Only two Malaysian pairs left in ABC championship

KUALA LUMPUR: Only two Malaysian pairs were left standing after the second day’s action in the Asian Badminton Championships (ABC) in Suwon, South Korea, yesterday.

The men’s pair of Hoon Thien How-Lin Woon Fui battled for 61 minutes to beat South Koreans Chung Eui-seok-Kwon Yi-goo 21-13, 18-21, 21-13 to reach the quarter-finals. They will take on China juniors Chai Biao-Liu Xiaolong for a place in the semi-finals.

In the mixed doubles, Chan Peng Soon-Sabrina Chong advanced with an 21-17, 11-21, 21-18 win over India’s V. Diju-Jwala Gutta.

However, the other senior-junior men’s pair of Ong Soon Hock-Khoo Chung Chiat failed to stay alive, going down 20-22, 14-21 to All-England runners-up Hwang Ji-man-Han Sang-hoon in the second round yesterday.

Thien How was pleased to reach the quarter-finals for the second time with Woon Fui.

“We are happy to get past two Korean pairs in their own backyard. Woon Fui and I have made it to the last eight again and we hope to go at least one better,” said Thien How in a telephone interview.

The Thien How-Woon Fui combination made their debut at the India Open in Hyderabad two weeks ago and they were beaten in the quarter-finals.

In the ABC opening round on Wednesday, the duo got off to an excellent start — beating German Open champions Lee Yong-dae-Shin Baek-cheol.

“We have not played against the Chinese pair. There is a chance for us to go far but we do not want to put undue pressure on ourselves. We are the only Malaysians left in the men’s doubles and we will stay focused,”

For Peng Soon-Sabrina, they will find the going tough today in a quarter-final match against South Koreans Yoo Yeon-seong-Kim Min-jung.

Two other Malaysian mixed doubles pairs — Mohd Razif Abdul Latif-Woon Khe Wei and Lim Khim Wah-Ng Poau Leng — failed to make an impression in their second-round defeats yesterday.

Malaysia’s challenge in the singles were wiped out after the defeats of Kuan Beng Hong, Julia Wong and Wong Mew Choo yesterday.

Beng Hong went down 16-21, 21-10, 13-21 to China’s Bao Chunlai in a third round match to complete a disappointing outing for Malaysian men’s singles players in a tournament that did not feature the top Asian players in the world.

A day ago, Malaysia’s Mohd Hafiz Hashim went down to China’s Chen Long in the second round while four back-up players — Liew Daren, Tan Chun Seang, Mohd Arif Abdul Latif and Chong Wei Feng — fell like a deck of cards in the opening round.

In the women’s singles, Julia and Mew Choo were beaten by formidable Chinese opponents in the third round. Julia lost 9-21, 16-21 to All-England champion Wang Yihan while Mew Choo gave Wang Lin a good fight before bowing out 21-23, 16-21 in a 46-minute battle.

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