SOONG Joo Ven led a host Malaysian players into the second round of the Petronas Malaysia International Challenge 2022 in the absence of India’s Mithun Manjunath and Kiran George at the Arena Badminton Perak in Ipoh today.
The 22-year-old Joo Ven, ranked No 2, defeated fellow teammate Choo Kai Qing 21-7, 21-16 to set up a second-round encounter against Thailand’s Korakrit Laotrakul.
The Thai, ranked 214 in the world, defeated Malaysian Siva Kabilan 21-3, 21-8 in the first round.
Both Mithun, seeded No 1, and No 3 seed Kiran, withdrew at the eleventh hour.
Mithun, ranked 41 in the world, won the Bangladesh International Challenge last week.
In the Bangladesh International Challenge, Joo Ven crashed out of the quarterfinals stage, losing to Mithun.
Leong Jun Hao, seeded seventh, also cleared the first-round hurdle. Jun Hao outclassed Lim Yik Fong with a 21-5, 21-15 victory. He meets Ong Zhen Yi in the second round.
Both Joo Ven and Jun Hao are expected to meet in the semi-finals.
Defending champion Cheam June Wei, who won the title in 2019 when the tournament was last held, advanced to the next round with a 21-18, 21-14 win over Angelo Albo of the Philippines, to set-up a second-round clash against Thailand’s Saran Jamsri.
Other winners in Day One are Eogene Ewe who triumphed 18-21, 21-5, 21-11 over Morocco’s Prince Dahal while Sholeh Aidil, seeded 11, edged fellow Malaysian Tai Chuan Zhe 21-12, 21-15 to move into the second round.