Malaysia Open: In Zheng Mode

Only one mixed pair have managed a win over world champions Zheng Si Wei and Huang Ya Qiong in the last nine months – their PETRONAS Malaysia Open 2023 final opponents Yuta Watanabe and Arisa Higashino.

Since reuniting in April after a short split, Zheng and Huang have won all but one tournament, no thanks to the world No.4 duo, who bested them in the Japan Open semifinal four months ago.

Zheng is convinced revisiting that match, which they conceded after 68 minutes of feisty tussle, will provide them some answers for today’s showpiece.

“We will review it,” the 25-year-old promised. “We need to devise a strategy, they are fast and one of the world’s top pairs. We need to prepare a lot, hard preparation because our opponents are also in their best condition. We hope to find some solutions when we rewatch it.”

Despite losing their most recent encounter, the defending champions have a superior head-to-head record of 11-3. This, surprisingly, will be their first clash in Malaysia.

Zheng and Huang advanced after subduing fast-rising Indonesian tandem Dejan Ferdinansyah/Gloria Emanuelle Widjaja 21-16 21-18 in the semifinal yesterday.

Zheng said of the win: “Dejan’s smashes are powerful, we needed to limit his attacking opportunities. We did a good job.

“My priority is to always stay calm and remind my partner of the same. As long as the match isn’t finished, you need to keep going.”

On an 18-match winning run, another success at Axiata Arena would assure the Chinese their fourth successive Malaysia Open title.

Huang summarised the world No.1 pair’s outlook: “Winning every match is an extremely difficult process. So, you can’t get too excited when you do.”

That, perhaps, is why they rarely lose.

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