PETALING JAYA: Ng Tze Yong and Leong Jun Hao defied the odds to book their places in the men’s singles quarter-finals of the Thailand Open yesterday as three mixed doubles pairs fell by the wayside.
World No. 24 Tze Yong stunned Taiwan’s world No. 7 Chou Tien-chen 23-21, 23-21 in the second round while Jun Hao claimed a hard-fought 20-22, 21-13, 21-19 win over Frenchman Christo Popov at the Huamak Indoor Stadium in Bangkok.
Tze Yong had come up short against the experienced Tien-chen in their past two meetings but played brilliantly and stayed cool under pressure to come away with the narrow win.
The 23-year-old staged a remarkable comeback from 10-17 down and saved three game points to snatch the opening game.
A clearly stunned Tien-chen tried to mount a fightback in the second game.
The Taiwanese led 11-7 and 15-10 but Tze Yong again clawed back to 15-15.
The youngster then had two opportunities to win the match at 20-18 but Tien-chen saved both the match points.
Tze Yong though was not to be denied and displayed great composure to come away with the win.
“I played well and also had a bit of luck as I had to come from behind in both the games,” said Tze Yong.
“The win was not just down to using the right strategy but I had to be brave to keep fighting. I also needed to be more confident.”
He will next face Hong Kong’s Lee Cheuk Yiu for a place in the last four.
Tze Yong will be out for revenge after losing to Cheuk Yiu in their last meeting at the Asian Championships in April.
“I want to keep doing well here and will discuss with my coaches on how best to handle my next opponent,” said Tze Yong.
Jun Hao said, “It was a really tough match for me. I kept on focusing on each point and I’m happy to win,” said Jun Hao who will take on India’s Lakshya Sen next.
Meanwhile, it was disappointment in the mixed doubles when Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai Jemie, Chen Tang Jie-Toh Ee Wei and Chan Peng Soon-Cheah Yee See all bowed out.
Independent pair Soon Huat-Shevon fell 13-21, 17-21 to Hong Kong’s Tang Chun Man-Tse Ying Suet while Peng Soon-Yee See lost out by the same score to South Korea’s Kim Won-ho-Jeong Na-eun.
Tang Jie-Ee Wei went down fighting 23-21, 17-21, 11-21 to Japan’s Yuki Kaneko-Misaki Matsutomo.