First round hurdles for Zii Jia, Daren and Soniia in Basel

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A spate of byes in the first round will see all three Malaysian mixed doubles pairs advance to the second round in the 25th edition of this year’s World Championships in Basel, Switzerland from Aug 19-25.

The Malaysian pairs are fifth seeds Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying; 12th seeds Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai Jemie and 14th seeds Tan Kian Ming-Lai Pei Jing.

Also getting a bye in the first round are Malaysia’s two pairs in the women’s doubles – Chow Mei Kuan-Lee Meng Yean (seeded No 13) and 15th seeds Vivian Hoo-Yap Cheng Wen.

In the men’s doubles Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik, the No 9 seeds, and Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong seeded No 14, also advance to the second round after getting byes in the first round.

However, two other Malaysian pairs in the men’s doubles will face first-round hurdles. Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi will face Bjarne Geiss-Jan Colin Volver of Germany while Arif Abdul Latif-Nur Azriyn Ayub will take on Russians Vladimir Ivanov-Ivan Sozonov.

In the men’s singles, Malaysia’s top singles player Lee Zii Jia, who is seeded 14th, will have a Brazilian hurdle in Ygor Coelho. Professional Liew Daren, a bronze medallist at the last edition was drawn to meet Thailand youngster Khosit Phetpradab.

Fast improving Zii Jia goes into the fray after reaching his first semi-finals this year in last week’s Thailand Open where he lost to eventual champion Chou Tien Chen of Chinese Taipei 14-21, 9-21.

He also reached the quarter-finals in the Indonesia Open where he was beaten 16-21, 11-21 by Anders Antonsen of Denmark. In the Japan Open, he was a first-round casualty, going to 19-21, 21-15, 19-21 to Lee Cheuk Yiu of Hong Kong China.

Soniia Cheah, Malaysia’s lone flag bearer in the women’s singles opens her campaign in Basel with a first-round match against Israel’s Ksenia Polikarpova. A win will see Soniia up against Denmark’s No 12 seed Mia Blichfeldt who drew a bye in the first round.

Badminton Association of Malaysia High-Performance director Wong Choong Hann said: “It’s a fair draw for us in all departments.”

Defending champion Kento Momota of Japan is the top seed in the men’s singles while Tien Chen is seeded second. Both had byes in the first round.

The new world No 1 Akane Yamaguchi of Japan is the top seed in the women’s singles with Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei seeded second. The duo also drew byes in the first round. RIZAL ABDULLAH 

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