PETALING JAYA: National men’s singles shuttler Ng Tze Yong could soon overtake the country’s No. 1 Lee Zii Jia in the world rankings if his stunning victory over Hong Kong’s Angus Ng Ka Long in the second round of the Korean Open is anything to go by.
A day after Zii Jia had disappointingly lost to Angus in three close games, Tze Yong showed his compatriot how it was done by claiming a 21-18, 21-17 win at the Jinnam Stadium in Yeosu yesterday.
Tze Yong, who is currently ranked No. 23 in the world, played brilliantly and boldly to outclass his world No. 14 opponent.
It was also sweet revenge for the 23-year-old after he had lost to Angus in the Thailand Masters in January.
With the win, Tze Yong leads Angus 2-1 in their head-to-head record.
Tze Yong had also beaten Angus in the Singapore Open last year.
The former has now reached his fifth quarter-finals in World Tour competitions this year.
He had also made the last eight in the Thailand Masters, All-England, Swiss Open and Thailand Open.
“I feel I played well today (yesterday),” said Tze Yong after beating Angus.
“I didn’t feel much pressure during the match. I had a month to train before this tournament and I prepared well.
“I don’t want to think too much about my next opponent but I just want to continue doing well.”
Tze Yong will now seek a breakthrough by making it to the last four.
Standing in his way in the quarter-finals is Singapore’s 2021 world champion Loh Kean Yew.
Although Tze Yong will start as the underdog, he does hold a slender advantage in the head-to-head record as he scored a sensational upset win over world No. 8 Kean Yew en route to capturing a silver medal in the Birmingham Commonwealth Games last August.
While Tze Yong continues to progress on the world stage, Zii Jia had dropped to No. 17 in the latest rankings after his fifth straight early-round defeat in individual tournaments.
The 25-year-old faces being overtaken by Tze Yong in the rankings if he does not improve.
Meanwhile, in the women’s singles, independent player S. Kisona gave a good account of herself before going down 22-20, 14-21, 14-21 to Japan’s world No. 1 Akane Yamaguchi.
K. Letshanaa, who was the last representative in the event for Malaysia, also lost out 15-21, 5-21 to Taiwan’s world No. 4 Tai Tzu-ying.