Tireless Jacky game for more grind as he eyes final flourish

Major improvement: Jacky Kok finished runner-up at the Estonian International before capturing the Swedish Open for his first senior title.

PETALING JAYA: Up-and-coming singles shuttler Jacky Kok will seek to end his three-tournament stint in Europe with a flourish by bidding to enter yet another final when the Ukraine Open begins in Kiev today.

The 19-year-old has been going great guns in the last two weeks, first finishing runner-up at the Estonian International before going one better to capture the Swedish Open for his first senior title.

The two decent results catapulted him to No. 272 in the world rankings, up 241 rungs from where he was at the start of the year.

Jacky has a good chance to break into the top 200 if he can replicate the results he enjoyed over the past two weeks.

However, Jacky is under no illusion that success will come easy as he’s ready to grind once more right from the qualifiers.

Despite having to overcome three qualifying matches to reach the main draw, Jacky is not complaining.

“I won’t say it’s tiring (on playing more matches), I’m taking it very positively and seeing it as a big gain in fact,” said Jacky, who formerly ranked third in the world junior rankings.

“The more matches I get, the better it is because it helps me to improve both mentally and physically. Overall, my performance has been alright so far. But I want to keep improving and become better and better.”

Despite the flying start to this year, Jacky is keeping his feet firmly on the ground.

Asked if he has any big goal,” he said: “Yes, I have a big dream. But it’s also important for me to be realistic at the same time.

“For now, I just want to focus on the upcoming tournaments, win more matches, and hopefully titles too so that I can collect as many ranking points as possible.

“The immediate goal is just to qualify for bigger tournaments.”

Besides Jacky, the other back-up singles shuttlers hoping to impress in the last stop are Ong Ken Yon and Lee Shun Yang.

Ken Yon and Shun Yang have plenty to prove after failing to produce commendable results in Estonia and Sweden.

Ken Yon could only muster a last-16 appearance in Estonia as his best outing while Shun Yang failed to get past both his main draw opening hurdles.

In the men’s doubles, Chia Wei Jie-Low Hang Yee and Chang Yee Jun-Yap Roy King will want to build on their runner-up and semi-final finishes in Sweden last week.

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