World Junior champion Goh Jin Wei dished out an impressive performance to keep alive Malaysia’s challenge in the USD700,000 Malaysia Open at the Axiata Arena in Bukit Jalil on Wednesday on a day when the men’s singles fizzled out with the defeat of Lee Zii Jia.
In the absence of 12-time champion Datuk Wira Lee Chong Wei who still recovering from his nose cancer and has been medically told to stay away from competitive badminton for time being, Zii Jia remained Malaysia’s hope.
However, the 23rd ranked Zii Jia was beaten 21-17, 19-21, 21-15 by the 33rd ranked Suppanyu Avihingsanon of Thailand in a 65-minute battle. Professional Chong Wei Feng was also a first-round casualty against Japan’s Kanta Tsuneyama, losing 12-21, 12-21.
Jin Wei outplayed Thailand’s experienced Nitchaon Jindapol with an impressive 21-13, 21-12 win in 33 minutes and earn a second-round clash against another Thai hope Pornpawee Chochuwong. Chochuwong upset India’s No 8 seed Saina Nehwal 20-22, 21-15, 21-10.
“I enjoyed my game against her (Jindapol),” said Jin Wei, who is also the reigning Youth Olympic champion.
As for her next match, 26th ranked Jin Wei, who is also the 100PLUS Ambassador, simply said: “We will see how it goes tomorrow (against Chochuwong who is ranked 21).”
Men’s doubles Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik hailed as stars of the future in the sport, gave another polished display to march into the second round with a 21-14, 21-19 first-round win over English pair Marcus Ellis-Chris Langridge in 42 minutes.
The All-England runners-up will battle Japan’s Takuro Hoki-Yugo Kobayashi who upset compatriots Hiroyuki Endo-Yuta Watanabe 17-21, 24-22, 21-9 for a place in the last eight.
But there was cheer in the mixed doubles with Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai Jemie coming through a 21-13, 21-5 win over Indonesia’s Alfian Eko Prasetya-Marsheilla Gischa Islami in their first-round match.
Malaysia’s campaign in the women’s doubles also came to an abrupt end with the defeat of Chow Mei Kuan-Lim Meng Yean. The India Open runners-up won the first game 21-12 against Thailand’s Jongkolphan Kititharakul-Rawinda Prajongjai but lost the next two at 10-21, 15-21 to bow out in 55 minutes. RIZAL ABDULLAH