Soniia Cheah upsets Li Xuerui in Japan Open opener

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Soniia Cheah produces a brilliant match to beat Li Xuerui in 2019 Japan Open first round. (photo: Shi Tang/Getty Images)
Soniia Cheah produces a brilliant match to beat Li Xuerui in 2019 Japan Open first round. (photo: Shi Tang/Getty Images)

Tokyo: Malaysia’s World No. 35 Soniia Cheah battled to an impressive three-set win over 2012 London Olympic gold medalist and current World No. 22 Li Xuerui of China in the opening round of the Japan Open on Wednesday.

Cheah was leading pretty much since the beginning in the tight first set, claiming the game 21-18. However, Cheah couldn’t hold on to her 13-7 lead, losing the second game 19-21.

The change in momentum of the third set came when Cheah reeled off 9 consecutive points, rallied from 2-8 deficit to lead at 13-8. Cheah went on taking the decider 21-17.

She is set to take on No. 2 seed Chen Yufei of China on Thursday.

Japan’s No. 4 seed Akane Yamaguchi who won the Japan Open in 2013, dominating her opening match against Russia’s Evgeniya Kosetskaya by beating the Russian 21-9, 21-9. She will next meet China’s Chen Xiaoxin.

In women’s doubles, China’s Chen Qingchen/Jia Yifan needed only 37 minutes to overcome Ng Tsz Yau/Yuen Sin Ying of Hong Kong 21-17, 21-17. The Chinese pair will meet Kim So Yeong/Kong Hee Yong of Korea in the second round.

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