Malaysia Open: Here and Now Zhang/Zheng’s Priority

Despite their recent uptick in form, Zhang Shu Xian and Zheng Yu are choosing to stay focused on the task at hand – simply continue winning.

The world No.7s advanced to their third final in four tournaments after beating eighth seeds Lee So Hee/Baek Ha Na in the PETRONAS Malaysia Open 2024 semifinals today.

It’s their first Super 1000 title match since the 2022 All England, where they finished runners-up to Nami Matsuyama/Chiharu Shida. The Chinese pair have however won the HLYO Open and Kumamoto Masters in the last two months, with the China Masters the only tournament they failed to ace during that period.

“It feels good. It’s been a while since we reached a Super 1000 final,” said Zheng after the 21-17 21-17 win. “This result is due to our hard work in training but there’s a lot more to analyse about our performances. We must also rewatch our past few matches and get ready for tomorrow.”

Interestingly, Zhang and Zheng are locked in a tight tussle with their final opponents Liu Sheng Shu/Tan Ning for a spot at the Olympic Games. They occupied China’s second qualifying berth on the Race to Paris rankings before being overtaken by their young compatriots early last month.

A win tomorrow would mean being back in front but with three months of the qualification window left, are Zhang and Zheng enjoying the battle?

“We try not to overthink. Of course, we want to be in France but first we have to play our own game, and take it one step at a time,” said Zheng.

Zhang added: “There’s no point thinking about it. It’s only January and the first tournament of the year, we must just focus on the here and now.

“Whatever the final standings, the two pairs going to Paris will be the best ones from China.”

Asked if they keep tabs on their Race to Paris points, Zheng joked: “No, we aren’t good at maths!”

Zhang was more matter-of-factly.

“We just have to play badminton.”

→ Results (Day 5)

→ Order of play (Day 6)


“I wasn’t aware Anders would play flat shots and quickly, I wasn’t prepared for that. At the start of the tournament, I was very relaxed and that meant I played well and it gave me a lot of confidence. The first game was competitive but he had a lead on me in the second so that’s something I need to analyse and improve on.”Lin Chun-Yi on his key takeaways from Malaysia after losing to Anders Antonsen 21-16 21-7

“I don’t remember winning a match from 20-14. We pretty much dominated those eight points, barring the one at 19. There was a 50-50 chance it could have gone either way. We played quite well to keep the shuttle low and not give them any opportunities.” – Chirag Shetty

“We need to do laundry, we don’t have clothes for the final. We’ll then sleep and hopefully be ready to play some good badminton to entertain people in the final.”Satwiksairaj Rankireddy

“This was a high-level match with us both playing with intensity. In the second game, I was leading but at the crucial points I made some unforced errors. If I had capitalised on those, I could have won in two games. Viktor is the best so the pressure was on him in terms of skills and physical demands.”Shi Yu Qi on staying calm after a super charged up match with Viktor Axelsen he won 21-12 19-21 21-17

Shi after an electric semifinal against Axelsen.

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