15; Hoo Pang Ron-Cheah Yee See bt Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai Jemie 13-21,6-4, ret; Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying bt Chen Tang Jie-Peck Yen Wei 21-18,21-16; Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing bt Chen Tang Jie-Peck Yen Wei 23-21,21-16.
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