Malaysia Open: ‘Anything is Possible’

The hot question at curtain-raising events of recent years cropped up again at PETRONAS Malaysia Open 2024 – will this be the Daddies’ last season?

“We keep playing. We can’t predict the future but we will keep playing for now,” was Hendra Setiawan’s enthusiastic reply following a 21-18 21-15 first round win over Akira Koga/Taichi Saito.

Pressed if they would consider hanging their rackets post-Paris 2024 Olympic Games, Mohammad Ahsan said: “Let’s see. You never know.”

The Indonesians, three-time world champions as a tandem, are also refusing to throw in the towel in their quest to qualify for their third Summer Games.

Only Fajar Alfian/Muhammad Rian Ardianto are sitting in the safe zone on the Race to Paris rankings. Ahsan/Setiawan are their country’s fourth highest ranked men’s pair, some 6,000-plus points behind second-in-line Muhammad Shohibul Fikri/Bagas Maulana.

In doubles, a National Olympic Committee can enter two pairs if both are ranked within the top eight when qualification ends on 28 April.

“We haven’t given up on our Olympic dream. Mathematically, it’s not over,” said the 39-year-old Setiawan. “We want to be at our optimum every tournament and give qualifying our best shot. Anything is possible.”

Ahsan, three years younger, echoed his partner’s sentiments.

“We are still chasing Olympic points,” he said. “It’s still possible even though it may look unachievable. We are not ready to admit defeat yet.”

The world No.13s could face second seeds Satwiksairaj Rankireddy/Chirag Shetty if they clear the second round against He Ji Ting/Ren Xiang Yu tomorrow.

Results (Day 2)

Order of play (Day 3)


“Our last match was in November so we needed some time to restart the engine. Mentally and physically we wanted to go all-in in this match no matter what happens here on. We wanted the victory badly.” – Rankireddy after he and Shetty defeated Fikri/Maulana 21-18 21-19

“If you can’t win, it’s okay. Practice harder. My main target is the Olympics, every match before that is like learning in a class.”Kunlavut Vitidsarn

“My heart rate monitor was sky high at match point. I’ve been using it for a while and if it’s at the maximum I know I will need to keep calm to lower it. Playing on home soil is a different experience and the crowd got me very excited.” – Soh Wooi Yik after he and Aaron Chia overcame Rasmus KjÆr/Frederik SØgaard 20-22 21-13 21-13

“A lot of things I admired about his game, from long rallies to defending my constant attacks. I didn’t know too much about him so I just had to prepare for what he might do. It was my birthday yesterday; I spent the day training, then I had four slices of cake at the hotel.” – A relieved Li Shi Feng after fighting off a spirited Lee Chia Hao 23-1 15-21 21-18

“We are super happy we brought all the elements we’ve been training for. We’ve worked hard on our physical and mental states, and our rotations. We are twins and it’s nice to have a twin there for encouragement. We’ve surprised ourselves and we want to continue enjoying the tournament. It’s our first time playing in Malaysia and the atmosphere is electric.” – A delighted Annie Xu after she and sister Kerry shocked Margot Lambert/Anne Tran

Annie (left) and Kerry give the Axiata Arena atmosphere thumbs up.

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