MALAYSIA'S lack of depth in men's singles was cruelly exposed in the Singapore Open as Chong Wei Feng was the sole survivor after the first round at the Singapore Indoor Stadium yesterday.Wei Feng was the last Malaysian to go into battle after the rest of his compatriots -- Liew Daren, Arif Latif, Tan Chun Seang and Zulfadli Zulkifli all fell like tenpins just three days after World No 1 Lee Chong Wei had defended his Indonesia Open crown in Jakarta.
Wei Feng didn't have it easy against R.M.V. Gurusaidutt of India as he toiled for a 15-21, 21-18, 21-9 win in 56 minutes.
He will play Sai Praneeth, also of India, who upset second seed Hu Yun of Hong Kong 21-9, 21-10, in the second round today.
Daren had no answer to eighth seed Wang Zhengming of China, who had made Chong Wei struggle in the first round of the Indonesia Open, as he lost 21-15, 21-18 while Arif suffered a disappointing 17-21, 21-9, 21-12 loss to Rajiv Ouseph of England.
Chun Seang, an independent shuttler, fared poorly against world junior champion Kento Momota of Japan where he suffered a 21-15, 21-9 thrashing and Zulfadli also fell by the wayside after losing 21-12, 21-12 to Thailand's Boonsak Ponsana.
The Singapore Open was the last warm-up tournament for Wei Feng and Daren before the World Championships in Guangzhou on Aug 5-11 and the indications are clear that the BA of Malaysia (BAM) can depend on Chong Wei in the major event.
In the women's singles, Sonia Cheah's campaign also came to an end when she was beaten 17-21, 21-9, 21-17 by Sung Ji Hyun of South Korea in 56 minutes.
Men's doubles Goh V Shem-Lim Khim Wah also crashed out in the first round after losing 21-19, 21-12 to Indonesians Hendra Setiawan-Mohammad Ahsan.
However, Ong Jian Guo-Lim Yin Loo survived in the mixed doubles after beating Kang Ji Wook-Shin Seug Chan of South Korea 21-11, 10-21, 21-13 and will take on Ahmad Tontowi-Liliyana Natsir of Indonesia in the second round today.