KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 19 (Bernama) — Malaysia’s Koo Kien Keat/Tan Boon Heong and Wong Mew Choo secured their berths in the semifinals on Saturday after clearing the quarterfinal hurdles in the Malaysian Open badminton championships held at Kuala Lumpur Badminton Stadium, here Friday night.
The Doha Asian Games men’s doubles champion, Kien Keat/Boon Heong, continued their superb performance by edging the much higher ranking Japanese duo and world number 23, Shuichi Sakamoto/Shintaro Ikeda, in straight sets 21-13, 21-17.
In their first career encounter, the Malaysians who are 116th in world ranking, led all the way in both sets against the Japanese and will play against world number four Markis Kido/Hendra Setiawan of Indonesia tomorrow.
Kien Keat said although they had won, the match was not that exciting.
"We’re not at our best performance. The match against the Indonesians tomorrow may be interesting as we may have to bring the best of ourselves," he told reporters after the match.
The Indonesian doubles earlier pulled an upset by edging world number two pair Jens Eriksen/Martin Lundgaard Hansen of Denmark 17-21, 21-16, 30-28.
In another semifinals, the American and Indonesian pair of Tony Gunawan/Candra Wijaya will face South Korean doubles Jung Jae Sung/Lee Yong Dae.
Tony/Candra earlier defeated another Malaysian duo Ong Soon Hock/Tan Bin Shen in straight sets 21-18, 21-11 in 26 minutes.
In the second round yesterday, the Malaysians who are 36th in world rangking, pulled an upset by edging world number one and top seed Fu Haifeng/Cai Yun of China 25-23, 21-17.
Tony/Candra, world number 15, led all the way in the first and second sets while the Malaysians, having made so many unforced errors, could only trail a few points behind them.
Meanwhile, the 2003 SEA Games gold medallist, Wong Mew Choo, ended the country’s years of drought in women’s singles semifinals when she beat Xu Huaiwen of Germany in rubber match 15-21, 21-15, 22-20.
Since 1982, no Malaysian women had ever qualified for the semis after Rosalind Singha Ang won the title in 1965. The championships were not held from 1967 to 1982.
After losing the first set, Mew Choo crawled back in the second set and winning it with her net-play and lob combination.
With the support of nearly 3,000 spectators in the full-house stadium, Mew Choo, although trailing with a few points in the rubber match, managed to level the score before sealing it with two points ahead.
The Malaysian said she was quite satisfied with her achievement.
Mew Choo will face Japanese Eriko Hirose who earlier beat Yip Pui Yin of Hong Kong 15-21, 21-12, 21-10.
"Against the Japanese, I’ve met her three times but lost two of our encounters. I’ll take time tonight to study her games," said Mew Choo, who is currently world number 16.
In the other women’s singles semifinals, Zhu Lin of China will play Yao Jie from the Netherlands.