IT was the end of the road for Malaysia as both mixed doubles Chen Tang Jie-Toh Ee Wei and men’s doubles pair Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi crashed out of the PETRONAS Malaysia Open after losing their respective quarterfinal encounters at Axiata Arena here, tonight.
While Tang Jie-Ee Wei had shown convincing play in the first game before losing tamely 21-19, 21-9 at the hands of Thailand’s world number 3 pair, Dechapol Puavaranukroh-Sapsiree Taerattanachai, Malaysia’s independent pair Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi put up a gallant fight against world No.1, Fajar Alfian-Muhammad Rian Ardianto before going down 21-14, 16-21, 17-2.
Tang Jie-Ee Wei had given some hope after taking the first game but were rattled after a series of unforced errors, eventually losing with a close 21-19 in the second game.
“It could have been a different story if we had won the first set, the opportunity was there…we gave them a good fight but in the second game, we lost momentum and the Thais capitalised on our mistakes,” said Tang Jie, adding that qualifying for the quarterfinals of the Super 1000 tournament itself was a feat for them.
“It motivates us to come back stronger for other tournaments this year,” he said.
Meanwhile, roared on by the home crowd, Yew Sin-Ee Yi, fought a hard battle, stretching Fajar-Rian into a three-game marathon that eventually favoured the Indonesians.
“It was a good match, a 50-50 duel but Fajar-Rian played well consistently throughout the match. We need to improve and be more solid,” said Yew Sin.
Top seed Viktor Axelsen stayed on course for his first crown of the season after e easy 21-6, 1-12 win over Japan’s Kenta Nishimoto in just 38 minutes.
Former world champion, Loh Kean Yew and world No.4 Anthony Ginting’s hopes were dashed after falling at the hands of Thailand’s Kunlavut Vitidsarn and Japanese Kanta Tsunemaya respectively.
Vitdsarn, needed 80 minutes before concluding a hard-fought battle over the Singaporean ace, winning 21-11, 20-22, 21-14 – his third win over Kean Yew in their last four encounters.
The Thai now meets Kodai Naraoka, the young Japanese rising star who continues to shine with victory over India’s Prannoy H.S. Naraoke was forced into a rubber after winning the first game over Prannoy, but capitalise on the Indian’s mistakes to confirm his place in the last four with a 21-16, 19-21, 21-10 victory.
Tsuneyama, ranked 26th, continued his good run in the Super 1000 tournament after defeating world No.4 Ginting, 21-14, 21-16 in a duel that lasted 50 minutes. “It was a tight match but Tsuneyama was excellent with his shots today. Everything was on spot, he deserved to win,” said Ginting, who also stumbled in last year’s quarterfinal at the hands of Victor Axelsen.
In the women’s singles, top seed Akane Yamaguchi had no trouble against Denmark’s Mia Blichfeldt, winning 21-12, 21-11 over, to set up a clash against arch-rival and third seed Tai Tzu Ying. The Taiwanese beat compatriot Hsu Wen Chi 21-6, 21-8.
In the other quarterfinals, Korea’s world No.4, An Se Young stretched her winning record over Wang Zhi Yi to 4-1, defeating the 8th world-ranked player 21-17, 16-21, 21-19 in a pulsating 77-minute duel. Se Young is up against fourth seed and China’s world No. 2 Chen Yufei, who was stretched to a 57-minute encounter before getting the upper hand over Spain’s Carolina Marin’s 21-18, 21-19.
Top seed Chen Qing Chen-Jia Yi Fan as expected were also through, but not before a stiff fight by the Stoeva sisters, Gabriela and Stefanie. The Chinese world No.1 needed 50 minutes to force out the Bulgarians, handing them a 21-17, 21-17 defeat to take on Indonesia’s rising combination Apriyani Rahaya-Siti Fadhia Ramadhanti in the semi-finals.
Apriyani-Siti Fadhia made it into the last four after shocking third seed Kim So Yeong-Kong Hee Yong of Korea in a three-game match of 22-20, 21-15 in 62 minutes.
Yuta Watanabe-Arisa Higashino had no trouble confirming their mixed doubles semi-finals ticket, winning against Seo Seung Jae-Chae Yu Jung 21-17, 21-17, ensuring their 5-3 record over the Korean pair.
Semifinal line-up (Saturday, 14 Jan)
(1) Viktor Axelsen (DEN) vs Kanta Tsuneyama (JPN)
(8) Kunvalut Vitidsarn (THA) vs Kodai Naraoka (JPN)
(1) Akane Yamaguchi (JPN) vs (3) Tai Tzu Ying (TPE)
(4) Chen Yufei (CHN) vs (2) AN Se Young (KOR)
Kang Min Hyuk-Seo Seung Jae (KOR) vs (3) Fajar Alfian-Rian Ardianto (INA) 14-21, 21-16, 21-15
(7) Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chrig Shetty (IND) vs Liang Wei Keng-Wang Chang (CHN)
(1)Chen Qing Chen-Jia Yi Fan (CHN) vs Apriyani Rahayu-Siti Fadhia Ramadhanti (INA)
Zhang Shu Xian-Zheng Yu (CHN) vs Baek Ha Na-Lee Yu Lim (KOR)
(1)Zheng Si Wei-Huang Ya Qiong (CHN) vs Dejan Ferdinansyah-Gloria Emanuelle Widjaja (INA)
(3)Yuta Watanabe-Arisa Higashino (JPN) vs Dechapol Puavaranukroh-Sapsiree Taerattanachai