Our doubles pair steal the thunder (pic)

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By RAJES PAUL

PETALING JAYA: Malaysias young mens doubles pair of Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong pulled off the biggest upset of the day at the US,000 Japan Open when they stunned two-time All-England champions Jens Eriksen-Martin Lundgaard Hansen of Denmark to march into the semi-finals at the National Yoyogi Gymnasium in Tokyo yesterday.

Top mens singles shuttler Lee Chong Wei also qualified for semi-finals by beating Boonsak Ponsana of Thailand.

DYNAMIC DUO: Koo Kien Keat (left) and Tan Boon Heong stormed into the semi-finals of the Japan Open when they beat two-time All-England champions Jens Eriksen-Martin Lundgaard Hansen of Denmark 21-18, 17-21, 21-14.

The day, though, belonged to the young Malaysian pair. Kien Keat-Boon Heong, who are competing together only for the second time, fought for 42 minutes before getting the better of the second seeds 21-18, 17-21, 21-14.

Today, Kien Keat-Boon Heong, who are in national chief coach Yap Kim Hocks big plans for the future the 2012 London Olympics will take on Japans Shuichi Sakamoto-Shintaro Ikeda in the semi-finals.

The unheralded Japanese pair upset World Championships runners-up Anthony Clark-Robert Blair of England 21-17, 11-21, 21-19 for a spot in the semi-final.

Despite the big win, the 18-year-old Boon Heong remained cool.

It was a good win for us. We played without any pressure and it helped. Besides, the Danes made a lot of mistakes. This is only my second outing with Koo but this is certainly our best result together, he said in a telephone interview from Tokyo yesterday.

Boon Heong-Kien Keat were teamed up for the first time during the opening Thomas Cup Finals tie against the US in Japan in May. They outclassed Eric Go-Ronald Sou.

It was, however, the end of the road for another Malaysian pair when Mohd Zakry Abdul Latif-Gan Teik Chai lost 17-21, 11-21 to top seeds and reigning world champions Cai Yun-Fu Haifeng of China.

In the mens singles, Chong Wei was the last man standing after Mohd Hafiz Hashim crashed out 19-21, 14-21 despite putting up a gritty fight against world champion Lin Dan of China.

A fired up Chong Wei continued his winning streak against Boonsak with a 21-18, 21-14 win to set up a mouth-watering clash against Olympic champion Taufik Hidayat of Indonesia. Yesterday, Taufik crushed Singapores Ronald Susilo 21-15, 21-11.

The other semi-final will be another exciting match between world number one Lin Dan and Peter Gade-Christensen of Denmark.

Chong Wei, who is hoping to lift the gloom in the national camp after his defeat in the quarter-finals at the World Championships in Madrid, has vowed to give his best.

I am glad that I have beaten Boonsak for the fifth time now. It will not be easy against Taufik. Like me, he did not have a good outing at the world meet but here he looks very motivated, he said. But I will give it my best shot.

Both have played each other three times with the crafty Taufik holding a 2-1 record. Chong Weis only win over the Indonesian was at the 2005 Malaysian Open.

Mens singles: Lin Dan (Chn) bt Mohd Hafiz Hashim (Mas) 21-19, 21-14; Peter Gade-Christensen (Den) bt Chen Hong (Chn) 21-14, 21-17; Taufik Hidayat (Ina) bt Ronald Susilo (Sin) 21-15, 21-11; Lee Chong Wei (Mas) bt Boonsak Ponsana (Tha) 21-18, 21-14.

Mens doubles: Fu Haifeng-Cai Yun (Chn) bt Gan Teik Chai-Mohd Zakry Abdul Latif (Mas) 21-17, 21-11; Tony Gunawan-Candra Wijaya (US-Ina) bt Tadashi Ohtsuka-Keita Masuda (Jpn) 21-16, 21-12; Shuichi Sakamoto-Shintaro Ikeda (Jpn) bt Anthony Clark-Robert Blair (Eng) 21-17, 11-21, 21-19; Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong (Mas) bt Jens Eriksen-Martin Lundgaard Hansen (Den) 21-18, 17-21, 21-14.

Womens singles: Zhang Ning (Chn) bt Jiang Yanjiao (Chn) 21-16, 16-21, 21-18; Zhu Lin (Chn) bt Pi Hongyan (Fra) 25-23, 21-19; Wang Chen (Hkg) bt Lu Lan 21-13, 18-21, 21-11; Xie Xingfang (Chn) bt Mori Kaori (Jpn) 19-21, 21-7, 21-14.

Womens doubles: Gao Ling-Huang Sui (Chn) bt Chien Yu-chin-Cheng Wen-hsing (Tpe) 21-11, 22-20; Du Jing-Yu Yang (Chn) bt Lee Kyung-won-Jung Young-kyung (Kor) 21-16, 19-21, 21-13; Wei Yili-Zhang Yawen (Chn) bt T. Saralee-C. Sathinee (Tha) 21-18, 21-9.

Mixed doubles: Nova Widianto-Lilyana Natsir (Ina) bt Zheng Bo-Yu Yang (Chn) 15-21, 21-14, 21-18; Xie Zhongbo-Zhang Yawen (Chn) bt Hwang Ji-man-Ha Jung-eun (Kor) 21-18, 21-18; Sudket Prapakamol-T. Saralee (Tha) bt Jens Eriksen-Lena Frier Kristiansen (Den) 21-14, 21-13; Flandi Limpele-Vita Marissa (Ina) bt Zhang Jun-Gao Ling (Chn) 21-19, 21-19.

(source: The Star Online)

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