Rookies Progress, Big Guns Fire – All England: Day 3

Emerging Malaysian pair Aaron Chia, 22, and Soh Wooi Yik, 21, broke through for a maiden Super 1000 semifinal defeating China’s Liu Cheng and Zhang Nan 21-19 17-21 21-11 in their men’s doubles quarterfinal.

It came on a night where Dane Viktor Axelsen franked his early season form, progressing to his first Yonex All England Open semi after three consecutive quarterfinal defeats from 2015 to 2017.

Earlier, China’s Chen Yufei and Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara eased through their fixtures to ensure the top four women’s seeds qualified for the weekend’s action.

Match of the Session

Chia and Soh capitalised on an open half of the draw to announce themselves as contenders for the YONEX All England Open Badminton Championships 2019.

They were too strong for Liu and Zhang who sent shockwaves through the competition when knocking out World No.1’s Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo on Wednesday.

Despite dropping the second game, the Malaysians enjoyed the fast conditions and dominated the decider to hand Malaysia a second pairing in Saturday’s semis, after Goh Soon Huat and Lai Shevon Jemie had earlier stunned mixed doubles second seeds Wang Yilyu/Huang Dongping (China).

It’s an impressive feat for Chia and Soh, whose previous best efforts came at the Perodua Malaysian Masters 2019 (semifinal) and SaarLorLux Open 2018 (runner-up).

Chia said afterwards: “We felt the shuttle was slightly faster today and that was advantageous to us as it suited our attacking style.”

They now play Muhammad Rian Ardianto and Fajar Alfian of Indonesia. “We have played the Indonesians before but we’ll study their videos again.”

Soh and Chia celebrate their win.

Heavyweight Showdown

Former world champion Axelsen was tested early against compatriot Jan O Jorgensen but won the key points to prevail 23-21 21-18 and set up a highly-anticipated semifinal against defending champion China’s Shi Yuqi.

Yuqi had earlier dismantled Kanta Tsuneyama of Japan 21-14 21-7.

Yuqi said: “Obviously Viktor is an incredible player so I am really looking forward to a great match with him. He has beaten me twice already in our three games together so I really want to make it even and get to the final.”

Other Results

  • Indonesia’s Praveen Jordan/Melati Daeva Oktavianti surprised Thai third seeds Dechapol Puavaranukroh/Sapsiree Taerattanachai 16-21 21-12 21-17.
  • Japanese third seeds Yuki Fukushima/Sayaka Hirota and Bulgarian sisters Gabriela Stoeva/Stefani Stoeva celebrated International Women’s Day in style with an epic women’s doubles clash. Fukushima/Hirota eventually prevailed 17-21 21-15 21-19 in 80 minutes.

 

Talking Point

“We are intentionally very loud on the court as it makes us very motivated. It fires us up and helps us through the game. I think it also unnerves our opposition as they get nervous and overwhelmed.” – Takeshi Kamura on his on-court presence with partner Keigo Sonoda.

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