By Dave Thompson
KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Malaysian badminton fans, yearning for a first world title in 30 years, were braced again on Friday for another topsy-turvy night at the Putra Stadium.
After Thursday's extraordinary evening, those of a nervous disposition should beware.
Men's singles second seed Lee Chong Wei was supposed to ease into the quarters in front of an adoring crowd. Instead, he was hustled swiftly out by ninth-seeded Indonesian Sony Dwi Kuncoro.
Then, a near-miracle.
Enter the petite figure of Wong Mew Choo, seemingly with negligible chances against Xie Xingfang, champion for the last two years and a powerhouse in the women's game.
Astonishingly, Woo brushed the Chinese aside 21-10 21-8 and all was well in the Malaysian camp again.
Next up, 13th seed Hafiz Hashim in the men's singles but he could not retrieve former glories, losing in three sets to Anup Sridhar, the Indian who put out Olympic champion Taufik Hidayat.
Down again, but not for long.
Exciting men's doubles pairing of Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong duly obliged along with the more seasoned duo of Choong Tan Fook and Lee Wan Wah
Women's doubles Commonwealth Games champions Wong Pei Tty and Chin Ei Hui also made it safely through.
So the dream of a first gold since the championships were inaugurated in 1977 lives on — and they do say the first 30 years are the worst.