China Open: Breakthrough Win for Chen/Toh

Malaysia’s Chen Tang Jie and Toh Ee Wei made their first semifinal at an HSBC BWF World Tour Super 1000 event with a hard-fought win at the VICTOR China Open 2023 on Friday.

The fast-improving No.11 duo made their way past Chinese Taipei’s Ye Hong Wei/Lee Chia Hsin 21-15 13-21 21-16 to finally break into the last four at a Super 1000 event.

“Very happy,” said Toh Ee Wei. “We were a bit nervous because it’s a quarterfinal. It was a good experience for me. I was nervous since last night. I still have a bit of jet lag, but everything is under control and I managed to keep calm.”

The farthest the Malaysians had got to at the Super 1000 level was the quarterfinals of the Malaysia Open earlier this year.

Lai Pei Jing

With compatriots Tan Kian Meng/Lai Pei Jing joining them in the semfinals, it was a profitable session for Malaysia. Tan/Lai take on world champions Seo Seung Jae/Chae Yu Jung, while Chen/Toh face eighth seeds Thom Gicquel/Delphine Delrue, who broke a long spell of sub-par performances with their first major semifinal this year.

Tan and Lai were on a seven-match losing streak to Dechapol Puavaranukroh/Sapsiree Taerattanachai and hadn’t even take a game off their Thai opponents in each of those losses.

“It’s amazing, it’s a big win for us,” said Lai. “I can’t describe how happy I am. We lost many times to them; every time we lost, we learnt from that, and this is the outcome. Tomorrow it’s against the world champions so we will try to give them a good fight. I’m happy there are two Malaysian pairs in the mixed doubles semifinals and I’m very proud of that.’

Session Highlights

Carolina Marin

Seo Seung Jae/Chae Yu Jung repeated their performance from the final of the recent TotalEnergies BWF World Championships 2023 when they beat Zheng Si Wei/Huang Ya Qiong, 17-21 21-13 21-17.

Thom Gicquel/Delphine Delrue got the better of second seeds Yuta Watanabe/Arisa Higashino for the third time in four meetings, 22-20 21-14.

Tai Tzu Ying avenged her quarterfinal loss to Carolina Marin at the World Championships, beating the Spaniard 21-17 10-21 21-19 in an error-ridden match. Tai faces An Se Young after the world champion struggled to overcome Han Yue in three games.

What They Said

“They (Watanabe/Higashino) are a strong pair, and we knew it would be a good match. We also knew we could beat them because we’ve done it twice before. We came on court without too much pressure, and we tried to enjoy it. It’s our second time in a Super 1000 semifinal; the first one was during Covid, so this is really the first one.” Delphine Delrue

“This is a breakthrough for us, but the job isn’t done yet. It was quite intense until the break in the third game, and we kept supporting each other. Every time we play them, it’s intense.” Chen Tang Jie

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