Angus Ng Ka-long stormed into the third round of the Malaysia Masters on Thursday, setting up another clash against long-time rival Chou Tien-Chen of Taiwan in Kuala Lumpur. The Hong Kong No 1 thrashed Mark Caljouw of the Netherlanders 21-11, 21-5 in just 26 minutes at Axiata Arena, extending his head-to-head record against the Dutch player to 7-0 since their first encounter in the 2015 Sudirman Cup. World number 13 Ng is Hong Kong’s last remaining hope in the US$360,000 tournament, after mixed doubles duo Chang Tak-shing and Ng Wing-yung were eliminated in the second round. Hong Kong’s No 2 mixed doubles pair could do little to trouble Yang Po-Huan and Hu Ling-Fang of Taiwan, losing 21-13, 21-10, also in 26 minutes. Head coach Tim He Yiming was happy with Ng’s performance, and insisted his charge is making steady progress after dropping out of the top 10 in late March. But coach He knows the match against world no 4 Chou will pose a great challenge. “He delivered well against the Dutch player today as you can tell from the result,” said He. “If he can overcome Chou in the quarter-finals, it will be an important step for him to regain his confidence. “But of course the Taiwanese player is not easy to handle. Chou is a deceptive player and strong in attack, and for Ng to cope with his opponent, he will need to dig deep in defence and not allow Chou to score points easily.” Ng reached No 6 in the world rankings in 2017 but has been struggling to maintain his best since the world tour was disrupted by the pandemic in 2020. The last time he reached a world tour semi-final was in early 2021 at the Yonex Thailand Open, where he went on to the final before losing to Tokyo Olympic champion Viktor Axelsen. The coach, however, was not too satisfied with the performance of his mixed doubles duo, saying Chang and Ng could have done much better. “Although the Taiwan pair have some quality, our two players were not aggressive enough to take more the initiative. Hopefully they can learn something from the match,” He said. Both Chang and Ng will stay on in Malaysia for training – along with the city’s No 1 mixed doubles pair, Tse Ying-suet and Tang Chun-man, and Lee Cheuk-yiu, who all lost in the opening round – before moving across the border for next week’s Singapore Open. In other matches, second seed Kento Momota of Japan failed to recover from his defeat in last week’s Malaysia Open final, falling short against compatriot Kenta Tsuneyama in a 21-15, 21-16 defeat. Top seed Axelsen pulled out of the event after winning three Southeast Asia tournaments in a row. In the women’s singles, top seed Akane Yamaguchi of Japan needed three games to beat Wang Zhiyi of China, securing a 12-21, 21-13, 21-12 victory, while second seed Tai Tzu-Ying of Taiwan defeated Goh Jin Wei of Malaysia 16-21, 21-7, 21-9.