It’s still not easy for Tien-chen despite absence of top rivals


Taiwan's Chou Tien Chen makes a return against India's Sameer Verma during the Malaysian Masters 2022 at Axiata Arena in Bukit Jalil, July 6, 2022. - GLENN GUAN/The Star

THE Malaysian Masters might be missing some big names like Denmark ace Viktor Axelsen and home favourite Lee Zii Jia but it has not made it any easier for Taiwan’s Chou Tien-chen.

The world No. 4 struggled in his match against India’s Sameer Verma (No. 29) in the first round and needed three games to overcome his rival yesterday.

Tien-chen admitted that he was far from his best in the 12-21, 21-12, 21-14 win in 52 minutes and needed to do more to be able to challenge for the title.

“It will not be easy to win the title even if there is no Axelsen or Zii Jia. I still need to play my best badminton in every match. As you saw in my opening match, it was hard for me. I struggled a bit to control the shuttle in the first game,” explained Tien-chen.

“The other players in the competition are also really good. You really need to focus on your match to win even if you are a top 10 player,” he added.

The Taiwanese also acknowledged that his form had suffered a little recently.

After finishing runners-up to Axelsen in the Indonesian Masters last month, Tien-chen was surprisingly eliminated in the second round of both the Indonesian and Malaysian Opens by Hong Kong’s Lee Cheuk Yiu (No. 15) and India’s H.S. Prannoy (No. 19) respectively.

“My form has not been so good in the past two tournaments. I need to raise my game fast,” said Tien-chen, who is trying to end a four-year World Tour title drought.

He last won a title in 2018 when he captured the German Open.

He will next take on local hope Ng Tze Yong for a place in the quarter-finals.

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Malaysian Masters , Taiwan , Chou Tien-chen

   

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