Kuala Lumpur: While all Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) men’s singles shuttlers from the so-called “Malaysia’s best” Asia Team Championship squad have all crashed out from the on-going Malaysia Masters tournament, playing without a coach and without any significant assistance, the 31-year-old former BAM player Daren Liew made a surprise run to the Malaysia Masters semi-finals on Friday.
Liew defeated Suppanyu Avihingsanon of Thailand 21-18, 21-17 in 48 minutes to reach the final four and will take on world champion and world No. 1 Viktor Axelsen of Denmark on Saturday.
“Viktor is the best player in the world right now. I have defeated him six years ago, and I am going to give my best playing against him tomorrow,” said Liew.
“I don’t have a fitness coach, I have been improving my own stamina myself. I am used to not having a coach on my side, and hope to improve my ranking to World’s top 30 by end of this year,” added Liew.
Meanwhile, the World No. 1 Viktor Axelsen was made to work by Indonesian player Jonatan Christie for his three-set win 21-15, 19-21, 21-12 to the final four.
Denmark’s Hans-kristian Solberg Vittinghus will face Kenta Nishimoto of Japan in other men’s semi-final.
In women’s competition, World No. 1 Tai Tzu Ying had gathered pace as she edged No. 8 seed Chen Yufei of China 21-18, 21-15 in a spirited fight to set up a blockbuster Malaysia Masters semi-final with Rio Olympic champion and No. 4 seed Carolina Marin of Spain who earlier had defeated Malaysian Lee Ying Ying 21-17, 21-16.
The women’s singles No. 5 seed Ratchanok Intanon and No. 2 seed Akane Yamaguchi who played each other 6 times in 2017, will renew their rivalry when the two women’s singles superstars face each other in the other Malaysia Masters women’s singles semi-final.