Tuesday October 9, 2012
No Chong Wei but plenty of others aim to excel in Pahang
By ASHREENA PILLAI
KUALA LUMPUR: Lee Chong Weiís absence should be a blessing in disguise for a host of national back-up shuttlers as they look to capture the menís singles title in the Pahang Open, which starts in Kuantan today.
Chong Wei had stated that he would not compete in local tournaments after winning his 10th national title last year and this has opened the door for a new star to come through.
Liew Daren, Chong Wei Feng, Mohd Arif Abdul Latif and KLRCís Zulfadli Zulkifli are among those who will be seeking to benefit from Chong Weiís absence.
Kedah-born Wei Feng, however, should start as the favourite to land his second title after bagging the Selangor Open earlier this year given his recent red-hot form.
ďYes, Iím feeling more confident now and hopefully that will translate into a good showing here. It definitely wonít be easy playing against team-mates you train with day in, day out but I hope I can reach the final,Ē said Wei Feng.
The world No. 30 faces Kuala Lumpurís Kuan Kam Chung in the first round and a win will pit him against Loo Yik Xiang, who has been given a walkover by Selangorís Chiang Jiann Shiarng.
Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin is likely to be awaiting Wei Feng in the quarter-finals before an expected last four clash with Mohd Arif Abdul Latif. The top half of the draw should see Daren facing Zulfadli in the quarter-finals for a rematch of their Taiwan Open second round clash.
In the menís doubles, top seeds Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong will be looking for redemption after their disappointing performances in the Japan Open .
The pair will need to bring out their A game at Stadium Utama SUKPA if they are to taste victory.
But Kien Keat-Boon Heong have a tendency to lose to back-up pairs in local tournaments.
They face Selangorís Kok Zheng Yi-Kong Keat Zhean in the first round, with Chan Peng Soon-Goh V Shem their likey opponents in the semi-finals.
Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari-Mohd Zakry Abdul Latif, who are still basking in their Taiwan Open triumph, will be the firm favourites to make the final.
The world No. 27 pair face Mohd Lutfi Zaim Khalid-Teo Kok Siang in the first round.