JOHOR BARU: It was a total eclipse of the Malaysians as all 20 paddlers failed to get past the first round of the US$90,000 Volkswagen Malaysian Open ITTF Pro-Tour at the Johor Baru City Council Indoor Stadium yesterday.
The Malaysians fell like tenpins before the onslaught of the Europeans and the Chinese, who even saw their rising star Hao Shuai scalp third-fourth seed Jens Lundqvist of Sweden in the biggest upset of the day.
Hao Shuai won 11-8, 11-5, 11-9, 12-10 to move into the quarter-finals where he will be up against Japan's Koji Matsushita. The Japanese beat Thailand's Phakphoom Sangsuansin 11-5, 11-6, 11-3, 11-4 in the second round.
There was also plenty of action in the men's second round match between second-seeded Jean Michel Saive of Belgium and Norway's Geir Erlandsen.
Play was stopped a number of times as Saive questioned the umpire for faulting his service. Each time, he had to be pacified by chief referee Tan Kheng Hong of Malaysia and can consider himself lucky to have escaped a warning or even a disqualification for kicking the sideboards.
However, the Belgian came back from a set down to win 7-11, 11-3, 11-2, 11-9, 11-3.
Meanwhile, top seed Kong Ling Hui of China also comfortably marched into the quarter-finals after two impressive wins. In the first round, the Chinese ace made short work of Malaysian qualifier Remy Yaccob 11-7, 11-6, 11-3, 11-4 and followed it with a 11-6, 8-11, 11-5, 11-8, 11-5 win over Austria's Robert Gardos in the second round.