Hongyang aims to be next star after Lin Dan, Chen Long

Over to you: China’s Weng Hongyang returning a shot to Indonesia’s Anthony Ginting during the second-round match.

LEFT-HANDED Weng Hongyang believes that Olympics gold medallists Lin Dan and Chen Long have played a crucial role in the development of his sports journey.

The world No. 34 Hongyang, who represented the same state as Lin Dan and Chen Long, pulled off a major upset when he defeated Indonesian and world No. 2 Anthony Ginting 21-19, 21-15 in the second round of Malaysian Masters at the Axiata Arena in Bukit Jalil yesterday.

Earlier, Hongyang came from behind to outplay Japan’s world No. 30 Kento Momota 13-21, 23-21, 21-16 to clear his first hurdle on Wednesday.

It was Hongyang’s best performance in recent times since winning his first Badminton World Federation (BWF) tour title at the Korean Open in April last year.

“I went into the game as an underdog but I stayed resilient throughout the match and communicated effectively with my coach,” said Hongyang, who suffered first-round exits in five of six tournaments this year.

“I couldn’t bring out my best shots at the start of the match, but luckily, I adjusted and strengthened my defence.

“Upsetting two top players in a row has given me more confidence on the court.”

Hongyang was compared with Lin Dan after winning the Korean title as they are both left-handed players.

“I think it is better to be myself and compare less with Lin Dan or Chen Long,” said Hongyang.

“Lin Dan is my idol while Chen Long is my senior. Chen Long and I were part of the Fujian squad and he has contributed a lot to the men’s singles department.

“As for Lin Dan, we have communicated and exchanged opinions about this sport on WeChat.

“I will also ask his suggestions and opinions before or during competitions.”

Hongyang will face another uphill battle as he faces Hong Kong’s Angus Ng Ka Long in the quarter-finals today.

Angus defeated Lakshya Sen of India 21-14, 21-19 in another second-round match.

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