Justin bounces back in style after early loss

  • Badminton
  • Wednesday, 14 Oct 2020

Giant-killer: Justin Hoh retrieves a shot in his match against Jacky Kok at the Juara Stadium.

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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