Mixed doubles Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing lighted up the Axiata Arena with a remarkable show of ‘never say die’ attitude to keep Malaysia’s in the challenge alive in the USD700,000 Malaysia Open by reaching the semi-finals.
It was a show of grit and determination when the Malaysians roared back from the near defeat to clinch a 17-21, 21-16, 21-16 victory over Tontowi Ahmad-Winny Oktavina Kandow in 54 minutes.
A change in service by Pei Jing broke the rhythm of the Indonesians who simply could not find the answer against the newfound confidence of the Malaysians.
“This is fantastic. We were the last pair standing in the tournament and we are glad that we are still there to keep Malaysia’s challenge alive,” said Pei Jing.
And there is more to come from Kian Meng-Pei Jing in the semi-finals on Saturday. They get the chance for revenge against No 2 seeds Wang Yilyu-Huang Dongping of China.
The Chinese pair had earlier broken the hearts of the home fans despite an inspiring performance by No 5 seeds Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying. The Rio Olympics silver medallists fell to a 19-21, 21-16, 25-27 defeat to the Chinese after a marathon 83-minute battle.
“It is disappointing in every sense because we had opportunities to win but we were not able to ‘kill’ when it mattered most. Still, we are proud of ourselves that we gave our best,” said Liu Ying.
Statistics don’t favor Kian Meng-Pei Jing against Yilyu-Dongping who lead 5-0 in their previous five meetings.
“However, it could be different this time. Reaching the semi-finals is a big boost to our confidence. We are ready to do battle,” added Kian Meng.
Meanwhile, in the men’s singles, Indonesia’s Asian Games champion Jonatan Christie continued with his giant-killing feats when he packed off Denmark’s former world champion Viktor Axelsen in straight games – 21-18, 21-19 in 41 minutes.
A day earlier Christie had beaten reigning world champion and top seed Kento Momota of Japan in the second round.
Chinse legend Lin Dan showed that his competitive badminton days are far from over when he clawed back from a game down to beat Japan’s Kanta Tsuneyama 16-21, 21-17, 21-10.
Also through to the semis are his compatriots – second seed Shi Yuqi and reigning Olympics champion Chen Long.
Shi Yuqi defeated Japan’s Kenta Nishimoto 21-17, 21-16 while Chen Long ousted India’s K. Srikanth 21-18, 21-19. – BY RIZAL ABDULLAH