Last Malaysian pillars crumble at Axiata Arena

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Wang Yilyu-Huang Dongping

They were the hopes of the nation but Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing just could not break down the Great Wall as China dashed Malaysia’s hopes of featuring in at least one of the five finals – the mixed doubles.
 
Despite their going down in straight games 13-21, 17-21 to China’s No 2 seeds Wang Yilyu-Huang Dongping, Kian Meng-Pei Jing stood tall during the 35 minutes they battled on the court.
 
It was a creditable performance from the 38th ranked Malaysians against the second-ranked  Chinese on a day when China qualified for four finals except for the women’s singles.
 
The women’s singles final will feature defending champion and World No 1 Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei and fourth seed Akane Yamaguchi of Japan.
 
Tzu Ying exacted sweet revenge on China’s Chen Yufei for her defeat in this year’s All-England final with a 21-14, 21-19 win in 34 minutes. Yamaguchi shocked No 2 seed and former world champion Nozomi Okuhara 21-15, 22-20 in an all-Japan encounter.
The men’s singles will see five-time world champion and two-time Olympics gold medallist Lin Dan face Chen Long for the title. Lin Dan stood his ground in his 65-minute battle against compatriot and No 2 seed Shi Yuqi before prevailing 21-9, 16-21, 21-12.
Olympic champion Chen Long denied Asian Games champion Jonatan Christie in an equal thriller for a 21-12, 10-21, 21-15 win – in his ninth Malaysia  Open.
Defending champions Takeshi Kamura-Keigo Sonoda of Japan overcame a tough second game to advance to their second successive final with a 21-13, 22-20 win over Indonesia’s Fajar Alfian-Muhammad Rian Ardianto in 39 minutes.
They will face China’s No 2 seeds Li Junhui-Liu Yuchen who denied Takuro Hoki-Yugo Kobayashi an all-Japan final with a come-from-behind 13-21, 21-19, 21-15 win. – BY RIZAL ABDULLAH
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