Thomas Cup bound shuttlers Zulfadli Zulkifli and Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin cleared the first hurdle in their in the men’s singles in the USD120,000 Victor Far East Malaysia Master Grand Prix Gold at the Spice Arena in Relau, Penang on Wednesday.
Former World and Asian Junior champion Zulfadli Zulkifli came out tops against China’s Zhu Siyuan after a tough first set to win 24-22, 21-14 in a match which lasted a good 52 minutes.
National champion Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin was even more impressive when he took out fourth seed and experienced South Korean Son Wan-ho with a straight set win 21-5, 21-14 in 37 minutes which left him dazed.
“This the first time I have beaten an opponent ranked in the top 10 in a tournament. I was well prepared mentally for the match. It has boosted my confidence for the Thomas Cup qualifiers,” said the Johor lad who hails from Muar.
“I will remember this win over Wan-ho as he was seeded No 4 here. I just didn’t want to be a first round casualty. I psyched myself up for the match.
“Also I am more matured now to face stronger opponents and the win over Wan-ho is very motivating for me to look at better things to come, especially when I am in the Thomas Cup team.”
However, Chong Wei Feng, suffered another first round defeat – losing to India’s second seed K. Srikanth. The Indian won 21-17, 21-11 in 35 minutes.
“I was weak at the net. Srikanth took full advantage of my weakness,” said Wei Feng who has been left out of the Asian team championships and the Thomas Cup squad following a spate of poor results.
Liew Daren, playing in his last tournament under the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) banner, was a first round casualty. He lost 10-21, 15-21 to Thai No 1 Boonsak Ponsana in 34 minutes.
Former World No 1 Datuk Lee Chong Wei was hardly stretched in his first round triumph over Indonesian newcomer Fikri Ihsandi Hadmadi, winning 21-15, 21-15 in 33 minutes.
Chong Wei is the top seed in the tournament and is expected to meet Srikanth in the final.
SELECTED FIRST ROUND RESULTS
Datuk Lee Chong Wei (Mas) beat Fikri Ihsandi Hadmadi (Ina) 15-14, 15-15
Kanthawat Leelavechabutr (Tha) beat Ali Ahmed El Khateeb (Egy) 21-10, 21-11
Soo Teck Zhi (Mas) beat Nathaniel Ernestan Sulistyo (Ina) 21-13, 21-15
Hu Yun (Hkg) beat Ai Wen Jian (Mas) 21-13, 21-7
Zulfadli Zulkifli (Mas) Zhu Siyuan (Chn) 24-22, 21-14
Ajay Jayaram (Ind) beat Takuma Ueda 21-19, 21-11
Artem Pochtarev (Ukr) beat Tan Chun Seang (Mas) 21-19, 8-21, 21-17
Boonsak Ponsana (Tha) beat Liew Daren (Mas) 21-10, 21-15
Lee Dong Keun (Kor) beat Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk (Tha) 21-18, 15-21, 21-18
Simon Santoso (Ina) beat Vincent Wong Wing Ki (Hkg) 21-17, 21-19
Goh Soon Huat (Mas) beat Nguyen Tien Minh (Vie) 21-8, 21-16
Ginting Anthony (Ina) beat Lee Han Chong (Mas) 21-19, 16-21, 23-21
Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin (Mas) beat Son Wan Ho (Kor) 21-5, 21-14
Srikanth (Ind) beat Chong Wei Feng (Mas) 21-17, 21-11
Qiao Bin (Chn) beat Arif Abdul Latif (Mas) 21-12, 21-19
Hsu Jen Hao (Tpe) beat Yeoh Seng Zoe (Mas) 21-14, 21-15
Goh Giap Chin (Mas) beat Lim Chi Wing (Mas) 21-19, 22-20
Tommy Sugiarto (Ina) beat Wibowo Setyaldi Putra 21-18, 21-11