Malaysia Open: Hong Kong’s Angus Ng cruises into second round, with Kento Momota up next
- Hong Kong badminton No 1 and his teammate Lee Cheuk-yiu will take on the top two seeds in the second round
- Head coach Tim He Yiming confident both can cause upsets, with mixed doubles duo Tang and Tse also featuring on Thursday
Angus Ng Ka-long joined teammate Lee Cheuk-yiu in the second round of the Malaysia Open after cruising to a 2-0 victory over Mark Caljouw in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday.
Despite dropping out of the top 10 of the world rankings, the Hong Kong No 1 was still able to sweep his Dutch opponent aside 21-18, 21-16 in just 39 minutes at Axiata Arena, setting up a clash against second seed Kento Momota of Japan in the Super 750 tournament – where a total purse of US$675,000 is on offer.
Lee made it through the opening round on Tuesday with an upset victory over world champion Loh Kean Yew of Singapore, and will next meet world No 1 Viktor Axelsen of Demark.
“Ng had a good performance, and although the score was not very impressive, he was in total control of the game,” head coach Tim He Yiming said.
“The breeze from the air conditioning was very strong in the venue and Ng has spent a lot of time of adjusting to the environment. After all, it was only the first round and he needed to adapt.”
Ng took an 11-6 lead in the opening game, but his opponent fought back to level things up. But that was the best Caljouw could offer, with Ng once again stepping up his tempo to make it 19-14, before closing out the game.
The second game was more one-sided – Ng built up a quick 8-0 lead before extending his advantage to 18-9, and then wrapping up the victory.
Despite facing the top two players in the world in the second round, Hong Kong’s shuttlers will be in with a chance, according to He.
“Of course it will be difficult, as both Axelsen and Momota are players with the highest quality,” said the coach.
“But bear in mind Lee beat the Dane in the 2019 Hong Kong Open, before winning the title at home, while Momota has lost his sparkling form having swept everything before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
“He also hasn’t been able to test the venue, as his first-round opponent withdrew from the competition. Ng and Lee will have nothing to lose and will play under no pressure. If they can deliver, they certainly have a chance to win.”
In the mixed doubles, Hong Kong’s sixth-seeded duo Tse Ying-suet and Tang Chun-man will take to the courts again on Thursday against Rinov Rivaldy and Pitha Haningtyas Mentari of Indonesia in the second round.