Wong makes an early exit


By NIUH JIT ENG

PETALING JAYA The All-England badminton championships lost its number two seed in the men's singles when Wong Choong Hann crashed out in the second round to Malaysian teammate Yong Hock Kin at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham yesterday. 

Despite being 45 rungs below Choong Hann's world number two ranking, the 29-year-old Hock Kin pulled off a 40-minute upset win in straight games, winning 15-9, 15-5. 

Hock Kin, who came out of retirement last year, will take on Japan's Hidetaka Yamada next for a place in the quarter-finals. 

Choong Hann, the China Open champion, was crestfallen. “I expected myself to go far in this tournament based on my performance at the China Open. It's just disappointing to go out (of the All-England) so early. 

“It's unfortunate that I met Hock Kin so early in the tournament. We know each other's game so well and he was able to read all my moves... whatever I tried, he countered,” added the 25-year-old.  

“I must now forget about the loss, pick myself up and concentrate on the Swiss Open (which will begin next weekend).”  

However, it was not all gloom for the Malaysian camp as three others - Lee Tsuen Seng and the Hashim brothers, Roslin and Hafiz - also booked their places in the third round. 

Tsuen Seng halted the giant-killing run of Holland's Dicky Palyama with a 15-10, 15-8 win to set up a clash with the only Indonesian left in the singles fray, Marleve Mainaky. Palyama, an Indonesian-born player, had beaten former two-time All-England finalist Taufik Hidayat in the first round. 

Another former Indonesian was also shown the exit yesterday by Roslin. He beat Ronald Susilo, now of Singapore 17-14, 15-13. 

Roslin, a former world number one, now faces Shon Seung-mo of South Korea while his brother Hafiz, a 15-8, 15-11 winner over Japan's Shoji Sato, will meet sixth seeded Anders Boesen of Denmark.  

If Hafiz advances, another all-Malaysian encounter in the quarter-finals is on the cards with Hock Kin tipped to overcome his Japanese foe.  

“Despite trailing 8-14 in the first game, I did not panic and that was the key to my victory,” said Roslin, who is back in action after his quarter-final appearance in the Danish Open last October.  

“The win has given me added confidence of beating Seung-mo. I beat him two years ago and although he has improved, I believe I can beat him again,” added Roslin, who is now ranked 21 in the world.  

While Indonesia were on a downward spiral, another badminton powerhouse, China, sent four representatives into the third round.  

Top seed Chen Hong led the charge but the world number one needed 91 minutes to subdue Hong Kong's Ng Wei 15-17, 15-7, 15-11 while Bao Chunlai, his third round opponent, also recovered from one game down before edging 1999 champion Peter Gade Christensen of Denmark 9-15, 15-13, 15-11. 

Chen Yu, who beat compatriot Chen Gang 15-5, 15-5, will take on local hope Aamir Ghaffar next while third seeded Xia Xuanze continued his march by beating Singapore's former Indonesian Indra Wijaya 15- 2, 15-7.  

The world number three will face South Korean Lee Huyn-il who earlier upset 10th seed Lin Dan of China.  

Meanwhile, Malaysia's challenge in the men's doubles dwindled to two pairs with Chang Kim Wai-Hong Chieng Hun losing their first round tie 4-15, 15-8, 3-15 against Luluk Hadiyanto-Alvent Yulianto of Indonesia. 

Tan Fook-Wan Wah proved too strong for the Spanish pair of Jose Antonio Crespo-Sergio Llopis Solis in yesterday’s second round, winning 15-2, 15-2 to set up a third round clash with Indonesians Halim Haryanto and Trikus Haryanto. 

It was a sad day for second seeds Chan Chong Ming-Chew Choon Eng, who received a first round bye on Wednesday. 

They took a 15-2, 2-0 lead against Russia’s Evgenij Isakov-Andrej Zholobov yesterday but were forced to retire due to injury.

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