The 20-year-old is eager to return to winning ways after his disappointing first-round defeat to South Korea’s Ko Young-jo at the Melbourne Open last month. It was a shocking defeat as Darren was the third seed in the tournament.
He also crashed out in the New Zealand International Classic in June after losing in the second round to Japan’s Ryunosuke Tsukue.
Darren plays Brazilian Guilherme Melo in the first round in China and is likely to face top seed and world No. 80 Carlos Ribadas of Spain in the quarter-finals.
“I was not at my best in Melbourne because I hadn’t played in any PSA (Professional Squash Association) tournaments for a while and I underestimated my opponent,” said Darren, who is ranked 215 in the world.
“I can get through the first round in China but the toughest challenge will be against Carlos. He is an experienced player.
“I remember watching him play at the Malaysian Open when I was much younger but now I’m a professional. It’s my turn to start beating these higher ranked players.
“I’m close to their level. I gave Ivan Yuen, who is a top 50 player, a good fight in the semi-finals of the National Championships in July. If I play my game and stay mentally strong, I can get past Carlos and possibly pull off a strong finish in China.”
The other Malaysians are Ryan Pasqual, Wee Ming Hock and Elvinn Keo (men) and Chan Yiwen, Yee Xin Ying (women).
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