Christie, Lin Dan in Semifinals – Malaysia Open: Day 4

Jonatan Christie stopped in-form Viktor Axelsen in straight games to make the semifinals of the Celcom Axiata Malaysia Open 2019 today.

The Indonesian held off a stiff challenge from the Dane, winning 21-18 21-19 on the 41st minute after Axelsen dived in vain for a shuttle at the net.

Christie faces China’s Chen Long, while the other semifinal will see Lin Dan take on younger compatriot Shi Yuqi. This will be Christie’s second Malaysia Open semifinal after 2016, where he – interestingly– faced Chen Long.

Lin’s run of form continued, as he reached his first semifinal at a top-tier event since All England 2018, beating Kanta Tsuneyama in three games.

Match of the Day

Wang Yilyu (right) and Huang Dongping celebrate their thrilling victory.

Wang Yilyu and Huang Dongping broke Malaysian hearts, edging out home favourites Chan Peng Soon and Goh Liu Ying for a place in the semifinals.

The mixed doubles quarterfinal between second seeds Wang/Huang and Chan/Goh was close all the way. Malaysia recovered well in the second game thanks to some brilliant work at the net by Goh, who very nearly saw them through at the end.

Fajar Alfian and Muhammad Rian Ardianto are overwhelmed with their victory over Gideon and Sukamuljo (centre).

The Malaysians sensationally caught up from 15-19 to 19-all, with the crowd going wild after every point. Chan and Goh kept their nerve in the face of four match points, but couldn’t convert two of their own chances as well. Wang and Huang finally nailed it on their fifth match point: 21-19 16-21 27-25.

“We just couldn’t finish off the match, it was so close,” said Chan. “We played really well and it’s such a shame that we couldn’t win.”

Other Results

  • Top seed Tai Tzu Ying has a chance for avenging her All England final defeat at the hands of Chen Yufei when the two clash in the women’s singles semifinals tomorrow. Tai beat Ratchanok Intanon, while Chen brushed aside Sung Ji Hyun, both in straight games.
  • It was a disappointing day for Japanese women’s doubles as both their remaining pairs fell. Top seeds Yuki Fukushima/Sayaka Hirota and third seeds Mayu Matsumoto/Wakana Nagahara were shown the door by Chang Ye Na/Jung Kyung Eun and Chen Qingchen/Jia Yifan respectively.
  • Fajar Alfian/Muhammad Rian Ardianto got the better of Indonesian compatriots Marcus Fernaldi Gideon/Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo for the first time in four matches. They next face Takeshi Kamura/Keigo Sonoda.

Talking Point

“Our combination was on point, tactically we did almost everything right but just couldn’t nail those crucial points. We should have made those shots but we didn’t and there’s no one to blame but ourselves,” said Goh Liu Ying.

Did You Know?

Nozomi Okuhara’s quarterfinal victory over He Bingjiao was her sixth win in as many matches. The 21-19 23-21 result will see her take on compatriot Akane Yamaguchi.

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