IT WAS a sad day for Malaysia when Chong Wei Feng, Liew Daren and Tan Chun Seang were sent packing in the All-England and it was left to Taiwan’s up-and-coming player Chou Tien-chen to steal the show in the first round at the National Indoor Arena.
Hopes were high on Wei Feng to defy the odds but he was blown away by Denmarks’ Jan O Jorgensen 11-21, 14-21 in 32 minutes.
Daren put up a fighting display before going down to former world champion Chen Jin 15-21, 21-19, 11-21.
It could have been an easy straight-game victory for Chen Jin but Daren made remarkable turnaround halfway in the second game by showing more aggression to force deuce.
In the end, it was all in vain as he lost the rubber 11-21.
Professional shuttler Chun Seang, who is based in Austria, performed better and went down fighting 12-21, 21-15, 15-21 to Nguyen Tien Minh of Vietnam.
With Daren, Wei Feng and Chun Seang all out, all hope is now on Lee Chong Wei to keep the Malaysian flag flying high.
The 25-year-old Wei Feng was disappointed with his tame exit in his fourth campaign.
“I have improved physically but tactically I was a let down today. Jorgensen was in control of the game and broke my rhythm and movement from the start,” he said.
“I still harbour hope of playing in my first World Championships. It’s not the end yet and I have a few more tournaments to make up for this disappointment.”
Jorgensen revealed that Wei Feng was an easy prey because of his small physique.
“He is short and does not have the feel of the court as shown by some players like Chen Long. So, it was easy for me to put him off balance,” said Jorgensen.
“I’m more prepared this time. I reached the quarter-finals last time and was more focused on the Olympic Games qualification. But, this time, I’m completely focused on doing well here.”
The show-stealer yesterday was definitely 23-year-old Tien-chen, who screamed in delight after defeating Pengyu for the first time in three meetings.
“I’ve beaten Chen Jin before ... but he was injured then. This, to me, is my biggest career win,” said Tien-chen, who is into his fifth year of Sports Science studies at the Taiwan Sports University.
“I played well and had many lucky shots. I took my chances well and Pengyu’s defence was not as good and I benefited from plenty of good smashes.
“I didn’t qualify for the Olympic Games last year, so I trained hard to become better this year.”
Tien-chen will take on Tommy Sugiarto of Indonesia next but, with Pengyu and Taufik Hidayat out of the way, this spunky Taiwanese may make it all the way to the semi-finals and pose as a new threat to world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei.
There was another upset yesterday when qualifier Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk of Thailand knocked out sixth seed Hu Yun of Hong Kong 21-16, 11-21, 23-21 to set up a meeting with Sho Sasaki of Japan.
Second seed Chen Long of China was almost shown the exit but he rose to the occasion to beat Boonsak Ponsana of Thailand 18-21, 21-10, 21-15.
Men’s singles: Nguyen Tien Minh (Vie) bt Tan Chun Seang (Mas) 21-12, 15-21, 21-15; Chen Long (Chn) bt Boonsak Ponsana (Tha) 18-21, 21-10, 21-15; Jan O Jorgensen (Den) bt Chong Wei Feng (Mas) 21-11, 21-14; Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk (Tha) bt Hu Yun (Hkg) 21-16, 11-21, 23-21; Chou Tien-chen (Tpe) bt Du Pengyu (Chn) 21-17, 10-21, 21-18; Sho Sasaki (Jpn) bt Taufik Hidayat (Ina) 21-16, 21-11; Tommy Sugiarto (Ina) bt Gao Huan (Chn) 21-14, 21-13; Kenichi Tago (Jpn) bt Viktor Axelsen (Den) 22-20, 21-15; Chen Yuekun (Chn) bt Hans-Kristian Vittinghus (Den) 21-16, 12- 21, 21-11.
Men’s doubles: Chen Hung-ling-Lu Chia-bin (Tpe) bt Gan Teik Chai-Ong Soon Hock (Mas) 21-12, 21-12; Lukasz Moren-Wojciech Szkudlarczyk (Pol) bt Hong Wei-Shen Ye (Chn) 19-21, 21-19, 22-20; Mathias Boe-Carsten Mogensen (Den) bt Angga Pratama-Ryan Agung Saputra (Ina) 21-18, 21-19.
Women’s singles: Pai Hsiao-ma (Tpe) bt Chan Tsz Ka (Hkg) 21-10, 21-9; Bae Yeon-ju (Kor) bt Li Xuerui (Chn) 21-18, 21-18; Eriko Hirose (Jpn) bt Michelle Li (Can) 21-19, 11-21, 21-14; Sung Ji-hyun (Kor) bt Petya Nedelcheva (Bul) 21-15, 21-14.
Women’s doubles: Lok Yan Poon-Ying Suet Tse (Hkg) bt Savitree Amitrapai-Sapsiree Taerattanachai (Tha) 21-13, 21-18; Wang Xiaoli-Yu Yang (Chn) bt Ng Hui Ern-Ng Hui Lin (Mas) 21-15, 21-16; Eva Lee-Paula Lynn Obanana (Usa) bt Narissapat Lam-T. Saralee (Tha) 21-17, 21-18; Choi Hye-in-Kim So-young (Kor) bt Gebby Ristiyani Imawan-Tiara Rosalia Nuraidah (Ina) 21-17, 21-13.
Mixed doubles: Zhang Nan-Zhao Yunlei (Chn) bt Mads Piler Kolding-Kamilla Rytter Juhl (Den) 21-11, 21-9; Tantowi Ahmad- Lilyana Natsir (Ina) bt Michael Fuchs-Birgit Michels (Ger) 21- 10, 21-15; Qiu Zihan-Bao Yixin (Chn) bt Anders Kristiansen-Julie Houmann (Den) 21-19, 25-23; Shin Baek-cheol-Jang Ye-na (Kor) bt Riky Widianto-Puspita Richi Dili (Ina) 21-15, 21-14; Kim Ki-jung- Jung Kyung-eun (Kor) bt Kenichi Hayakawa-Misaki Matsutomo (Jpn) 21-13, 19-21, 21-15; Xu Chen-Ma Jin (Chn) bt Chris Adcock- Gabrielle White (Eng) 21-14, 21-18; Markis Kido-Pia Zebadiah Bernadeth (Ina) bt Joachim Fischer Nielsen-Christinna Pedersen (Den) 12-21, 21-19, 23-21.
(Matches involving Malaysians only)
First round: Tan Chun Seang bt Dieter Domke (Ger) 21-18, 15-21, 21-15; Zulfadli Zulkifli bt Suppanyu Avihingsanon (Tha) 22-20, 21-15; Mohd Arif Abdul Latif bt Scott Evans (Irl) 13-21, 21-9, 21-12.
Second round: Chun Seang bt Zulfadli 11-21, 21-14, 21-12; Chen Yuekun (Chn) bt Arif 16-21, 21-16, 21-14.
First round: Tan Bin Shen-Robert Blair (Mas-Sco) bt Christopher Coles-Matthew Nottingham (Eng) 21-11, 15-21, 21-9.
Second round: Bin Shen-Blair bt Mattijs Dierickx-Freek Golinski (Ger) 21-12, 21-10.
First round: Sayaka Takahashi (Jpn) bt Lydia Cheah 21-13, 21-8.