NAYPYITAW: While others crumbled, lanky shuttlers Woon Khe Wei-Vivian Hoo stood solid to save the blushes for Malaysia by checking into the women’s doubles final at Wunna Theikdi Indoor Stadium C.
The duo fought valiantly for 74 minutes to beat Singapore’s Shinta Mulia Sari-Yao Lei 23-21, 17-21, 21-17 in the semi-finals for the very first time in three meetings.
They are the only Malaysian pair left in the competition after the exit of three others – mixed doubles pair Tan Aik Quan-Lai Pei Jing and men’s doubles pairs Goh V Shem-Teo Kok Siang and Lim Khim Wah-Ow Yao Han.
On Saturday, the girls will take on the formidable Nitya Krishinda-Greysia Polii in the final. The Indonesians were superb in their 21-7, 21-11 win over Thailand’s T. Sapsiree-Puttita Supajirakul on Friday.
Nitya is the women’s doubles defending champion, having won the SEA Games gold in Jakarta two years ago with Anneke Feinya Agustine.
Although Nitya’s partnership with Greysia is still new, the duo made heads turn this year by becoming one of the few pairs to have beaten multiple time world champions Yu Yang-Wang Xiaoliao of China in the French Open and dumped China’s second ranked pair Zhao Yunlei-Tian Qing in the China Open.
Khe Wei-Vivian are aware of the tall order facing them but they’ve promised to nail the gold for the country.
“We had to fight so hard to win against the Singaporeans today and we expect another long haul tomorrow. We are fit and ready,” said Vivian.
Vivian and Khe Wei almost muffed it after taking a 16-12 lead in the decider when they allowed the Singaporeans to dictate pace and level the score at 17-17. Fortunately, their opponents made a few unforced errors and let the Malaysians off the hook.
“We must play much better today. I have won a team gold before and now I’m motivated to win an individual gold. We have come this far … it is time to go for broke,” said Khe Wei, who was a member of the team who upset Indonesia in the final at the 2009 Laos SEA Games.
Although Khe Wei-Vivian are in high spirits, all indications show that they may have to settle for a silver medal against the fancied Indonesian pair.
In the men’s doubles, Indonesia showed their prowess when they bulldozed past Malaysia’s Goh V Shem-Teo Kok Siang and Lim Khim Wah-Ow Yao Han in straight games.
Rian Agung Saputra-Annga Pratama beat Khim Wah-Yao Han 21-16, 21-15 while Berry Angriawan-Suwardi Karanda knocked out V Shem-Kok Siang 21-17, 21-18 to assure one gold for Indonesia.
There was further good news for Indonesia in the men’s singles when Dionysius Hayom Rumbaka staged a stunning comeback to beat top seed Nguyen Tien Minh of Vietnam in rubber game and set up a showdown with Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk of Thailand on Saturday.