PETALING JAYA: It is the first time that shuttler Mohd Arif Abdul Latif is spending Hari Raya outside the country.
And the youngster showed his determination to make good his sacrifice by sending 13th seed Eric Pang of Holland packing in the first round of the Macau Open at the Multisport Pavilion yesterday.
The unseeded Arif won the match 21-15, 21-15 and will play against Wong Wing Ki of Hong Kong today. If he advances, Arif can expect to face either Indonesian Alamsyah Yunus or fellow Malaysian Lok Chong Chieh for a place in the quarter-finals.
Arif, who was in the team for the Thomas Cup Finals in May, is determined to make a breakthrough in his badminton career this week.
“I have never gone past the early rounds before. My best was reaching the last 16 in the Taiwan Open last month,” he said in a telephone interview yesterday.
“An opportunity is there for me to qualify for the quarter-finals here and I hope to nail it. I will not get to celebrate Hari Raya at home and I hope to stay here as long as possible.”
Lee Chong Wei reached the second round easily and he was joined by nine other Malaysians. He took only 12 minutes to crush Mou Chi Keong of Macau 21-2, 21-3.
In the absence of the top Chinese players, Chong Wei stands a bright chance to win his first title as the reigning world number one.
Former Olympic champion Taufik Hidayat, who is seeded fourth, may be the only one who could stop Chong Wei from bagging his fourth international title of the year.
Taufik began his campaign by beating Andrei Babad of the Philippines 21-13, 21-7 and is headed for a semi-final showdown with Malaysian veteran Wong Choong Hann.
Choong Hann, who ended Taufik’s reign as Olympic champion in the first round in Beijing last month, chalked up a 21-7, 21-14 win over Macau’s Chan Yun Lung.
The only Malaysian men’s singles casualty in the opening round was national back-up squad’s Tan Chun Seang, who was beaten 21-19, 18-21, 16-21 by eighth seed Chan Yan Kit of Hong Kong.
* Matches involving Malaysians
Men’s singles (first round): Lee Chong Wei bt Mou Chi Keong (Mac) 21-2, 21-3; Daren Liew w.o. Simon Santoso (Ina); Wong Choong Hann bt Chan Yun Lung (Mac) 21-7, 21-14; Chen Long (Chn) w.o. Beryno Wong; Chan Yan Kit (Hkg) bt Tan Chun Seang 19-21, 21-18, 21-16; Mohd Arif Abdul Latif bt Eric Pang 21-15, 21-15; Chong Wei Feng bt Ip Tang Fai (Mac) 21-10, 21-8; Ng Man Chon (Mac) w.o. Mohd Hafiz Hashim; Chan Kwong Beng bt Albertino Filipe Jorge (Mac) 21-8, 21-5; Kuan Beng Hong bt Leong Kin Fai (Mac) 21-15, 21-4; Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin bt Kou Ka Seng (Mac) 21-7, 21-5; Kuan Kam Chung bt Casey Alistair (Sco) 21-16, 21-8; Lok Chong Chieh bt Smola Clemens (Aut) 21-6, 21-8.
Women’s doubles (first round): Amelia Anscelly-Ooi Yu Hang w.o. Lita Nurlita-Endang Nursugianti (Ina); Ng Hui Lin-Woon Khe Wei bt Chan Tsz Ka-Tse Ying Suet (Hkg) 19-21, 23-21, 21-19; Lim Yin Loo-Ng Poau Leng bt Fung Ying-Yeung Nga Ting (Hkg) 21-12, 21-6; Vivian Hoo-Sannatasah Saniru bt Lei Sao Chi-Mou Chon Leng (Mac) 21-6, 21-5.
Men’s doubles (qualifying round): Kuan Kam Chung-Iskandar Zulkarnain bt Cheng Ching-hung-Hsu Shao-wen (Tpe) 21-13, 21-13.