He was given a chance but former national player Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin failed to grab it when he muffed his second match in the qualifying round of the USD350,000 Malaysia Masters at the Axiata Arena in Bukit Jalil on Tuesday.
Iskandar, once ranked second behind Datuk Lee Chong Wei, cleared his first hurdle in the qualifiers when he defeated Indonesia’s Chico Aura Dwi Wardoyo 21-19, 21-19.
But he came unstuck against Thai veteran Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk, won 12-21, 21-16, 21-12.
“It was a late call up from BAM (Badminton Association of Malaysia) and I accepted the ‘invitation’ to play in the qualifying rounds after discussing the matter with my coach Ismail Saman. 
“It is just unfortunate that I could not win my second round (qualifier) after clearing the first round. Good experience which will hopefully stand in good stead for me when I compete in the Indonesian Masters,” said Ismail who plays for Petaling BC in the Purple League.
Another independent player who failed to get into the main draw was Chong Wei Feng who fell to Denmark’s Victor Svendon 20-22, 21-8,19-21 in the second round. In the first round Wei Feng beat Thomas Roulex of France 21-16, 27-25.
Meanwhile, Malaysia’s best hope in the men’s singles Lee Zii Jia made it into the main draw after winning both his qualifying round matches. 
He struggled to beat compatriot Soong Joo Ven 21-23, 21-13, 24-22 in an hour-long match in the first round but won in straight games 21-17, 21-16 in 37 minutes in the second round.
Zii Jia faces Tanongsak in the first round with the winner playing either current world number one and top Kento Momota or Kenta Nishimoto of Japan for a place in the quarter-finals. – BY RIZAL ABDULLAH
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