Badminton: Ryan Ng scores biggest win, aims to fill singles void

Ryan Ng, 18, hopes to fill the void left by recently retired Derek Wong, Singapore's top men's singles shuttler.
Ryan Ng, 18, hopes to fill the void left by recently retired Derek Wong, Singapore's top men's singles shuttler.

National shuttler Ryan Ng made the most of a new scoring system to win his maiden international title.

The 18-year-old was crowned champion at the Malaysia International Youth Under-19 tournament in Terengganu on Saturday, beating Malaysia's Sim Fong Hau 9-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-9.

The win, which included victory over home favourite and world junior No. 5 Lee Zii Jia in the semi-finals, followed a final appearance at the India Junior International the previous week.

His recent run will place the 11th-ranked Singaporean among the world's top 10 juniors.

The two events were his first taste at competing under the new 11-point, five-game scoring format under trial by the Badminton World Federation.

He said: "It makes the game much shorter, more intense and requires a lot more focus. But it makes me treasure every point (more) and be patient. My style has always been aggressive so I feel the 11-point format is to my advantage."

Still, it took mental fortitude for the Republic Polytechnic sport and leisure management student to ignore previous head-to-head records against some opponents in the draw.

That included taking Malaysian Tan Jia Wei to the decider in the quarter-finals, winning 12-10, 11-5, 9-11, 6-11, 11-7. It was his first win over Tan in four encounters.

Said Ng, the third seed: "I played with a much clearer mindset this time. But I just focused this time on playing to my very best."

The result will be a boost for Ng, who left for Jakarta this morning to compete in the Pembangunan Jaya Raya Junior Grand Prix, another U-19 event.

It is also welcome news following the recent retirement of two-time Olympian Derek Wong, Singapore's top men's singles player who reached a career-high world ranking of No. 37.

"This is a big boost for me," said world No. 277 Ng. "Derek has always been a big brother to all of us, and I just want to train hard and try to fill the void that he's left behind."

Said coach Kelvin Ho: "Ryan has really showed maturity these two weeks. He's very clear in what he wants to do on court.

"Derek has set a very high standard so there's still some way to go for Ryan in terms of consistency and court movement. But he has played well."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 12, 2016, with the headline 'Ng scores biggest win, aims to fill singles void'. Print Edition | Subscribe