Home hopefuls Tan Kian Meng and Lai Pei Jing struck big on the opening day of the Celcom Axiata Malaysia Open 2019, beating third seeds Yuta Watanabe and Arisa Higashino.
The Japanese, who were runners-up at the All England, were run over by the rampant Malaysians 21-16 21-15. Tan and Lai next take on India’s Pranaav Jerry Chopra/Sikki Reddy, who beat Ireland’s Sam Magee/Chloe Magee in a close match, 22-20 24-22.
In the same half of the draw, Indonesia’s Ricky Karandasuwardi/Pia Zebadiah Bernadet scraped past Russia’s Rodion Alimov/Alina Davletova by the narrowest of margins. The Indonesians saved three match points at the end of a tense final game, before converting their own fourth opportunity: 21-18 13-21 25-25.
Match of the Day
In women’s doubles, Korea’s Chang Ye Na and Jung Kyung Eun pulled themselves out of a dire situation against China’s Li Wenmei/Zheng Yu. The Chinese led by a game and 18-11 before the Koreans reeled off seven points in a row.
The third game too was a tight affair and China had match point, but Zheng Yu served into the net. The experienced Koreans grabbed the lifeline and squeezed through, 16-21 23-21 22-20.
Second seeds Misaki Matsutomo/Ayaka Takahashi needed three games to get past young Chinese Chen Lu/Xu Ya, but their compatriots Ayako Sakuramoto/Yukiko Takahata weren’t as fortunate, falling in a close third game to China’s Du Yue/Li Yinhui 15-21 21-11 23-21.
“Actually, I didn’t think too much when I cut my hair, I just felt like getting rid of two years of bad luck. Who knew that was all I needed to change our fortune!” – Tan Kian Meng jokes to the media after the Malaysians beat the third seeds.
Did You Know?
Hans-Kristian Vittinghus fell to his 12th straight defeat against Chen Long. The last – and only – time the Dane beat the Chinese was almost ten years ago.