Malaysia Open: Thanks, Seniors

Baek Ha Na and Lee Yu Lim are through to their first HSBC BWF World Tour Super 1000 final after defeating PETRONAS Malaysia Open 2023 seventh seeds Zhang Shu Xian/Zheng Yu.

And they are grateful for the stint they had with Lee So Hee and Shin Seung Chan at the end of last season, when they switched partners for the Denmark and French Opens.

“We thought we were a bit slow in our style. When we were with our seniors, we learned how to play faster and utilise speed to win points,” said the 22-year-old Baek, who finished runners-up alongside Lee So Hee in Odense.

Lee Yu Lim, also 22, added: “For me, I was happy to improve my defensive shots. Shin has great elite-level defensive skills.”

After bagging the opener 21-17 against Zhang and Zheng, the young Koreans had an intense finish to the second game before prevailing 23-21. Victory levels the head-to-head as their only previous clash – at German Open 2022 – favoured the Chinese.

“We learned from Germany we needed to defend better against them. So we worked on applying more focus to our defence and improving our stamina. That’s how we got the better of them,” said Baek.

Lee (left) credits the stint with Shin for her improved defence.

In the final, they take on top seeds Chen Qing Chen/Jia Yi Fan, whose match ended early following the retirement of Siti Fadia Silva Ramadhanti through injury. Baek and Lee won their most recent meeting, beating the Olympic silver medallists en route to the Japan Open final in September.

Lee played down the significance of the result on tomorrow’s final.

“They are better and more experienced,” she said. “We still have a lot to learn so we are taking one game at a time.

“We are feeling good. We just want to have a good match, enjoy ourselves and hopefully we can win.”

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