TEE Jing Yi sent Malaysia into the semi-finals of the World Junior Badminton Championships mixed team event by delivering the winning point in the 3-2 victory over Japan in their final Group Z match at the Sultan Abdul Halim Stadium last night.
It was sweet revenge for the 18-year-old Penangite, who was the only Malaysian player to lose during the national team’s 3-1 win over the same opponents during the Asian Junior meet earlier this year.
Last night, Jing Yi stepped onto the court to face Minatsu Mitani with added pressure after the boys’ doubles pair of Pang Zheng Lin-Goh Jian Hao had lost in the previous match.
With Malaysia holding a slender 2-1 lead, Jing Yi put on a superb display to defeat Mitani 21-18, 21-11 in 25 minutes. She had lost to the same player 21-17, 12-21, 17-21 in July.
“I am happy to deliver the winning point for Malaysia to enter the semis. I was feeling a bit of pressure after our boys’ doubles had lost. After a shaky start, I managed to pull into the lead at 11-11 and never looked back. I was in total control after that and managed to calm down enough to see off the Japanese girl,” said Jing Yi.
“This win also makes up for my loss against her in the Asian meet. It was sweet revenge indeed.”
Earlier, Chooi Kah Ming-Ng Hui Ern had delivered the first point for Malaysia with a hard-earned 16-21, 21-16, 21-16 victory over Naoto Otaki-Kanako Konishi.
The pairs were tied at 16-16 in the deciding game, before the Malaysians reeled off five consecutive points to seal victory.
Iskandar Zulkarnain made it 2-0 for Malaysia with an imperious 21-12, 21-15 triumph over Japan’s top ranked junior Tatsuya Watanabe.
Then came the upset defeat in the boys’ doubles, leaving doubles coach Yap Kim Hock with some explaining to do. He had selected Zheng Lin-Jian Hao over the in-form Ow Yao Han-Kah Ming to face Japan.
“We (the coaches) thought it would be better to field the Zheng Ling-Jian Hao combination as they had beaten the Japanese pair in the Asian junior meet.
“However, the Japanese adopted different tactics this time and their less aggressive approach worked. Our players lacked the speed needed to counter the opponents’ clever play,” explained Kim Hock.
With victory already in the bag, girls’ doubles pair Hui Ern-Lai Pei Jing hardly put up a fight in the 16-21, 2-21 defeat to Sayaka Takahashi-Naoko Fukuman in the meaningless final match of the tie.
Malaysia will now take on Taiwan, who upset India 3-2 to top Group Y.
Also through to the last four are top seeds and defending champions China, who ousted Indonesia 4-1 in the battle of the heavyweights in Group W.
Indonesia got off to a great start with Asian junior champions Angga Pratama-Rendy Sugiarto slaying Lu Kai-Liu Peixuan 21-12, 21-18. But the Chinese bounced back to take the following four matches to book a date with Thailand in the last four.
The Thais were forced to go the full distance before overcoming Hong Kong 3-2 and confirm the top spot in Group X.
Phuangphuapet Nipitphon-Caballes Tin delivered the winning point for Thailand with a 21-17, 21-18 victory over Ng Ka Long-Lee Chun Hei in the deciding boys’ doubles match.