World No.93 pair Choong Hon Jian and Muhammad Haikal created a sensation at the Syed Modi India International 2023 beating second seeds Ben Lane and Sean Vendy for the biggest result of their career so far.
The Malaysians haven’t played as a pair at an HSBC BWF World Tour Super 300 or above event before this; they only got together in August, at the XPORA Indonesia International Challenge and made the quarterfinals. In October they were runners-up at the BNI Indonesia Masters II 2023 after which they made another quarterfinals, at the PETRONAS Malaysia International Challenge.
On Saturday, they led from start to finish against Lane and Vendy. After a comfortable opening game for the Malaysians, the English pair did throw up a harder challenge in the second, but Choong and Haikal never relinquished the lead and finished victorious in 39 minutes, 21-12 21-19.
Japan dominated semifinal proceedings, but they also suffered a blow with Sayaka Hirota retiring with injury. World No.5 duo Hirota and Yuki Fukushima were 11-9 up against local pair Ashwini Ponnappa/Tanisha Crasto when Hirota collapsed to the floor during a rally. A medical update is awaited.
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Meanwhile, Nozomi Okuhara made her first final in over two years. The 2017 world champion, whose last final was the All England in March 2021 and has since then been in only one semifinal, beat third-seeded compatriot Aya Ohori 21-19 22-20.
Okuhara fought back from big deficits in both games, saving six game points in the second with a run of eight successive points to take the match.
The former world No.1, who has slipped to No.36, will take on Denmark’s Line Kjaersfeldt, who won a hard-fought battle over Chinese Taipei’s Hsu Wen Chi 14-21 21-17 21-16. It will be Kjaersfeldt’s second final of the season following her runner-up finish at the HYLO Open.
Mixed doubles second seeds Dejan Ferdinansyah/Gloria Emanuelle Widjaja won a riveting contest against Mark Lamsfuss/Isabel Lohau. The Germans nearly upstaged them in the decider with five straight points from 15-19 down, but the Indonesians kept their nerve to save match point and converted their first opportunity for a 21-19 19-21 22-20 result.
Kenta Nishimoto made his second final in two weeks, beating Alex Lanier 21-17 13-21 21-17. The world No.12, who was runner-up at the LI-NING China Masters 2023 last Sunday, will be looking for his second title of the season from his fourth final. Nishimoto will be up against world No.48 Chi Yu Jen, who overcame local hope Priyanshu Rajawat 18-21 21-14 21-17.