PETALING JAYA: Former Asian junior champion Leong Jun Hao (pic) made a disappointing first-round exit in the Spain Masters after squandering three match points.
The 21-year-old lost 21-16,16-21,21-23 to world No. 59 Max Weisskirchen of Germany following a 74-minute battle in Huelva yesterday.
He was on the brink of victory thrice at 20-18,20-19 and 21-20, but capitalised on none of the chances.
Weisskirchen may be a runner-up to Anders Antonsen of Denmark in the 2015 European Junior Championships but still, the world No. 135 Jun Hao should be kicking himself for wasting a rare World Tour appearance count.
Teammate Cheam June Wei, meanwhile, was in his element as he brushed aside Denmark’s Jeppe Bruun 21-9,21-11 to set up a second round encounter against Sweden’s Felix Burestedt.
Malaysia’s challenge in the men’s doubles came to an end with the early elimination of sole representatives Chang Yee Jun-Chia Wei Jie on Tuesday.
Yee Jung-Wei Jie gave fourth seeds Christo Popov-Toma Junior Popov of France a run for their money before going down 20-22,21-23 in 47 minutes.
Meanwhile, national men’s singles head coach Hendrawan explained why he withdrew back-up shuttlers Aidil Sholeh Ali Sadikin and Lim Chong King from the Spain Masters.
He said both were not in good conditions and in fact, most of the singles players had been affected by the Covid-19 outbreak at the Academy Badminton Malaysia few weeks ago.
“Not all the men’s singles players were sent for the Spain Masters as some of them had not been in 100% conditions following the Covid-19 outbreak at the training camp a few weeks ago, ” explained Hendrawan in the malaysiabadmintonlovers Instagram account.
“We will get Aidil and Chong King ready for the Spanish International from June 16-19. We still have some time to prepare them and get the boys to bring back good results.”
Hendrawan revealed that Aidil was one of the 15 unfortunate players infected by Covid-19 during last month’s outbreak.
“Aidil was one of those who tested positive for Covid-19, so at that point, we didn’t know his fitness level, ” said Hendrawan.
“After Aidil completed his quarantine, he went back home to self-isolate for another week. He eventually opted to rest at home knowing that he wasn’t sure whether he could get into the tournament or not at that time.”
Aidil and Chong King last played at the Polish Open in March.