Top seed Li Xuerui of China marched into the women’s singles quarter-finals in the USD500,000 Maybank Malaysia Open with a hard fought three-set 21-16, 10-21, 21-17 win over Japan’s Akane Yamaguchi in a second round match at the Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil on Thursday.
In the quarter-finals on Friday it will be an all-China affair with Li Xuerui facing No 5 seed Wang Yihan for a place in Saturday’s semi-finals. Yihan defeated Taiwan’s Pai Yu Po 21-13, 21-17 in her second round match.
Xuerui, the reigning Olympic champion, has lost her World No 1 ranking to India’s Saina Nehwal and dropped to No 3 in the latest ranking list issued by the Badminton World Federation.
“I am not in the least concerned with the rankings. I am on a mission. I want to head to the World Championships in Jakarta in August with confidence. At the same time, I want to win as many tournaments as possible to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics,” said Xuerui after her win over Akane.
“I got injured during the French Open last year and it affected my game. But I have recovered and back in competition. I lost the World No 1 status but it has not disturbed my concentration. Your rankings will go up if start winning tournaments. That’s what I aim to do.”
Xuerui added that she aims to live up to her billing as the top women single in the Malaysian Open this year.