PETALING JAYA: Zulfadli Zulkifli is the only one left to end Malaysia’s elusive chase for the boys’ singles title after Loh Wei Sheng crashed out in the first round of the World Junior Championships in Guadalajara, Mexico, on Wednesday.
The win, however, did not come easy for Zulfadli.
The non-Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) player overcame a shock defeat in the opening game to beat Japan’s Kento Momota 20-22, 21-19, 21-5 to make it to the last 16.
The joint third-fourth seeded Zulfadli can expect a tough time from Indonesia’s Riyanto Subagja next.
Zulfadli is hoping to be the second Malaysian to reach the final after Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin’s feat last year.
While Zulfadli is going strong, Asian junior runner-up Wei Sheng’s hopes of going beyond the opening round of the world junior meet ended when he lost 16-21, 19-21 to India’s H. S. Pranoy.
Malaysia are looking strong in the boys’ doubles and mixed doubles events, with two pairs each being a step away from the quarter-finals.
In the boys’ doubles, second seeds Ow Yao Han-Yew Hong Kheng will take on Huang Chai-Koh Jia Yi of Singapore in the third round today while Nelson Heg Wek Keat-Teo Ee Yi will face Japan’s Hiroki Takeuchi-Yoshinori Takeuchi.
Yao Han and Ee Yi also won their mixed doubles matches with Lai Pei Jing and Shevon Lai Jemie respectively.
Yao Han-Pei Jing will take on Wahyu Nayaka Arya Pankaryanira-Novalia Agustianti while Ee Yi-Shevon will face Kanako Konishi-Sayaka Takahashi of Japan next.
Matches involving Malaysians only
Boys’ singles first round: H.S. Prannoy (Ind) bt Loh Wei Sheng 21-16, 21-19; Zulfadli Zulkifli bt Kento Momota (Jpn) 20-22, 21-19, 21-5.
Boys’ doubles first round: Nelson Heg Weg Keat-Teo Ee Yi bt Ngo Yi Chye-Tan Kia Wee (Sin) 21-7, 21-5; Ow Yao Han-Yew Hong Kheng bt Chen Zhoufu-Liu Cheng (Chn) 21-17, 21-12.
Girls’ singles first round: Tzai Tzu Ying (Tpe) bt Yang Li Lian 19-21, 21-14, 21-11; Sonia Cheah bt Sandra-Maria Jensen (Den) 21-12, 21-15.
Girls’ doubles second round: Lai Pei Jing-Shevon Lai Jemie bt Lorena Duany Conroy-Katherine Winder Cochella (Per) 21-15, 21-12; Anastasia Chervyakova-Maria Korobeyinkova (Rus) bt Sonia Cheah- Yang Li Lian 21-9, 23-25, 21-18.
Mixed doubles second round: Teo Ee Yi-Shevon Lai Jemie bt Jones Rafli Jansen-Nurbeta Kwanrico (Ina) 21-16, 21-12; Ow Yao Han-Lai Pei Jing bt Fabian Holzer-Fabienne Deprez (Ger) 21-15, 21-16;
Third round: Teo Ee Yi-Shevon Lai Jemie bt Nikolaj Overgaard-Mette Poulsen (Den) 17-21, 21-15, 21-10; Ow Yao Han-Lai Pei Jing bt Russell Muns-Elisa Widowitz (Ned) 21-13, 21-9.