# Top seed Chen Long gets a walkover in the first round
# Four-time winner Lin Dan advances to the second round with ease
# Defending champion Wang Zhengming falls at the first hurdle
By Rizal Abdullah
Fast improving national champion Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin was an easy 21-15, 21-16 winner of Japanese youngster Koki Watanabe in the first round in the China Masters Grand Prix Gold at the Olympic Sports Center Xincheng Gymnasium in Jiangsu on Monday.
The Malaysian, No 36 in the world, will now take on China’s Zhu Siyuan for a place in the third round. Siyuan defeated Thailand’s Kandis Maharoon 21-10, 21-7 in his first round match.
However, Zulfadli Zulkifli who is strongly tipped to find a place in the Malaysian Thomas Cup team for the Finals in Kunshan, China conceded another of his famous walkovers in international meets.
The former world and asian junior champion was among the several others who conceded walkovers in the first round. Others included Malaysians Tan Chun Seang, Arif Abdul Latif and India’s P. Kashyap.
Meanwhile Chen Long, the current world No 1 and the top seed in the China Masters was among those who benefited from the walkovers when Thailand’s Mek Narongkrit failed to turn up.
There were several upsets too on the opening day matches when third seed K. Srikanth of India and fourth seed Wang Zhengming were bundled out in the first round.
Taiwan’s Lin Yu-hsien brought down Srikanth with a 21-12, 21-17 while defending champion Wang Zhengming of China lost 15-21, 17-21 to Japan’s Kazumasa Sakai.
Thai veteran Boonsak Ponsana, the 11th seed, was also a first round casualty when he fell 19-21, 10-21 to China’s Qiao Bin.
Another Malaysian, Thomas Cupper Liew Daren, who quit the national team in January this year, advanced to the second round when he bundled out 16th seed Wang Tzu-wai of Taiwan 21-17, 21-17.
However, several other Malaysians failed to get past the first round. Goh Soon Huat was beaten by China’s Sun Feixing (21-15, 21-11) while Soo Teck Zhi lost to China’s Ren Pengbo 21-17, 21-17 and Soong Joo Ven was beaten 21-19, 10-21, 18-21 by India’s seventh seed H. S. Prannoy.
FIRST ROUND RESULTS (Selected)
Chen Long (Chn) w/o Mek Narongkit (Tha)
Lin Dan (Chn) beat Jaspar Woon Yu (Bru) 21-11, 21-6
S. Prannoy (Ind) beat Soong Joo Ven (Mas) 19-21, 21-14, 21-18
Lin Yu-hsien (Tpe) beat K. Srikanth (Ind) 21-12, 21-17
Kazumasa Sakai (Jpn) beat Wang Zhengming (Chn) 21-15, 21-17
Liew Daren (Mas) beat Wang Tzu-wai (Tpe) 21-17, 21-17
Sho Sasaki (Jpn) beat Artyom Savatyugin (Uzb) 21-10, 21-5
Ren Pengbo (Chn) beat Soo Teck Zhi (Mas) 21-17, 21-17
Sun Feixing (Chn) beat Goh Soon Huat (Mas) 21-15, 21-11
Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin (Mas) beat Koki Watanabe (Jpn) 21-15, 21-16
Zhu Siyuan (Chn) beat Kandis Waharoon (Tha) 21-10, 21-7
Qiao Bin (Chn) beat Boonsak Ponsana (Tha) 21-19, 21-10