The Year of the Metal Rat seems to bring in the “Ong” (Luck) for Malaysia’s newly minted professionals Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi when they marched into the men’s doubles final in the USD170,000 Princess Sirivannavari Thailand Masters in Bangkok on Saturday.

This is their first final this season for the duo after being dropped from the national team by the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) for not reaching the KPI when the national body took stock of Malaysia’s decline in the shuttle sport.

At the Huamark Indoor Stadium, Yew Sin-Ee Yi roared into the final in only 25 minutes with a 21-11, 21-18 win over Lee Jhe Huei-Yang Po Hsuan of Chinese Taipei. They will face China’s Huang Kai Xiang-Liu Cheng who dumped fourth seeds and Rio Olympics silver medallists Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong 21-15, 21-11 in 43 minutes- thanks of the uncharacteristic mistakes by the 12th ranked Malaysian professionals.

On Friday the BAM announced their squads for the Thomas Cup (men) and Uber Cup (women). Included in the Thomas Cup squad are Yew Sin-Ee Yi as Malaysia eyes a semi-final slot in the Badminton Asia Team Championships to be held in Manila from Feb 11-16.
The Asian Championships will also serve as the Thomas Cup and Uber Cup qualifiers.

Yew Sin-Ee Yi lifted the gloom in Bangkok after both Malaysian pairs in the mixed doubles failed to make the final. Third seeds Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai Jemie lost direction after winning the first game against England’s sixth seeds Marcus Ellis-Lauren Smith and went down 21-19-21, 19-21, 22-24 in a 74-minute thriller.

It was also heartbreak for eighth seeds Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing. The world No 11 were beaten 21-19, 21-23, 21-17 in 70 minutes by Indonesia’s eighth-ranked Hafiz Faizal-Gloria Emanuelle Widjaja – their third defeat in four meetings.RIZAL ABDULLAH 

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