Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia’s independent World No. 31 men’s singles player Daren Liew has made the semi-final at Malaysia Masters, needing to dig deep and claw back from a set down before beating World No. 2 Shi Yuqi of China 21-12, 16-21, 21-11 on Friday.
Daren admitted that sparring with 2017 World Champion Viktor Axelsen of Denmark days before the start of the tournament was very helpful for him.
“To get a chance to practice with Axelsen was very beneficial,” said Liew.
“I played more aggressively against Shi today. I am satisfied with my performance at this year’s Malaysia Masters as I also able to enter the semis at last year’s event as well. I hope I could advance to the final this year,” added Liew.
Liew, who lost to Shi at the 2016 Indonesian Masters, leveled their career meeting record to 1-1 after Friday’s victory. The Malaysian player will take on Korean shuttler and No. 4 seed Son Wan-Ho on Saturday.
Playing against the home star Lee Zii Jia, No. 5 seed Viktor Axelsen of Denmark who is gunning for his first title of the year in Kuala Lumpur, denied Lee’s late surge in the second to take victory with 21-12, 22-20.
Axelsen will face the Rio Olympic champion Chen Long on Saturday.
In women’s singles, Malaysia’s unseeded 18-year-old Goh Jin Wei has enjoyed another standout Malaysia Masters campaign, as she put on a performance on Axiata Arena to defeat No. 5 seed Bingjiao of China 21-15, 21-16 and set up a mouth-watering semi-final clash with former World Champion and No. 6 seed Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand.
Meanwhile, Indian women’s singles star Saina Nehwal continued to lead India’s charge at the tournament by defeating Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara 21-18, 23-21 to book her berth for the semi-final.
Nehwal will next play Rio Olympic champion Carolina Marin of Spain.