Koo Kien Keat/Tan Boon Heong, Iskandar in Dutch Open quarters

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Koo Kien Keat/Tan Boon Heong have regained some upward momentum in their recent outings. (photo: BWF)

Almere: No. 7 seeds men’s doubles pair Koo Kien Keat/Tan Boon Heong of Malaysia on Thursday survived a stern test from unseeded world number 53 Bastian Kersaudy/Gaetan Mittelheisser of France to reach the quarter-finals of the Dutch Open after a tense three-set encounter.Koo Kien Keat/Tan Boon Heong have regained some upward momentum in their recent outings. (photo: BWF)

It didn’t take long for Koo Kien Keat/Tan Boon Heong to brush aside George Galvas/Panagiotis Skarlatos of Greece 21-7, 21-8 in 17 minutes in their opening match at Dutch Open.

However, the Malaysians were given an unexpectedly tough challenge by Bastian Kersaudy/Gaetan Mittelheisser in their second match. Koo/Tan who were looking to win their third title of the year, clawing back from 19-20 to level the score at 20-20 before clinching their first set 23-21. But, Koo/Tan were slightly off form and have been trailing for most of the second set, allowing the French pair to force a decider after a 15-21 second set defeat. The former World No. 1 Malaysians were brilliant again in the decider and were more aggressive throughout, playing with their attacking style and stunning defensive abilities, they edged past Bastian Kersaudy/Gaetan Mittelheisser 21-11 in the decider. Koo/Tan will clash with unseeded pair Bodin Issara/Nipitphon Puangpuapech of Thailand in the quarter-finals.

Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin was involved in a tense first set against Ville Lang of Finland in men’s singles third round. Iskandar got off to a slow start and was trailing 9-14, before he ultimately came out ahead with 18-17. However, he was on the verge of losing the first set after falling behind 18-20. Steady as ever, Iskandar saved two set point en route to coming all the way back to snatch the first set away from Lang with a 22-20 victory. Iskandar kept his roll going in the second set, playing a dominating badminton to overwhelm Lang to 21-12 to set up a quarter-final match against No. 3 seed Ajay Jayaram of India on Friday.

Other Malaysian men’s singles shuttlers such as Soo Teck Zhi and Goh Soon Huat also sealed their spots in the quarter-finals. Soo Teck Zhi will face Emil Holst of Denmark on Friday while Goh Soon Huat will square off against No. 16 seed Danish player Joachim Persson.

The most dramatic match of the day belonged to Chloe Magee of Ireland and P. C. Thulasi of India in the second round of women’s singles match. Both shuttlers went toe-to-toe in a tug-of-war match highlighted by a tense last 5-minute in the decider. Chloe Magee was ready to finish off her rival when she was leading at 17-14 in the third set. However, Thulasi showed off some gutsy plays to reel off five straight points to lead at 19-17. However, Chloe Magee’s hunger to win and her refusal to give up allowed her to storm back and hung on to win the thrilling match 21-19, 21-23, 21-19 in 79 minutes.

Magee will play Line Kjaersfeldt of Denmark for a place in the women’s singles semi-final.

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