Mixed doubles badminton pair Neo and Danny off to winning start
His injured ankle grounded him for two months and missed out on tournaments like the All England Open last month with his mixed doubles partner Vanessa Neo.
They resumed playing badminton a few weeks ago and, after winning their first-round match at the OUE Singapore Open at the Singapore Indoor Stadium last night, shuttler Danny Bawa Chrisnanta was in an upbeat mood.
"Our opponents (Choi Sol Kyu and Chae Yoo Jung) in the next round had homeground support when they beat us at the Korea Open, so support is very important," said the 25-year-old, who injured himself during the Syed Modi International Badminton Championships in India in January.
"If your normal jump is one-metre high, with good support, you can jump twice that height!"
While the world No. 17-ranked pair exited the first rounds of the India and Malaysia Opens over the last two weeks, they successfully negotiated their first match here against Taiwan's Liao Min-chun and Chen Hsiao-huan, but not without drama.
The Singaporeans took the first game 21-16, but dropped the second 13-21. They recovered from the setback on Court One to take the rubber game 21-15 to win the match.
Chrisnanta said: "We were confident after winning the first game but lost at the start of the second. That had a big effect on us because we put ourselves under some pressure after that.
"But we re-focused for the third game, where we knew a good start was important."
Neo, 27, added: "It was harder in the second game because of the draught. We could push the shuttle successfully in the first game, but the shuttle would go out of court when we tried in the second (after switching sides)."
The Singaporeans will meet South Korean pair Choi and Chae tomorrow.
Meanwhile, women's doubles pair Deline Quek and Ong Ren-ne, and men's doubles tandem Hendra Wijaya and Terry Hee were the only Singaproeans to progress beyond the qualifiers yesterday.
Hendra and Hee beat Philippines' Philip Joper Escueta and Ronel Estanislao 21-17, 21-12 to book a meeting with South Korea's Choi Sol Kyu and Ko Sung Hyun today.
Deline and Ren-ne, both 17, beat Malaysia's Payee Lim and Lim Peiy Zhean 21-19, 20-22, 25-23 and will take on South Korea's Lee So Hee and Shin Seung Chan today.
Deline said: "We are very happy because it is the first time we've made it to the main draw, and we are predominantly singles players and had to adjust to the doubles playing style."
It was bad news, however, for the Republic's top men's singles shuttler Derek Wong.
While the world No. 42 beat Indonesia's Fikri Ihsandi Hadmadi 13-21, 21-17, 21-19 in the first qualifier, he lost to Malaysia's Mohamad Arif Abdul Latif 21-12, 21-16 in the second qualifying match.
On the second match, Wong said: "I've played against him a number of times and his control of the net has always been good.
"I thought I improved against him today, but the netting part was still lacking.
"He controlled the net, and I couldn't be faster than him.
"There's nothing really I can do.
"He's a very steady player and his control of the net has consistently been very good."