It was a glorious day for second echelon players Chong Wei Feng of Malaysia and Viktor Axelsen of Denmark in the opening round of the Singapore Open as they stunned the big guns.
Wei Feng defeated seventh seed Taufik Hidayat of Indonesia for the first time in six years with a 21-17, 21-19 win in 36 minutes to march into the second round. It was the biggest win of his career.Wei Feng had previously failed to steal even one game from the former Olympic and world champion, losing in straight games at the 2008 Hong Kong Open and the 2011 Indonesia Open Grand Prix Gold.
World No. 37 Wei Feng will take on Hu Yun of Hong Kong today and has vowed to keep the Malaysian flag flying.
“It’s a surprise but I believe that my good net play made the difference in my first win over Taufik,” said Wei Feng, whose previous big scalp was Chen Jin of China in the 2008 India Open.
“I played without pressure and was able to raise my game. I want to go far in this tournament and, hopefully, will be able to exact revenge over Hu Yun. I lost to him at the Australian Open once before,” he added.
National singles chief coach Rashid Sidek said: “I’m very happy with Wei Feng’s performance. He played confidently, challenged Taufik with a fast-paced game and a lot of attacking. His control at the net was exceptionally good.
“It’s hard to predict Wei Feng’s form as he’s inconsistent. Let’s hope he will keep up the momentum.”
Wei Feng was joined by Liew Daren in the second round.
The country’s third ranked player did well to oust Alamsyah Yunus of Indonesia 21-9, 24-22 and will now have a chance to show that his win over Lee Hyun-il of South Korea at the All-England quarter-finals was not a fluke.
But veteran Mohd Hafiz Hashim ran out of steam after a brilliant start, succumbing 21-10, 14-21, 18-21 to Thailand’s Boonsak Ponsana in the opening round.
Like Wei Feng, Denmark’s Axelsen also did his country proud when he dumped top seed Sho Sasaki of Japan 21-10, 15-21, 21-12 to set up a meeting against India’s Anand Pawar.
It was also a good day for former world junior champions Ow Yao Han-Chooi Kah Ming as they stunned world No. 20 Ingo Kindervater-Johannes Schoettler of Germany 21-14, 10-21, 21-13. They will take on Japan’s Hiroyuki Endo-Kenichi Hayakawa, who defeated reigning world junior champions Nelson Heg Wei Keat-Teo Ee Yi 21-16, 21-15.
The other Malaysian pairs through to the second round are Hoon Thien How-Tan Wee Kiong, Lim Khim Wah-Goh V Shem and Mak Hee Chun-Teo Kok Siang. They take on Indonesia’s Markis Kido-Hendra Setiawan, Japanese Naoki Kawamae-Shoji Sato and China Hong Wei-Shen Ye respectively.
Malaysia’s challenge is also alive in the women’s doubles through Chow Mei Kuan-Lee Meng Yean but it could end today as the juniors take on top seeds Mizuki Fujii-Reika Kakiiwa of Japan next.
Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying and Tan Aik Quan-Lai Pei Jing stayed in the hunt in the mixed doubles.