Liew Daren turned in a fine performance to stun world number three Anders Antonsen 21-12, 21-18 in the opening round of the Yonex Thailand Open men’s singles event to record the tournament’s first major upset.
Liew's giant-killing feat was indeed a shocker, with the world number 41 only coming for this event as part of the reserves list and finding himself bumped into the main draw after a spate of COVID-19 pullouts.
The 33-year-old only needed 46 minutes for the victory, which he described as a “big surprise”.
“Before this tournament I was not sure if I was participating because I was on the reserves list. So to make it at the last minute and win against the third seed is a big surprise for me,” Liew told the Badminton World Federation.
Antonsen, who won the Denmark Open in October, was equally impressed by his conqueror: "I know he’s a good player, he can play like that on his best days. I hope to play better next week.”
Liew's victory saw him book a meeting with Hong Kong’s Lee Cheuk Yiu next.
Lee Zii Jia joined him in the next round after securing a 13-21, 21-14, 21- 8 win over India's H. S. Prannoy to face on another Indian shuttler, K. Srikanth.
Overall the Malaysian contingent fared well on day two of the tournament.
Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi put on a gallant show to oust Indian pair M.R.Arjun-Dhruv Kapila 13-21, 21-8, 24-22 in the men’s doubles event, while women’s doubles pair Chow Mei Kuan-Lee Meng Yean beat French duo Vimala Heriau-Margot Lambert 21-15, 21-18.
Vivian Hoo-Yap Cheng Wen also progressed courtesy of a 21-10, 21-11 victory over Russians Anastasiaa Akchurina-Olga Morozova, while Pearly Tan-M.Thinaah beat Thais Benyapa Aimsaard-Nuntakarn Aimsaard 21-19, 21-17.
In the mixed doubles event, Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing had little problems brushing aside Germans Daniel Hess-Linda Efler 21-14, 21-14.
The women's singles would not see any representation in the next round after S. Kisona and Soniia Cheah both lost.
Kisona had earlier been given a walkover over Saina Nehwal, who had tested positive for COVID-19, but the Indian shuttler was later given an all-clear to compete after her latest test showed she would not pose a threat to the tournament.
Saina went on to beat Kisona 21-15, 21-15, while Cheah lost to South Korea's An Se-young 21-15, 21-12.