IT was a joyous day for Malaysia as two national doubles pairs sensationally checked into the semi-finals of the PERODUA Malaysia Masters presented by DAIHATSU at Axiata Arena here, tomorrow.
Women’s doubles pair Pearly Tan-Thinaah Muralitharan led the way with victory over Japanese world No.9 Yuki Fukushima/Sayaka Hirota while young pair Man Wei Chong-Tee Kai Wun defeated Mohamad Ahsan/Hendra Setiawan of Indonesia to join the last four.
It could have been four for Malaysia but second seed Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik were handed a shocking defeat by Indonesian pair Leo Rolly Carnando-Daniel Marthin while sixth seed Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi’s hopes were dashed after struggling and eventually succumbing to lower-ranked rivals Kang Min Hyuk-Seo Seung Jae.
They lost 21-15, 16-21, 14-21.
Hopes are now high on Man-Tee and Pearly-Thinaah to end Malaysia’s four-year title drought in the tournament.
Pearly-Thinaah were first to check into the semis after winning an energy-sapping duel over Fukushima-Hirota which lasted close to two hours.
The Malaysians are set to clash against Korean Jeong Na Eun-Kim Hye Jeong in tomorrow’s semi-final.
After going down 13-21 in the first game, the Malaysians got back on their feet to take the second game and forced a rubber after 70 minutes of play.
Just as the Japanese seemed to be heading for victory, the duo dig deep, putting up a spirited and determined display to seal a hard-earned 13-21, 21-19, 21-16 victory, their third feat over the Japanese in six meetings.
“It was really tough… I was too tired and felt like I couldn’t stand anymore. However, I don’t want to disappoint Thinaah, my coaches and my family who are also here to watch the match,” said a worn-out Pearly after the match.
“We fought till the end, we refuse to give in easily…we gave our best to win each point and it pays off,” said Thinaah.
Second seed Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik, who held a 5-1 advantage over eighth seed Leo Rolly Carnando-Daniel Marthin were involved in a tight battle but failed to match the speed and aggressiveness of the Indonesian pair before eventually losing 21-18, 21-19.
“Against Leo and Marthin, it has always been a tough and close tussle, and today, they played better,” said Wooi Yik.
Man Wei Chong-Tee Kai Wun continued their fine run in the tournament, surpassing expectations with their shocking quarterfinal victory over experienced doubles shuttle Mohamad Ahsan/Hendra Setiawan.
It was the young pair’s best achievement this year, checking into their first semi-finals in the World Tour after defeating the World. No 6 Indonesians in straight sets of 23-21, 21-17.
“We’ve made some preparation including video analysis before going to the court to face Ahsan/Hendra. We played lots of rallies to win points and remained cautious and focussed throughout the match,” said Man.
Ong and Teo could not hide their disappointment in losing their tie but accepted defeat in good spirits, saying that they will do back to drawing back to chart plans for Thailand Open.
“Yes, we’re disappointed over the results but will continue to work hard for our upcoming tournaments. We’re a bit exhausted but remained positive and will prepare hard for our next campaign in Thailand Open,” said Ong.
Meanwhile, the men’s singles semi-finals match-ups will see Indonesia’s world-ranked 57th Christian Adinata taking on India’s H.S. Prannoy while Taiwan’s Lin Chun-Yi shocked fifth seed Kodai Naraoka (world No.3) in a two-hour battle to set up a battle against China’s Wong Hong Yang (world No.34).
Japan’s world No.1 Akane Yamaguchi lived up to her reputation to meet fourth seed Han Yu of China while Pusarla V. Sindhu endured a hard battle to check into the semi-finals against seventh seed Gregoria Mariska Tunjung of Indonesia.
There were upsets in the women’s doubles too as top seed Nami Matsuyama/Chiharu Shida faltered at the hands of Korean pair Baek Ha Na-Lee So Hee who face seventh seed Mayu Matsumoto/Wakana Nagahara in tomorrow’s semi-finals while Malaysians Pearly/Thinaah will square off against fifth seed Jeong Na Eun-Kim Hye Jeong.
In the mixed doubles, Thailand’s Supak Jomkoh-Supissara Paewsampran meet fourth seed Feng Yan Zhe-Huang Dong Ping while third seed Seo Seung-jae-Kang Min-hyuk takes on favourites Deechapol Puavaranukroh-Sapsiree Taerattanachai.