PETALING JAYA: Leong Jun Hao (pic) is out to build on his encouraging showing in the Thailand Open in Bangkok.
The national men’s singles shuttler came through the qualifying rounds before seeing his good run ended by India’s 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games gold medallist Lakshya Sen in the quarter-finals on Friday.
Despite the 19-21, 11-21 defeat to world No. 23 Lakshya, it was still one of Jun Hao’s best performances in World Tour competitions this year.
The 23-year-old had also reached the last eight in the Orleans Masters in France in April.
“Overall, I’m quite satisfied with my performance in Bangkok,” said Jun Hao, who had stunned Thailand’s world No. 30 Sitthikom Thammasin and Frenchman Christo Popov (No. 36) en route to the quarter-finals.
“I started quite well in the quarter-finals but at the end of the first game, my opponent suddenly changed his playing style and I missed the opportunity to win.
“In the second game, I was playing with the wind and found it quite hard.
“I tried to use more attacking shots but it didn’t work.
“Moving forward, I need to improve on my shots in longer rallies.”
Jun Hao will next switch his focus to the Taiwan Open from June 20-25 in Taipei.
Meanwhile, fellow national player Ng Tze Yong, who had also been eliminated in the quarter-finals, was left to rue a lack of focus that he felt had contributed to his 19-21, 21-23 defeat to Hong Kong’s world No. 17 Lee Cheuk Yiu.
World No. 24 Tze Yong was leading 11-6 and 11-5 in the first and second games respectively but could not hold on and ended up losing narrowly.
“My performance was OK but I feel that I didn’t focus well enough when I was leading,” lamented Tze Yong.
“I need to do better in my next tournament.”
The 23-year-old will have to pick himself up again quickly for the Singapore Open, which starts on Tuesday.
Tze Yong will open his campaign against Ireland’s world No. 31 Nhat Nguyen.