Champions Malaysia move ominously on | india | Hindustan Times
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Champions Malaysia move ominously on

india Updated: Oct 05, 2010 23:55 IST
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Malaysia's defence of their Commonwealth title carried them into the quarter-finals when they scored their third clean sweep victory of the team event, 5-0 against Nigeria.

The champions had so much to spare, as they should do in all their group matches, that they were able to progress comfortably even without their world number one Lee Chong Wei.

Instead the men's singles slot was taken by Muhammad Hafiz Hashim, the former All-England champion, who started in second gear but gradually got well on top in a 21-15, 21-9 win over Joseph Abah.

"It was really good to win for the team," said Hashim, who clearly enjoyed briefly escaping the shadow of the best player in the world. "We really want to win this title again, but I think that England, India and Singapore will all be tough competitors."

Malaysia's best women's singles player, Wong Mew Chew, an individual silver medallist four years ago in Melbourne, was also given a rest.

Her place was taken by Lydia Cheah, a 21-year-old from Kuala Lumpur who was runner-up in the Copenhagen Masters at the end of last year and who won the opening encounter emphatically.

Sometimes before tournaments Cheah cuts her hair, she says, as a form of superstition, and must have done so on this occasion, for she both played and talked a confident match.

"I put no pressure on myself, I just try my best," Cheah said after a 21-7, 21-9 win over Hajara Braimah. "This is very important, and I have trained for so long. "In fact I have been training for most of this year, but I am not going to make it harder for myself mentally."

Chin Eei Hui, who forms the sixth best women's doubles pair in the world with the injured wong Pei Tty, wrapped up Malaysia's 3-0 winning lead in partnership with Wong's replacement.

This was another 21-year-old Woon Khe Wei, who won a gold medal at last year's South East Asia Games in Laos, and who fitted in relaxedly in a 21-4, 21-7 win over Susan Ideh and Hajara Braimah.

Malaysia's other winners were Tan Boon Heong and Chan Peng Soon in the men's doubles and Koo Kien Keat and Goh Liu Ying in the mixed doubles.

The favourites now have one group match remaining, against Australia on Wednesday, which they need to win to finish in top place.

Meanwhile Canada kept in contention to qualify from Group C when they scored their second win, by 5-0 against Mauritius, but will have to play two matches tomorrow, one of them against the third-seeded former champions England.

Earlier India's new badminton heroine Saina Nehwal led the home country closer to a quarter-final place in the team event with another one-sided win.

Nehwal, the only Indian woman ever to have won a Super Series title, was again far too strong for a part-time opponent as the host nation scored its second 5-0 in succession.

The 20-year-old world number three won 21-3, 21-6 against Mariama Eastland.