PETALING JAYA: You can’t keep Justin Hoh down for long.
The fast-rising 16-year-old shuttler bounced back from a shocking opening defeat to chalk up three successive wins which includes toppling the top two seeds – Jacky Kok and Mohd Fazriq Razif – in the 100PLUS National Junior Ranking Challenge yesterday.
Justin edged Jacky 22-20,22-20 before outclassing doubles partner Fazriq 21-18,21-9 to put his top-three target back on track in the Group A contest.
It was a perfect response from the third seed who was stunned by unheralded Chua Kim Sheng 22-20,12-21,17-21 and struggled to beat V. Poopathi 21-19,22-20 on Monday.
“I’m happy to beat Jacky for the second time.
“I also came out tops in the semi-finals of the National Under-18 Championships earlier in Feb-ruary, ” said Justin, who is ranked 10th in the world junior rankings.
“I think I got lucky. Jacky actually played very well throughout the match but fumbled when the match went to 20-20.
“I didn’t have the best starts on Monday but it didn’t really affect me. In fact, the first two matches actually exposed my shortcomings which I was able to fix in my next matches.”
With three wins in the bag and second spot in the 10-player standings, Justin believes he needs three more wins from five matches to be in the top-three.
The three best finishers at the end of the round-robin stage will take on selected opponents from the senior back-up squad from Nov 3-6 at the Academy Badminton Malaysia.
“Six (wins) should be a good number, but I will try to score as many wins as I can, just to be safe, ” said the German Junior Open semi-finalist.
“However, I’m looking beyond the top-three target. I want to make the cut this week and hopefully get a win against the seniors.”
Fifth-seed Ong Zhen Yi currently leads the competition after remaining unbeaten after four matches on the first-two days.
However, he has yet to face any of the top four seeds that include fourth-ranked and reigning National Under-18 champion Ong Ken Yon.
Zhen Yi is set to face his first real test today when he takes on Jacky and Fazriq.
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