National doubles pair Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik and Pearly Tan-Thinaah Muralitharan kept Malaysia’s flag flying with contrasting wins to check into the quarterfinals of the PERODUA Malaysia Masters presented by DAIHATSU at Axiata Arena, today.
However, Malaysia’s men’s singles challenge ended with Lee Zii Jii, who was not in his best condition, suffering a shocking loss to world no.24, Lin Chun-Yi in an energy-sapping battle which ended 21-19,16-21, 21-15 in favour of the Taiwanese.
It was a rewarding day for Malaysia’s doubles department when all three men’s doubles pair, led by Aaron-Soh, were through to the last eight with Pearly-Thinaah joining from the women’s doubles.
Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi and Man Wei Chon-Kai Wun Tee were the other two pairs who were through, raising hopes for Malaysia to end its four-year title drought in the tournament.
While Aaron-Soh played commandingly to oust their Korean rivals Choi Sol Gyu-Kim Won Ho 21-19,21-14 in just 38 minutes, Pearly-Thinaah were forced to dig deep into their reserves before upstaging Japanese pair Reyna Miyaura-Ayako Sakuramoto in a nervy rubber battle which saw the Malaysians 21-17, 18-21, 21-19 in a marathon 80-minute duel.
“We were prepared for a tough game today as this is our first meeting against the Japanese pair. But in the end, we kept our hopes high, and play hard to cover all angles and in the end, it pays off. We’re thankful to the fans who came out and support us all the way, hopefully, tomorrow, it will be even more than today,” said Thinaah after the match.
Pearly-Thinaah face a tricky path to the semifinals as they have to get past fourth seed Yuki Fukushima-Sayaka Hirota (who defeated Korean pair Lee Yu Lim-Shin Seung Chan) in tomorrow’s quarterfinal tie.
Sixth seed, Ong-Teo sealed Malaysia’s other spot in the quarterfinals after defeating Lu Ching Yao-Yang Po Han in a close 15-21,21-12, 21-19 win. They will be up against world no.16 Kang Min Hyuk-Seo Seung Jae in tomorrow’s crucial tie.
“It was an even match…but we kept our focus on each point, especially in the crucial third game. It’ll be another tough match against the Koreans tomorrow, but for now, we’ll just concentrate to be in top shape tomorrow,” said Ong.
Zii Jia, who has not been feeling well in the last two days, clearly struggled with his unfavourable body conditions, failing to match Chun-Yi’s long rallies and forcing him into committing error after error.
Man-Kai, meanwhile, bounced back from a game down to overcome Scotland’s Alexander Dunn-Adam Hall 19-21, 21-16, 21-13 and will now have to be in their best shape against experienced pair and third seed Mohamad Ahsan-Hendra Setiawan of Indonesia in tomorrow’s quarterfinal tie.
In the other quarterfinal match-ups, Indonesia’s Christian Adinata faces India’s Kidambi Srikanth, Kenta Nishimoto of Japan takes on Prannoy H.S. while Taiwan’s Lin Chun-Yi is up against Japan’s Kodai Naraoka. Hong Kong’s Ng Ka Long is set to meet Weng Hong Yang of China.
In the women’s singles, top seed Akane Yamaguchi is up against Canadian Michelle Li while fourth seed Han Yue faces Busanan Ongbamrungphan.
India’s Pusarla V. Sindhu also made it into the last eight, takes on China’s Zhang Yi Man while Indonesia’s Gregoria Mariska Tunjung of Indonesia faces second seed China‘s Wang Zhiyi.
Top favourites Takuro Hoki-Yugo Kobayashi sailed through, setting a clash against Tai Chang Ko-Chi-Po Li-Wei of Taiwan while Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik is set to do battle against eighth seed Leo Carnando-Daniel Marthin of Indonesia.
Top seed Nami Matsuyama-Chiharu Shida of Japan will have Korea’s Baek Ha Na-Lee So Hee as their opponent in the women’s doubles, while seventh seed Mayu Matsumoto-Wakana Nagahara are up against Hsu Ya Ching-Lin Wan Ching of Taiwan.
Expect an exciting encounter between second seed Apriyani Rahayu-Siti Fadhia Ramadhanti of Indonesia and Korea’s Jeong Na Eun-Kim Hye Jeong.
The PERODUA Malaysia Masters presented by DAIHATSU is the first tournament which offers ranking points for qualification for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.