Ee Wei game for stiffer challenge in Austria after Slovenia success

Clicking fast: Choong Hon Jian and Toh Ee Wei (left) were only paired in February.

PETALING JAYA: High-flying young mixed pair Choong Hon Jian-Toh Ee Wei have refused to get carried away by the prospect of winning their third straight title at the Austrian Open in Graz.

Only paired up in February, Hon Jian-Ee Wei have gotten off to the best possible start by triumphing in the sixth-tier Polish Open in March and seventh-tier Slovenian International Series last week.

They are still unbeaten after completing 10 matches and have dropped just a game to date.

But Ee Wei, 20, knows they face a stiffer challenge this time around with stronger rivals for company this week in another seventh-tier meet.

They may have to deal with players like world No. 67 William Villeger-Sharone Bauer of France, No. 76 Patrick Scheiel-Franziska Volkmann of Germany, No. 84 Iben Bergstein-Emil Lauritzen of Denmark and No. 85 Jona Van Nieuwkerke-Lise Jaques of Belgium.

These top four seeded pairs were not in Slovenia last week as they were competing in the fourth-tier Spain Masters.

However, Ee Wei is thrilled to be taking on tougher opponents, believing that it can only help them raise their game up a notch.

“We’re excited to play in the Austrian Open because there are way stronger opponents, ” said Ee Wei in a video uploaded on the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) Facebook page.

“Our target is to take it match by match. We’re not thinking too far ahead, there’s no pressure at all as we’re unseeded. The key is to win our first match, which is not going to be easy.”

Hon Jian-Ee Wei will have a tough opening hurdle to overcome as they face world No. 102 and eighth seeds Philip Birker-Katharina Hockmeir of Austria today.

Should they advance, their next round will be against a qualifier and a possible last-eight encounter against second seeds Scheiel-Volkmann.

Also in the same half are Bergstein-Lauritzen and sixth seeds, Poland’s Pavel Smilowski-Wiktoria Adamek, whom Hon Jian-Ee Wei defeated in the second round in Slovenia last week.

Hon Jian-Ee Wei’s triumph in Slovenia saw them rise 81 rungs to No. 182 in the latest world ranking released on Tuesday.

A further success in Austria would see them break into the top 140.

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