The Star Online, 04/03/2004

BASEL: All-England champion Hafiz Hashim's return to international competition after five months ended abruptly yesterday when he fell to South Korean Park Tae-sung in the first round of the Swiss Open badminton championships at St Jakob Hall here.

Hafiz, who will be defending his All-England crown next week, lost 15-11, 15-3 in just under 45 minutes.

Elder brother Roslin Hashim, however, had a better outing, settling a three-month-old score with Simon Santoso. He beat the Indonesian youngster in straight games in the first round.

Roslin, who won the Open in 2001, won his match 15-7, 15-9 to avenge his defeat by the Indonesian at the Vietnam SEA Games last December. Simon had beaten Roslin to give Indonesia the winning point in the team semi-finals in Ho Chi Minh City.

Roslin, playing with renewed confidence following his good run in the Thomas Cup Asian Zone qualifying tournament recently, will play against familiar rival Boonsak Polsana of Thailand in the second round today. Polsana advanced with a 15-4, 15-1 win over Canada's Hunter Kyle.

If Roslin gets past Polsana, he should meet either fellow Malaysian Wong Choong Hann or China's Chen Yu in the third round.

Choong Hann drew a first round bye and will play against Chen Yu for a place in the third round.

Malaysian youngster Kuan Beng Hong also booked a place in the second round with an easy 15-4, 15-3 win over Guatemala's Pedro Yang.

Beng Hong won a place in the main draw with a hard fought 15-12, 15-11 win over India's Arvind Bhat in the qualifying round on Tuesday.

But Beng Hong will find it hard to make further inroads in his first international Open. He will play against seventh seed Kenneth Jonassen of Denmark in the second round today.

Lee Tsuen Seng is also unlikely to make it past the second round. The 24-year-old Malaysian scored an easy 15-2, 15-7 win over German Jens Roch to set up a match with the third seeded Chen Hong of China.

Tsuen Seng has never beaten the Chinese ace in three previous meetings. And it was Chen Hong, who stopped Tsuen Seng's run at the quarter-final stage of the All-England last year.

Mixed doubles pair Koo Kien Keat-Chin Eei Hui, who had to earn their place in the main draw, gave a gutsy display to topple the Danish pair of Lars Paaske-Pernille Harder 17-14, 13-15, 15-7 in the first round.

But they will find it hard to move on today. They will play against reigning world champions Kim Dong-moon-Ra Kyung-min of South Korea.