KUALA LUMPUR: No new stars stole the show in the Korean Open on a day when two tournament favourites, Lee Chong Wei and Chen Long of China, made it to the men’s singles quarter-finals in contrasting fashions.
Top seed and defending champion Chong Wei stayed hot in a cold Seoul by disposing of Marc Zwiebler of Germany 21-14, 21-18 in the second round but second seed Chen Long dropped a game before making it through.
All England champion Chen Long overcame a sluggish start to beat Takuma Euda of Japan 19-21, 21-9, 21-14.
Today, Chong Wei will face a usual suspect – Du Pengyu of China, while Chen Long has set up a match against Nguyen Tien Minh of Vietnam.
National singles coach Rashid Sidek said that the season opener has given a sneak preview of what to expect in the men’s singles competition - probably for the rest of the season.
Except for qualifier Gao Huan of China, all the other quarter-finalists are regulars on the circuit.
“Nothing much has changed. It is the same players who have made it through to the quarter-finals,” said Rashid from Seoul yesterday.
“Chong Wei had it very easy today. Chen Long was not that impressive in his victory but he will bounce back. I have seen this many times. He will turn his game completely around - especially if his opponent is Chong Wei.
“The Korean Open is the first stop on the 12-leg Tour this year. Based on the outcome today, maybe, we may see the usual suspects dominating the scene this season, too,” he said.
The other quarter-final matches will be between Thailand’s old warhorse Boonsak Ponsana and Gao Huan, and Jan O Jorgensen of Denmark against Kenichi Tago of Japan.
The scenario is slightly different in the men’s doubles where Malaysia’s Lim Khim Wah-Goh V Shem pulled off a stunning upset by beating eighth seeds Lee Sheng-mu-Tsai Chia-hsin of Taiwan to prove that the competition in the men’s doubles is still quite open.
In today’s quarter-finals, the duo, who are searching for a revival in their badminton fortune, will take on top seeds Mathias Boe-Carsten Mogensen of Denmark. The pairs have not crossed paths before.
The other men’s doubles match-ups are as follows – Hiroyuki Endo-Kenichi Hayakawa (Japan) versus Lee Yong-dae-Yoo Yeon-seong (South Korea); Chris Adcock-Andrew Ellis (England) against Liu Xiaolong-Qiu Zihan (China); and Fu Haifeng-Hong Wei (China) versus Takeshi Kamura-Keigo Sonoda (Japan).