KUALA LUMPUR: The China Masters in Lingshui, proved that independent shuttlers are still in with a chance to make the Thomas Cup squad as the prestigious takes place next month in Bangkok, Thailand.
Apart from reigning national men's singles champion Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin, the other two players who did reasonably well in the competition were former BA of Malaysia (BAM) shuttlers Liew Daren and Chong Wei Feng.
Both Iskandar and Daren, crashed out in the quarter-finals on Friday, while Wei Feng, went down fighting (21-17, 16-21, 23-21) in the last four to Taiwan's Lin Yu Hsien.
BAM honorary secretary Datuk Ng Chin Chai, when contacted today (Sunday), said: "Independent players have always got a chance to play in major events.
"Having said that, it will be up to the respective head coaches to propose their recommendations."
It is understood, that the closing date for players nomination for the Thomas and Uber Cup, is on May 6.
Based on world rankings, the top two Malaysian players are Gold Coast Commonwealth Games gold medalist Lee Chong Wei (World No 7) and Lee Zii Jia (No 45).
These two, along with Iskandar (No 49) are likely to be the first three men's singles for the Thomas Cup.
With the fourth singles spot still up for grabs, many -- including former national coaches -- have called for the national body to consider the more experienced Daren (No 46) or Wei Feng (No 48) ahead of former Asian junior champion Leong Jun Hao, who recently bagged his maiden senior crown at the Finnish Open last week.
For the Thomas Cup this year, Malaysia have been drawn in Group D, alongside defending champions Denmark, Russia and Algeria.
Meanwhile in the China Open men's singles final, Yu Hsien claimed the crown after seeing off local shuttler Lu Guangzu 12-21, 21-12, 21-14.
Former Olympic champion Li Xuerui of China, who was forced to be sidelined after the Rio Olympic Games due to injury, made a superb comeback, as she won the women's singles title after clawing her way back from a game down to beat South Korea's Kim Ga Eun 16-21, 21-16, 21-18.