Liew Daren believes that the race for the BAC men’s singles title is still very open –

Badminton News: Liew Daren thinks the men’s singles title at the Asian Badminton Championships can belong to anyone now after two stunning first-round upsets in Manila yesterday.

Top-seeded Kento Momota of Japan and All-England runner-up Lakshya Sen of India were surprisingly expelled from the competition, leaving the door wide open for others to compete for the title.

World number 2 Momota, considered one of the favorites for the title, surprisingly lost to young Indonesian player Chico Aura Dwi Wardoyo 21-17, 17-21 and 7-21.

Indian rising star Lakshya followed suit narrowly losing to China’s Li Shifeng 21-12, 12-21 and 19-21.

Liew Daren, despite surviving his own three-game battle against Korean Heo Kwang-hee, won 8-21, 21-10 and 21-15 in 49 minutes.

He will face Indonesian Asian Games gold medalist Jonatan Christie in the next round for a spot in the quarter-finals.

“I’m glad I got past a tough opponent. It’s definitely going to be a tough game against Christie because he’s been playing well lately,” Daren explained.

Jonathan Christie showed his form beating India’s Sai Praneeth 21-17, 21-13 in just 34 minutes.

But Liew Daren, 34, thinks he also has a chance to surprise him.

“Everyone has a chance to win here. Even Momota lost. The competition has become very open now. The lag on the pitch is too strong. So it’s not easy to control the steering wheel,” Daren added. .

Representatives of Malaysia and Indonesia have never met in an international tournament.

Meanwhile, national number one and fellow independent Lee Zii Jia struggled for 59 minutes before also securing his place in the second round, beating China’s Sun Feixiang 19-21, 21-14 and 21-14.

Zii Jia will be relieved to clear the first hurdle but will face another tough match against Indonesia’s Shesar Hiren Rhustavito today.

Rhustavito himself also needed 59 minutes to beat Taiwan’s Lin Chun-yi 14-21, 22-20 and 21-19.

World number 7 Zii Jia will start as heavy favorites for the game but is actually slightly behind on his 3-2 head-to-head record for the 24th-ranked Indonesian pair.

Their last encounter was at the 2019 Chinese Taipei Open where Rhustavito won 21-16, 22-20.

However, Zii Jia will be desperate to win this time around as he will go for the title after shock defeats to Momota and Lakshya.

Another Malaysian Aidil Sholeh Ali Sadikin put up much resistance against Taiwan’s Wang Tzu-wei before losing 14-21, 21-9, 18-21 in 53 minutes.

Tags Articles: Liew Daren, Jonathan Christie, Lee Zii Jia, Badminton Asia Championship 2022

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