‘Mixed’ Fortunes for Malaysia – Day 3: Perodua Malaysia Masters 2018

Malaysia booked three spots in the Mixed Doubles quarter-finals of the Perodua Malaysia Masters 2018 today, with experienced warriors Chan Peng Soon and Goh Liu Ying capping a successful day for the hosts.

Chan and Goh (featured image) won a tense standoff against Denmark’s Mathias Christiansen and Christinna Pedersen to earn a last-eight place against Hong Kong’s Tang Chun Man/Tse Ying Suet. The other two Malaysian pairs – Tan Kian Meng/Lai Pei Jing and Goh Soon Huat/Shevon Jemie Lai – face each other for a spot in the semi-finals.

All three Malaysian victories came against difficult opponents. Tan/Lai outplayed Thailand’s Dechapol Puavaranukroh/Puttita Suprajirakul 21-16 21-17, while Goh/Lai overpowered Chinese Taipei’s Wang Chi-Lin/Lee Chia Hsin 21-16 21-8 in 30 minutes.

But it was Chan/Goh’s victory that brought the crowd to its feet. Proceedings in the third game were neck-and-neck, until Malaysia inched ahead thanks to great opportunism at the front by Goh, giving them a sniff of victory at 19-17.

But Chan had had his wayward spells, and a smash into the net threatened to undo all the hard work. Luckily for the Malaysians, match point came their way with two of Chan’s smashes skimming the net cord; his serve then caught Christiansen in two minds as he decided to leave the shuttle but lunged for it at the last moment.

At the top of the draw, top seeds Wang Yilyu/Huang Dongping and fifth seeds Zheng Siwei/Huang Yaqiong powered past their opponents in straight games.

Chan admitted that jitters had affected his game: “I was a bit nervous today. We had our moments but I wasn’t calm enough. It made the game very tough. They have been in two Superseries finals and play at a high standard but we were still able to win. We haven’t played such tough opponents in a while. So getting a win today gives us a huge boost.

“(Against Tang and Tse in the quarter-finals)… they’ve improved a lot. We can go into the match thinking we can beat them. We are not seeded and people think there’s no pressure but there always is.”

It was overall a good day for Malaysia, with Liew Daren (Men’s Singles); Goh Jin Wei and Lee Ying Ying (Women’s Singles) and Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong (Men’s Doubles) ensuring a strong local presence on quarter-finals day tomorrow.

Lee Ying Ying’s was an impressive feat, for the qualifier, ranked 49, made light of the big difference in ranking against Japan’s Aya Ohori (No.15) to emerge victorious at 21-18 17-21 21-11. The qualifier will have a tougher task tomorrow as she takes on fourth seed Carolina Marin (Spain).

Lee’s compatriot Goh Jin Wei had an easier time against Chinese Taipei’s Pai Yu Po, 21-11 21-11, which gave her a quarter-final spot against Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon.

Other quarter-finals will feature top seed Tai Tzu Ying (Chinese Taipei) against China’s Chen Yufei and second seed Akane Yamaguchi (Japan) against another Chinese, He Bingjiao.

With Men’s Singles spearhead Lee Chong Wei having unexpectedly fallen yesterday, Liew Daren stepped up and delivered for the home crowd. The qualifier emerged victorious from a hard-fought 70-minute battle against Korea’s Jeon Hyeok Jin, 21-17 19-21 21-16.

“Of course I didn’t expect to enter the quarter-finals coming from the qualifiers. Tomorrow (against Thailand’s Suppanyu Avihingsanon) it will be a 50-50 match as I beat him in Thailand last week,” said Liew.

Men’s Singles top seed Viktor Axelsen was in brutal touch against Sai Praneeth, dismissing the Indian 21-17 21-8, and will next take on Indonesia’s Jonatan Christie, who was given a tough workout by Malaysian youngster Lee Zii Jia.

Denmark’s Hans-Kristian Vittinghus had a close shave against Chinese Taipei’s Wang Tzu Wei, saving two match points in the second before cruising through in the end, 16-21 24-22 21-12.

“I’m both happy and unhappy with the second set,” said Vittinghus. “Because I had a good start and had it under control. He changed a few things, and I gave it away a bit too easy. I made it close and I needed a bit of luck on his match points to survive. I’m happy that I kept fighting and managed to win the second game. There are a few things I need to work on to make sure that I don’t lose the plot in the same way tomorrow.”

Vittinghus takes on Indonesia’s Anthony Ginting, who shut out his compatriot Anders Antonsen 21-14 21-14.

In Men’s Doubles, World champions Zhang Nan/Liu Cheng (China) will face Olympic silver medallists Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong (Malaysia) – the Chinese having little trouble quelling the challenge of Japan’s Hiroyuki Endo/Yuta Watanabe (21-11 21-13) while Goh/Tan were similarly dominant over compatriots Ong Yew Sin/Teo Ee Yi (21-17 21-17).

Two Chinese Taipei pairs made the top quarter – Liao Min Chun/Su Ching Heng with a close 18-21 21-14 22-20 win over Indonesia’s Berry Angriawan/Hardianto, and Chen Hung Ling/Wang Chi-Lin with a similarly tight verdict over China’s Lu Kai/Wang Yilyu.

In Women’s Doubles, new Chinese pair Huang Dongping/Li Wenmei got the better of eighth seeds Vivian Hoo/Woon Khe Wei (Malaysia) 21-14 21-18 and will take on Japan’s Yuki Fukushima/Sayaka Hirota, who prevailed in a tight second game against Indonesia’s Anggia Shitta Awanda/Mahadewi Istirani Ni Ketut, 21-15 22-20.

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