7th Nov '05
TheStar

PETALING JAYA: After going through a slump, shuttler Wong Choong Hann achieved a good result for the year by beating Olympic and world champion Taufik Hidayat of Indonesia in the men's singles third round of the Hong Kong Open on Thursday.

The win is seen as a double boost for the 28-year-old Choong Hann.

It will give him a psychological advantage when he features for Malaysia in the challenge for the team gold medal against Indonesia in the Manila SEA Games at the end of the month.

The win also has placed Choong Hann as Malaysiaís best bet for menís singles honours in the China Open, which begins tomorrow in Guangzhou, in the absence of national number one Lee Chong Wei.


BEST HOPE: Wong Choong Hann is hoping to do well in the China Open, which is a happy hunting ground for him. A good performance there will boost his confidence ahead of the Manila SEA Games later this month.
The 23-year-old Chong Wei, who was beaten by Lin Dan of China in the semi-finals of the Hong Kong Open on Saturday, is skipping the China Open to concentrate on his preparations for the SEA Games.

For Choong Hann, China Open is a happy hunting ground. He won the title in 2002 and was the runner-up the following year.

But last year, his challenge ended prematurely in the second round after he came down with fever.

This time, Choong Hann has a favourable draw. He is the ninth seed and is tipped to play against second seed Kenneth Jonassen of Denmark in the quarter-finals.

If he advances, the player in his path for a place in the final will come from the quarter comprising South Korean Lee Hyun-il, Indonesian Sony Dwi Kuncoro and Chinese Bao Chunlai.

The top seed is Lin Dan and in his half of the draw are teammate Chen Hong, Taufik and Dane Peter Gade-Christensen.

Besides Choong Hann, the other Malaysians in the menís singles competition are Kuan Beng Hong, James Chua and Pei Wei Chung.

Choong Hann is one of the three SEA Games-bound players competing in the Cghina Open. The others are the veteran doubles combination of Choong Tan Fook-Lee Wan Wah, who did not play in the Hong Kong Open.

Tan Fook-Wan Wah will take on Englandís Anthony Clark-Robert Blair in the opening round. In the Hong Kong Open, the English pair chalked up an upset over top seeded Indonesians Candra Wijaya-Sigit Budiarto.

Candra-Sigit, who were the runners-up at the World Championships in August, are also the top seeds in the China Open.

The other Malaysian menís doubles pairs in the tournament are Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari-Lin Woon Fui, Hoon Thien How-Tan Boon Heong, Ng Kean Kok-Hong Chieng Hun and Tan Bin Shen-Ong Soon Hock.