It was a nightmarish day for seeds at the PERODUA Malaysia Masters 2020 today, with several high-profile casualties – the most prominent of whom were Chen Qing Chen/Jia Yi Fan, Chou Tien Chen and Ratchanok Intanon.
Chen and Jia, who had an outstanding season last year which they closed with the HSBC BWF World Tour Finals trophy in December, crashed out in the very first match, unable to come to terms with Japan’s Nami Matsuyama/Chiharu Shida. Both Chen and Jia looked out of sorts as they went down 21-15 21-12.
“Today is our first meeting with them,” said Jia, whose left thigh was heavily strapped, but denied that had anything to do with the loss. “They are young and aggressive. We are not familiar with their style. Like other players, we too were tired at the end of the season, and we haven’t found our form yet.”
Chen and Jia were joined on the sidelines later in the day by second seeds Yuki Fukushima/Sayaka Hirota, who went down after a contentious battle with Li Wen Mei/Zheng Yu 18-21 24-22 21-17.
Intanon Crashes Out
The biggest upset of the day was certainly that of women’s singles fifth seed Intanon, who met her match in Chinese teenager Wang Zhi Yi.
The 19-year-old Chinese, playing a patient, steady brand of badminton somewhat in the mould of compatriot Chen Yu Fei, showed she was made of stern stuff, for she kept her head even after Intanon equalled from a third game deficit of 8-13. From 19-all the Chinese had the presence of mind to edge ahead 19-21 21-11 22-20.
“This is my first time at a Super 500 event and I’m excited as I get to play with players ranked higher than me,” said Wang. “I look forward to playing with them, it doesn’t matter if I win or lose.”
“Last year, I was struggling with injuries and that meant that we couldn’t play at the level we feel we should be capable of. I’m not saying I expect to get back to the level I once was at but in 2020, I want to be able to raise my game above where it has been and then I think a higher ranking should also follow.” – Lee Yong Dae.