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Liew strengthens position in Guangzhou Asian Games


ODENSE: Malaysia’s Liew Daren has put himself in a good position to be considered to play in the third singles slot in the men’s team competition at the Guangzhou Asian Games.

In the Denmark Open at the Odense Sports Park yesterday, Daren came back from a game down to beat a higher ranked Dicky Palyama of Holland 19-21, 21-14, 21-10 in a 53-minute first-round match.

But the 23-year-old, who came through from the qualifying tournament, is not thinking about the prospects on getting to play in the Asiad.

“I am delighted to be included in the team for the Asian Games but I still want to make a strong impression in convincing the selectors on my ability to play well,” said Daren, who was a semi-finalist in the recent Indonesia Open Grand Prix Gold tournament.

“I will leave it to them to decide on the best strategy for the team. I am comfortable playing with the underdog tag without the unnecessary pressure.”

In the match against Palyama, Daren admitted that he committed several errors towards the closing stage of the first game and allowed his world No. 21 opponent to win it.

“I cut my right palm in going down to retrieve a shot in the second round qualifying match against Wang Zhengming (which he won 21-16, 11-21, 21-18 on Tuesday) and I did not want to use it as an excuse for not playing well,” said Daren, who is ranked 89th in the world.

“I felt that I had a chance to keep my hopes alive and continue my journey in the tournament. I just pulled my socks up and I did not want to repeat the same mistakes in following two games against Palyama.”

Daren will be play against the winner of the match between Hong Kong’s Hu Yun and India’s Anand Chetan for a place in the quarter-finals.

Daren said he is eager to reverse the outcome against the challenger coming through.

“In the past, I have lost to both of them on two occasions each. Both matches against Chetan went down to the wire in three games while the last meeting with Hu Yun was also decided over rubber games. It will be a refreshing change to score a win tomorrow (today),” Daren recalled.

The other Malaysian in the men’s singles competition, Chan Kwong Beng, who is also in the team for the Asian Games, failed to get past the qualifying rounds. He was beaten 11-21, 14-21 by Denmark’s Emil Vind in a second-round match.

In the men’s doubles, the newly-forged partnership of Mohd Fairuzizuan Tazari-Ong Soon Hock got off to a winning start, beating Taiwanese Chen Chung Jen-Lin Yen Jui 21-12, 21-10 in 23 minutes.

Meanwhile, top seeded Dane and 2008 champion Peter Gade Christensen has opted to withdraw from the tournament because a lower back injury.

“The injury has restricted my movement and it is wise not to risk aggravating it,” he said.

“I will leave for home tomorrow and continue to seek treatment. Hopefully, I will be ready for the next tournament (French Open) next week.”

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