It was another fighting display by mixed doubles pair Tan Kiang Meng-Lai Pei Jing that propelled them into the final in the Singapore Open at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Saturday.
The pair is now one step away from ending their two-year drought after dumping Indonesia’s No 7 seeds Hafiz Faizal-Gloria Emanuelle Widjaja 21-16, 20-22, 22-20 in a 71-minute thriller.
In the final, the Malaysians will face Thai No 3 seeds Dechapol Puavaranukroh-Sapsiree Taerattanachai who pulled off a major upset against China’s world No 1 Zheng Siwei-Huang Yaqiong with a shock 24-22, 21-19 win in 43 minutes.
The wins in their semifinals both sides have their confidence boosted. Pei Jing, however, Pei Jing rates Malaysia’s chances as a “50-50” but prefer to take the underdog tag once again.
Kian Meng-Pei Jing will also be driven to win the title for Malaysia for the second year running after Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai Jemie won the title last year by defeating Indonesia’s Ahmad Tontowi-Liliyana Natsir.
There was also an upset the men’s singles semi-final as Indonesia’s No 7 seed Anthony Ginting dethroned defending champion Chou Tien Chen of Chinese Taipei in three games – 21-17, 18-21, 211-14 in a 79-minute thriller.
Ginting will face reigning world champion Kento Momota. The top-seeded Momota blew away Europe’s last hope Viktor Axelsen with a 21-15, 21-18 win over the Dane. Momota was yellow carded by the umpire for delaying the game before clinching the win.
The women’s singles final will be between world No 1 Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei who staved off a late fightback by Japan’s Akane Yamaguchi for a 15-21, 24-22, 21-19 win.
Tzu Ying will play Japan’s No 2 seed Nozomi Okuhara for the title. Okuhara thrashed India’s P.V. Sindhu 21-7, 21-11.
There was also an upset in the men’s doubles when world No 1 Marcus Fernaldi Gideon-Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo of Indonesia fell in the semi-finals – losing 21-13, 10-21, 19-21 in 48 minutes to Japan’s Takeshi Kamura-Keigo Sonoda. RIZAL ABDULLAH