Jun Hao stuns ex-World Junior champ to reach KL Masters semis

Jun Hao stuns ex-World Junior champ to reach KL Masters semis

KUALA LUMPUR: National men’s singles shuttler Leong Jun Hao (gambar) edged closer to ending his one-year title drought after ousting 2022 World Junior champion Kuo Kuan Lin to cruise into the inaugural KL Masters semi-finals today.

Jun Hao, the 2017 Asian Junior champion, played superbly to beat the Taiwanese 21-16, 21-15 in the quarter-finals of the Super 100 tournament at the Titiwangsa Stadium here.

But the 24-year-old Jun Hao had better be wary of his semi-final opponent Choi Ji Hoon after the South Korean, who began the competition in the qualifiers, stunned eighth seed Sameer Verma of India 21-9, 21-13 today.

“I was thoroughly prepared for today’s game. Good to have won in straight games. I focused on taking it one point at a time and wanted to avoid making any mistakes.

“My initial target was to reach the semi-finals… that’s done. Now, I want to go further and win the title in front of our home fans. Still have two more rounds to play (to win the title), so I must continue to stay focused,” said the world number 43.

Jun Hao last won a title when he beat compatriot Cheam June Wei in the final of the Indonesia Masters in Malang in October last year.

Meanwhile, 2023 Indonesia International Challenge champion Aidil Sholeh Ali Sadikin eliminated 2021 Vietnam Sea Games bronze medallist Jason Teh Jia Heng of Singapore 21-18, 5-21, 21-13 and set the stage for a possible all-Malaysian final.

However, he will first have to get past top seed Lee Chia Hao after the Taiwanese defeated Hong Kong’s Jason Gunawan 21-16, 21-17 in the last eight.

“In the second game, I lost my rhythm and focus but managed to bounce back in the decider. Tomorrow, I will take to the court without any pressure, so I will give it my everything,” said Aidil Sholeh.

Earlier, independent mixed doubles pair Chan Peng Soon-Cheah Yee See received a free passage into the semi-finals after Taiwan’s Wu Hsuan Yi-Yang Chu Yun withdrew due to injury.

The Malaysians, however, will face another Taiwanese pair – Chen Zhi Ray-Yang Ching Tun – in the last four.

Malaysia will have another mixed doubles pair in the last four after Choong Hon Jian-Go Pei Kee defeated Thailand’s Tanupat Viriyangkura-Alisa Sapniti 21-11, 21-12 to set up a semi-final date against another Thai pair – Pakkapon Teerarasakul-Phataimas Muenwong.

Malaysia’s challenge in women’s singles ended when K. Lesthanaa went down 13-21, 21-16, 12-21 to Kim Joo Eun of South Korea. -Bernama


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