National Shuttler Leong Jun Hao Sweeps Second World Tour Championship Title
BY: Michelle Liew
Leong Jun Hao, the prominent men's singles player representing the nation, clinched his second World Tour championship by emerging victorious at the 2023 Kuala Lumpur Masters Badminton Championship.
The final match, held at Titiwangsa Stadium, witnessed the second-seeded player's remarkable performance as he secured a straight-set triumph with scores of 22-20 and 21-13 against Taiwan's Lee Chia Hao. Jun Hao, a native of Kuala Lumpur, took control of the first set with an 11-6 lead and eventually sealed the win, overcoming his 37th-ranked opponent by a two-point margin.
Despite Chia Hao's attempts to stage a comeback in the second set, his errors at the net cost him dearly, leading to Jun Hao's victory. This achievement marked Jun Hao's second World Tour title, following his previous triumph at the Indonesian Masters in Malang in October the previous year.
Reflecting on his victory, Jun Hao shared his feelings about the tournament, acknowledging the pressure and high expectations placed upon him. He emphasized his focus and determination, ensuring he stayed concentrated throughout the game until the very last point.
Additionally, in the mixed doubles category, the national professional duo of Chan Peng Soon and Cheah Yee See secured a hard-fought win against Thailand's Pakkapon Teeraratsakul and Phataimas Muenwong.
The duo faced a challenging battle, winning the first set 21-9, losing the second set 17-20, and ultimately emerging victorious with a 21-10 win in the third set after a 62-minute intense match. This success marked their first title in six years since their victory at the 2017 Russian Open.
Meanwhile, the hopes of the national professional men's doubles pair, Low Hang Yee and Ng Eng Cheong, were dashed as they fell short in their pursuit of their first World Tour series title. The third-seeded duo faced tough competition from the Taiwanese representatives, Chen Cheng Kuan and Chen Sheng Fa, ultimately losing with scores of 21-23 and 17-21.