NG Tze Yong’s campaign in the PERODUA Malaysia Masters presented by DAIHATSU ended early after succumbing to a 17-21, 21-16, 21-13 defeat at the hands of Japan’s Kenta Nishimoto in the first round of the men’s singles tie at Axiata Arena here, today.
Mixed doubles pair Cheng Tang Jie-Toh Ee Wei suffered the same fate after failing to get past their Indonesian rivals Rinov Rivaldi-Pitha Mentari, leaving the Malaysian camp without any representatives in the mixed doubles after two other independent pairs – Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai and Chan Peng Soon-Cheah Yee See – faltered in today’s round.
Men’s singles star Lee Zii Jia however, powered on to stretch his advantage over Lu Guang Zu after defeating the Chinese in straights sets of 21-12, 21-19 in 45 minutes to check into the second round against Taiwan’s Lin Chu Yi, who had earlier defeated Indonesia’s Chico Aura Dwi Wardoyo in the other first round tie.
“It was a rather easy encounter, I kept my patience to ensure that I get the better of him today. Lu tried to claw back into the game and force a rubber, but I kept my patience and manage to finish off the game early,” said Zii Jia, adding that his performance in the recent Sudirman Cup in Sozhou had helped boost his confidence.
Tze Yong started well after sealing the first game in a cautious play that ended with the Malaysian winning 21-17 in 28 minutes. However, it didn’t take long for the world No.13 Nishimoto to bounce back with a polished play.
Time and again, the Japanese forced Tze Yong into making errors before finally sealing the tie 17-21, 21-16, 21-13 in a marathon 83 minutes to set up a second-round clash against third seed Jonathan Christie of Indonesia.
“Of course, I’m disappointed but I need to move on to the next tournaments, Thailand Open and Singapore Open. Kenta played well and didn’t commit many mistakes. I’ll have to discuss with my coach what are the areas to improve for my next tournaments,” said Tze Yong on his first encounter against the Japanese.
Earlier, Chen Tang Jie-Toh Ee Wei’s were also out of the tournament after losing 22-20, 11-21, 21-15 to Rino/Pitha in 56 minutes.
“It was hard playing in a back-to-back tournament after Dubai, but it gave us valuable lessons on how best to handle the pressure, and preserve our body conditions and expectations. We were not patient in the rubber game, trying to finish off the game early but ended up making errors,” said Chen.
The other Malaysians who faltered include Goh Jin Wei (women’s singles) who faltered at the hands of German Yvonne Li (21-17, 17-21, 21-15), mixed doubles pair Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing who lost to Thai pair Supak Jomkoh/Supissara Paewsampran 22-20, 22-20, Chan Peng Soon-Cheah Yee See who were shown the exit by Praveen Jordan-Melati Oktivianti 21-19, 18-21, 21-12 while Tan Kian Meng-Tan Wee Kiong suffered shocking defeat to Alexander Dunn-Adam Hall (21-23, 21-14, 21-16).
In the women’s singles, apart from Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon (third seed) who failed to get past Korea’s Kim Ga Eun (15-21, 21-14, 21-18), all other seeded players including Japan’s Akane Yamaguchi (1), Pornpawee Chorchuwong (5), Han Yue (4), Busanan Ongbamrungphan (8), Pusarla V. Sindhu (6) and Gregoria Mariska Tunjung (7) cruised through to the next round.
All eyes will now be on men’s doubles pair Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi (sixth seed) who take on Taiwan’s Lu Ching Yao-Yang Po Han while hopes are high on second seed Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik to keep Malaysia’s flag flying when they meet world No.10 Choi Sol Gyu-Kim Won Ho of Korea. In another tie, Man Wei Chong-Kai Wun Tee are up against Scottish pair Alexander Dunn/Adam Hall.
The PERODUA Malaysia Masters presented by DAIHATSU is the first tournament that offers ranking points for qualification for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.